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Old 12-19-2013, 04:14 PM   #1
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
The Ford Curse(FOF7)

A disclaimer at the beginning that I have never played FOF in any of its iterations, but I am diving in after having poked around some and being intrigued by the good stuff in some of the other threads.

The title refers of course to longtime Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr., of whom my late father once said(perhaps accurately): "The Lions will never be good while a Ford sits in the owners box".

This will by a slower-paced, game-by-game dynasty, as it is a side project for me and I want the reader to suffer the indignity of being forced to go through the pain of being a Lions fan alongside me. In this universe, much to the anger of Detroit supporters, Ford hired the only man to be GM who has a chance to be worse at that job than was Matt Millen: ME! :P. I'll be interfering minimally with the head coach(basically, only when they bench somebody the team has a major investment in): gameplanning will be entirely up to the coach and the depth chart mostly will be as well.

** Real Players and Coaches
** Team Chemistry is ON
** Firing GMs OFF(There is no escape from the purgatory of me, Lions fans!)

The rest are default. My goal is simply to make the Detroit Lions Super Bowl Champions, however long, arduous, and painful that journey may be for all concerned.

Before we get to the journey, let's remember where we came from. For Detroit, this is a thing bound to produce severe depression.

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Old 12-19-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
DETROIT LIONS FRANCHISE HISTORY

Formed in 1929 as the Portsmouth Spartans, they went a respectable 5-6-3 in the first year(1930), and in '32 they were defeated by Chicago 9-0 in what has become known as the first NFL playoff game, on a pass from Bronko Nagurski to Red Grange. As the Spartans, the franchise amassed a strong 28-16-7 mark until new ownership brought the team to Detroit, renaming them as the Lions beginning with the 1934 season.

In 1935, the Lions won their first championship, defeating the New York Giants 26-7. They had a winning season every year the balance of the decade, with a 47-23-2 record in those six seasons, usually finishing second in the conference.

The 1940s were not as kind as Detroit fell on hard times. Only two winning seasons(second place both times) and a 35-71-4 total mark as they won two or fewer games four times, including a winless 0-11 season in 1942.

The 50s brought a resurgence to the struggling franchise. In 1952 they won a second franchise title, defeating Cleveland 17-7 after taking out the Los Angeles Rams in a divisional playoff. The next year they beat the Browns again by a single point to repeat as champions, before getting blown out by them in the third straight meeting in 1954, 56-10. A return to the promised land in saw them return the favor in a 59-14 shellacking of Cleveland in the 1957 title game, but then they once again fell to the bottom of the league. Led for the first two titles by QB Bobby Lane, it was a high point for the franchise with a 68-48-4 combined regular-season record, and 4-1 in playoff games.

The first three years of the 60s were moderately successful, though a losing year in '63 made it 31-21-2 on the decade with no playoff appearances. Since the move to Detroit in '34, the Lions had a full three decades of play with three championships, a stellar 5-1 playoff record, and a combined mark(regular season and playoffs) of 181-163-12, a .508 winning percentage. They were not a dynamo, but a successful, highly respectable football franchise. A franchise fans could be proud of.

That was all about to change.

November 22, 1963. For football fans from the mitten, it may be the darkest day in recorded history. It was on this day, nearly 14 years before I was even born, that William Clay Ford Sr. purchased a controlling interest in the Detroit Lions.

In the two years before the Super Bowl Era actually began, Ford-owned teams were mediocre, with a combined 13-12-3 mark bringing the franchise record in the pre-Super Bowl Era to 194-175-15.

Super Bowl Era: The late 1960s

A resurgent 9-win season in '69 brought hope, but the combined mark was still 22-29-6. No playoff appearances, as Green Bay, Baltimore, Minnesota, Kansas City, and Oakland combine for eight super bowl berths.

Merger Era: The 1970s

Six straight second-place finishes in the NFC Central with competitive, sometimes even good teams brought the Lions not a single playoff appearance. After the bottom fell out in 1979 with a 2-14 debacle, the decade ended at a 66-75-3 mark with five straight losing seasons. Pittsburgh was the team of the period, and six more franchises in all made their Super Bowl debuts, bringing a total of 11 teams which had participated in at least one of the first 14 contests. 17 others, the Lions included, had yet to taste it.

The 1980s:

In '80 the Lions went 9-7, but lost out to Minnesota for the division title on tiebreakers. 15 years into the Super Bowl era, and not a single playoff game yet to be seen. They finally got one in '83, going 9-7 again and facing the 49ers in the divisional round. After trailing 14-3 early, two TDs by Billy Sims brough them a late 23-17 lead ... but San Francisco had the last laugh on a 14-yard pass from Joe Montana to Freddie Solomon, and the Lions fell 24-23 in their first playoff game in the era.

It was the last winning season of the decade, as Detroit quickly sank to the bottom of the league. They would win five games or fewer three times, for a combined '80s mark of 61-90-1. For the first time, the all-time Detroit winning percentage dipped below .500.

Six more teams made it to a Super Bowl in the 80s. 17 total, with only 11 yet to make it ... and the Lions have yet to sniff it, with just the one inglorious playoff loss courtesy of Montana's 49ers.

The 1990s:

1991 would be a fabulous exception. The 12-4 Lions ran away with the Central and throttled a fine Dallas Cowboys team 38-6 in the divisional playoffs behind veteran QB Erik Kramer and the incomparable Barry Sanders(194 yards rushing). The class of the league was the Washington Redskins, who dominated them 41-10 in the NFC championship game, but it was a fine season. A season to be proud of. A season to build off of ... by trying out failing young QBs Rodney Peete and Andre Ware(highly successful in college both of them) instead of seeing what Kramer could bring them. He would leave in '94 for Chicago, where he would proceed to set Bears' single-season records in passing yardage and TDs.

Ahem. But back to Lions. They won only five games in '92, 'returning to form' as it were. A division title in '93(10-6), led to a loss to rival Green Bay in the wild-card round, 28-24. Much like the game against San Fran a decade earlier, Detroit led in the final quarter, only to be undone by legends(Brett Favre to Sterling Sharpe, 40-yd TD for the game-winner). It was the longest pass play in the game, and ruined a 169-yd game by Sanders.

Two years later they were back again as 10-6 wildcards, and completely neglected the concept of defense in a stunning 58-37 loss to Philadelphia(the Eagles had averaged less than 20 ppg in the regular season). The Eagles that year were quarterbacked by Lions' castoff Rodney Peete(17-25 270 3td). There is no curse in the tongues of elves or men sufficient for such ineptitude.

The streak of winning seasons ended with a 5-11 mark in '96. Up and down the remaining years went, and despite all their success the final mark for the 90s was still only 79-81, with a 1-3 playoff record. Three more franchises made their mark in getting to a Super Bowl.

The 2000s:

A new millenium changed ... not all that much. It began with the rise of the Baltimore Ravens. Another franchise doing what the Lions could not. Then Tampa Bay did, while Detroit fumbled through the greatest period of ineptitude in their history. The 2008 version was record-setting, going 0-16(no team had ever been that bad) and allowing over 32 ppg in the process. Four other times in the decade, the Lions won three games over fewer. A 42-118 combined record in a league filled with parity. Simply disgusting. No other franchise has ever been this bad. Ever.

Oh, and five more of them made a super bowl as well. Splendid.

2010-2012:

2011 was the first winning season(10-6) since 2000. New Orleans was the wild-card foe, and once again the Lions left their defense at home, 45-28. They gave up five second-half touchdowns after leading the entire way in the first half. Find a way to lose, boys. That's the Ford Way. Drew Brees was 33-44 for 466 yards and 3 TD for the Saints. The Lions, meanwhile had 32 yards rushing. 32. A professional freaking football team, 32 yards in a playoff game. Arghzorz!

A return to losing in 2012(eight straight to end the season), and we are up to present day. 20-28 in 2010s so far, for a combined Super Bowl-Era mark of:

290-421-10. For those of you scoring at home, that's a .402 winning percentage. 1-5 in the playoffs.

The list of franchises without Super Bowl appearances has grown small. Cleveland, Houston, and Jacksonville in the AFC, with Detroit only in the NFC. Four out of 32. Jacksonville(expansion team in 1995) and Houston(expansion team in 2002) are not really viable comparisons because they've been in the league such a short time. Cleveland has been to the playoffs twice as much, making the AFC Championship game on numerous occasions. While fans of the Browns definitely have my sympathies, there is no question that Detroit is the most inept NFL franchise, historically. No matter how you measure it. The Lions just suck.
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:37 PM   #3
BYU 14
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Awesome, looking forward to this!
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:04 AM   #4
Marmel
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Manchester, CT
1 playoff win in the Superbowl era, really? How do they still have fans??
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81-78

Cincinnati basketball writer P. Daugherty, "Connor Barwin playing several minutes against Syracuse is like kids with slingshots taking down Caesar's legions."
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:37 PM   #5
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
It's an exercise in self-torture, basically.

MEET THE DEPRESSED, 2013 EDITION

LIONS STAFF

Head Coach: Jim Schwartz(47, 2y, $3.48m). Young Talent, Discipline, and Scouting are his strengths: weaknesses in play calling and espescially intelligence. Naturally, the Lions hired an idiot. And now an idiot in me to guide him. The blind leading the blind, almost literally.

Offensive Coordinator: Scott Linehan(50, 3y, $1.36m). Average to below-average in pretty much everything.

Defensive Coordinator: Gunther Cunningham(67, 1y, $1.36m). He'd be my pick for next head coach if he wasn't in his upper 60s. Motivation, scouting, and interviewing are weaknesses, but he's excellent at play calling, discipline, young players, and intelligent to boot.

Assistant Coach: John Bonamengo(50, 3y, $1.02m). Great with young players, good interviewer, and pretty much crap across the board other than that. Naturally a 3-year deal will keep me from properly disposing of his ineptitude as soon as I'd like.

Strength Coach: Jason Arapoff(48, 2y, $630k). Pretty average, he'll do for now.

QUARTERBACKS

We have a controversy here right away. Matthew Stafford(25) will compete with Shaun Hill(33) for the starting spot in preseason. Schwartz wants Hill at the top spot, and I think he's full of it on this. Stafford has a 5-year, $45m deal. No way is an aging vet going to be starting over him unless there's no other choice. I tell Schwartz that Stafford is the starter and that's the end of it.

Kellen Moore(24) is the useless emergency option.

RUNNING BACKS

Another controversy, same basic issue. Reggie Bush(28) has a 4-year, $12m deal, and I'm told they like 23-year-old Mikel Leshoure better. Bush is the starter anyway unless Leshoure does something really special in preseason. I'm told Joique Bell(27) could develop into a good backup in time, and fullback JJ Shockley(21) is a real weak spot. He could become decent, but we've got nobody who can fill that spot competently right now.

RECEIVERS

For reasons that absolutely escape me, rookie TE Joseph Fauria is somehow preferred to veteran Tony Scheffler(30). I tell Schwartz to give the rookie some time as a backup first. Fauria could be a fabulous run-blocking TE down the road, but he's not there yet.

The wideouts have particularly 'duh' choice Calvin Johnson(28) leading the way, but there's a pretty huge dropoff to the rest of them. Right now Kevin Ogletree(26) seems a fairly clear #2 option, with Matt Willis(29) and Ryan Broyles(25) the best of the rest. A couple of these guys are having pretty major conflicts with Scheffler. If that doesn't go away, this might be Tony's last year as a Lion.

OFFENSIVE LINE

C Dominic Raiola(35) has been a mainstay through all of the horrid years last decade, and is now in his 14th season. Despite his age, he's still the best of the group. LG Rob Sims(30) is quality as well. RG Larry Warford(22) and LT Riley Reiff(25) start because there's no-one better, but they have talent. Overall, this group isn't a disaster, but it definitely needs an overhaul.

SPECIAL TEAMS

We're actually pretty set here. K David Akers(39) will obviously need to be replaced at any time, but he's a good one and we think even higher of this year's 5th-round pick, P Sam Martin(23). Martin could become one of the best in the league.

DEFENSIVE LINE

A strong front has been a major focus in Detroit for some years, and unlike most of their efforts, it has produced results. DT Nick Fairley(25) looks like the best of the bunch, with a lot of upside still. DT Ndamukong Suh(26), DE Ezekiel Ansah(24), and veteran DE Israel Idonije(33) give us a strong starting corps with C.J. Mosley(30) excellent off the bench. Ansah can still get better, and DE Devin Taylor(24) could be a major contributor in a couple of years time. Unsurprisingly, the line is one of the best in the league and should remain so for some time.

LINEBACKERS

MLB Stephen Tulloch(28) is a good one, but there's not much else here. WLB DeAndre Levy(26) is passable at best, and having SLB Cory Greenwood(28) as a starter is a trespass of criminal severity. This is an aspect of the team that's needs a serious upgrade.

SECONDARY

At least here we have some youth. CB Chris Houston(29) is the only one I have real confidence in. 2nd-round pick Darius Slay will hopefully be able to handle to other corner and is the most talented, while safeties Louis Delmas(26) and Glover Quinn(27) are still getting better I hope. Raw corner DeQuan Menzie(22) could become important, but there isn't enough real talent here to be optimistic overall.

2013 Outlook

The team has some strengths, but too many weaknesses. Overall roster is ranked 21st in the league, and dead last in the NFC North is expected.

Long-term Outlook

To rebuild or not to rebuild? Bush and Johnson are very nice weapons on offense, and the defensive line is excellent. This is something to build around but it will need to happen quickly.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 12-22-2013 at 04:09 AM.
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:52 AM   #6
Brian Swartz
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2013 PRESEASON

vs. New York Jets -- Akers gets a workout with six field goals, and Hill finds Bush for the only TD(39 yards late in the first). The Lions roll 25-3, proving that it's only pre-season. Three interceptions for the defense, including one by rookie CB Slay -- that's a good sign for certain. On the other hand, Stafford was very ineffective and broke a finger(2 weeks).

@ Cleveland -- Favored despite being on the road, and a matchup of the two worst franchises in the league. A tight, low-scoring game, Stafford finds Brandon Pettigrew from 14 yards out to start the second quarter. It's the only TD of the game as the defense does not get pushed inside the 25 once. We have not allowed a touchdown through two games!

vs. New England -- The Patriots are favored to drill us(11 points). It wasn't that close. Tom Brady finds Blount for a 17-yard score on their opening drive, and they went on to crush us 33-6. They got a pick-six and we went into the red zone twice without getting into the endzone ... aside from Brady, we just made way too many mistakes.

@ Buffalo -- Favored by a field goal in this one. The Bills jumped out 13-0, but Shaun Hill hits Burleson and Willis with second-half TD passes, and we rally for a 24-16 victory. Another miserable game for Stafford(2-7, 21 yards). If he keeps playing like this, we might have to think about starting Hill.
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Old 12-21-2013, 01:22 PM   #7
Brian Swartz
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vs. Minnesota -- A wild first half saw us lead 10-0 against the favored Vikings, lose the lead, then go ahead again as Stafford found Johnson for 8 yards late in the half and a 3-point lead. Second half was all Minnesota though, and we end on the short end of a 24-17 setback as they run for almost 200 yards.

** Went through this one rather quickly as I thought I was still in pre-season :P.

@ Arizona -- We've still got some people banged up, but all of the starters can go as we need a win here. Instead, Stafford gets picked twice in the opening quarter trying to force the ball into Johnson. Feely gets three long FG attempts for Arizona, and we are lucky he only makes one of them. A big pass play to Willis sets up a drop by Burleson and an 18-yard sack(there's Lions football for you!) and we settle for an Akers FG. 3-3, 11:27 to go in the 2nd quarter.

Cardinals QB Drew Stanton continues to beat our secondary easily, and a pass interference call practically gift-wraps them a TD when it would have been 3rd and 8. They sack Stafford on three straight plays, he fumbles on the last one and Dockett falls on it for Arizona. Stanton to Fitzgerald for a one-yard score on the next play, and it's 17-3 Cardinals .

A good drive to start the second half comes to nothing when Akers misses left from 42 yards out . They march back down the field, and Rashard Mendenhall runs it in from 11 yards out. 24-3, and the rout is on. 30-17 was the inglorious final, and the game was not that close. Stanton hits on 22-26, 217 yards and 2 TD. We just couldn't cover anyone.
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Old 12-21-2013, 01:24 PM   #8
Brian Swartz
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Detroit(0-2) @ Washington(1-1) -- After a very nice drive gives us first down from the Washington 14, we demonstrate the 8-play series. This is the Ford Way. What, you've never heard of the eight-play series? That's the one where you commit consecutive false starts, then goad the defense into offsides, then hold a few plays later to make sure you don't have a chance of converting. David Akers boots a 32-yard FG and we're up 3-0, so at least that's something. They tie it up immediately, as we fail to stop them on back-to-back third-and-long situations.

Reggie Bush explodes down the right side for 51 yards, then takes it in off left tackle two plays later from 14. That's why he's the starter -- there aren't a lot of backs in the league that have the threat of doing special things, but Bush is one of them.

Third-and-8 for Washington to start the second quarter, and we decide not to tackle for two straight plays. They run for 26 yards on those two plays. The Redskins try to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties, but we shoot better. Suh is called for unsportsmanlike conduct in a hit on RGIII, and their drive continues. Eventually he finds Moss with a short toss, and it's even at 10-all. Every drive has resulted in points.

That streak would end as the next drive stalled, but a nice punt return by Burleson sets up an eventual Stafford-Leshoure 1-yard pass play, and we retake the lead at 17-10. The big play was Megatron beating double coverage on third-and-12 for a 17-point gain, one of those plays you just shake your head at. Washington misses a long kick late, and we're still up a touchdown at the half.

They eat up a lot of clock and move down the field to start the second, but Griffin is off-target on third-and-goal and all they get is three points. It's the Reggie Bush show when he gets the ball back, screens and decent running plays. He bursts a 17-yarder into Washington territory ... nope, holding on the Lions. Momentum killed, and we punt protecting a four-point lead.

Both teams make fairly inept mistakes heading into the fourth as the defenses increasingly have control of this game. Every drive brings us closer to our first win. With about seven minutes left, Johnson turns a short gainer into 26 yards, and we have a chance to put the game away. Three incompletions later, Akers drills a 39-yard kick and our lead is back to seven at least, 20-13 with still over six minutes to go.

They finally string a few plays together and are 36 yards away at the two-minute warning: we need one more stop here. Griffin fumbles, then gets it back, and unnecessary roughness moves them down to the 15. Unnecessary, and absolutely inexcusable. Griffin throws for the endzone ... interception! Rookie Darius Slay is there with a game-preserving play, and time runs out for Washington.

Stafford is 26-43 for 209, Bush runs just 9 times for 87 yards, and Johnson has 10 catches for 82. Our big three on offense did just enough to get the win in a very even game.
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Old 12-21-2013, 01:27 PM   #9
Brian Swartz
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Chicago(1-2) @ Detroit(1-2) -- To the loser goeth the NFC North cellar at the quarter pole. The Bears are favored by a single point. CB Houston(Quad) and RT Fox(Knee) are both probable ... everyone's in for this.

We start with a three-and-out, but get a tag-team sack on Cutler and Idonije falls on the lose ball at the Chicago 20. Raiola makes a key block to spring Bush on a 10-yard score three plays later, and we grab a quick lead!

We are headed in for another score, but Pettigrew fumbles and the Bears recover. We could pay for that. They go 81 yards as we eventually lose contact with Brandon Marshall on a 19-yard score, and it's tied at 7 early in the second. We come right back as multiple penalties by Chicago make it a quick drive, and Stafford finds Johnson from 15 yards out. A three and out for the Bears is followed by a huge punt return, as Nate Burleson takes it to the house, 65 yards and a 21-7 lead with lots of time left in the half!

Another three and out, Broyles beats them deep for 42 yards, than another 5 to Megatron for his second score. 28-7, and we can do no wrong in this second quarter. Almost immediately, Michael Bush explodes for Chicago, we don't catch him and it's a 68-yard score. Tulloch stops a late Bears drive with an interception, and we're up 28-14 after a crazy half in which we were actually outgained.

Clearly from their first drive to open the second half, the Bears have figured out that we can't stop them running and we can't cover Marshall. Then Michael Bush, vastly outplaying Reggie so far, burns us again on a 16-yard screen, and suddenly our lead is just seven points. They cut through our defense again like swiss cheese after a punt, Cutler to Alshon Jeffrey with a short toss, and we are tied at 28-all, two minutes left in the third and no clue how to stop Chicago.

Three and out, bad coverage on the punt, and the Bears go right back to work starting the fourth. Marshall makes Houston look stupid, turning a 4-yard out into a 24-yard score. 35-28 Bears. I close my eyes and pretend this isn't happening.

There are few problems that Calvin Johnson can't fix. He has two big catches on our next drive, starting it with a 42-yarder and ending it with a 26-yard score. 3 TDs on the day. 35-all, still over 12 minutes left. Mosley and Ansah get a huge combo sack on the next play, and Fairley stops Forte on third down as our defense finally decides it's time to show up.

We don't go anywhere, and once again Marshall makes our defense just look silly despite a couple of nice plays by the line. Devin Hester's first catch of the game goes for 15 on third-and-long. We hold them to a chip-shot field goal, and trail by three with less than four minutes to go.
Sack. Then ... sack, fumble, Kelvin Hayden falls on it in the end zone. He doesn't play for us. It's over.

After leading 28-7 at home, we fall 45-35 to Chicago and 1-3 on the season. Megatron has 12 catches, 180 yards, and 3 TD. For Chicago, Marshall has 8-137-2, Cutler 26-35, 322 and 4/1, and we get hammered on the ground by Matt Forte(117 yards) and Michael Bush(84 yards). In all, 529 yards of total offense for the Bears. 38-7 after the great start. There are no words.
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:11 AM   #10
Brian Swartz
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Detroit(1-3) @ Green Bay(2-1) -- The Packers are favored by a touchdown, and trying to keep pace with unbeaten Minnesota. Second play from scrimmage and Bush fumbles, Green Bay recovers, and we're fortunate to give up only a field goal. 3-0 Green Bay.

Next drive, Aaron Rodgers hits James Jones for 58 yards, then Lacy out of the backfield for a 2-yd score. 10-0 Packers. Then Stafford is hit ... sacked ... fumbles ... Green Bay has it ... I've seen this movie too many times, and it's only the fifth game. We give them a fifth try at scoring with offsides, but they still can't convert and a FG makes it 13-0. We're lucky to be down only 13.

Early in the second, they march straight up the field and Lacy runs it up the gut for their second TD. 20-0, and we're getting completely and totally handed our hat. They would score again(Rodgers to Nelson for 16) before we stopped them for the first time. Akers misses from 47 late in the half ... and then we blow the cover on Randall Cobb, who scores from 53 to make it 34-0 at the half.

Shoot me now.

The rest of the game continued in like manner: the Packers scoring when they wanted to, us flailing incompetently in all directions, unable to do anything about it. The fourth quarter was pure garbage time. The final was 44-3. We could do nothing, and Rodgers was 24-32, 325 yds and 4 TD before being pulled due to boredom.

We've given up 89 points in two games. Only Oakland has given up more points than we have this year. The vaunted defensive line is just not getting it done.
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:13 AM   #11
Brian Swartz
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Detroit(1-4) @ Cleveland(4-1) -- Here's adding insult to injury. Well, we beat them in pre-season, didn't we? Another case of Johnson turning a short pass into a lot more sets up a quick field goal as we take the lead. Cleveland marches it back down, Jason Campbell to Jordan Norwood on a short pass to put us behind 7-3.

The Browns are committing to stopping Bush, and doing so, but that is allowing Stafford to do some work through the air. Another Akers kick early in the second quarter, and we close to one point. On the other side, since that first drive Campbell has done nothing passing the ball. Shayne Graham booms a 52-yarder that restores the four-point lead for the Browns, but we're on the road and hanging in there.

Then, a huge break as they fumble a punt return! Leshoure picks it up and takes it in from 14 yards out, and we take the lead 13-10 late in the first half!

Cleveland starts the second with a stellar drive, our defense off balance most of the way and then a 15-yd pass to Davone Bess beating the best coverage we could throw at him. Ryan Broyles escapes on a short route for a 59-yarder, nearly taking it all the way, and Bush finishes off the last few yards as we respond for a 20-17 lead midway through the third. This is turning into quite a good game.

Another long kick by Graham(54 yards on this one), and they tie it up at 20! Then ... Stafford goes down, and it looks like a big problem with his knee. Shaun Hill has to come on now, as Matt won't be back in this game.

When in doubt, throw it up and let Megatron catch it. Hill does just that on the final play of the third quarter, a 31-yard gain on third-and-long. We stall in the red zone, and Akers' 29-yard boot puts us in front by three, 12 minutes and chance left to play.

We get a stop and need to burn some clock. Bush loses 5, but Johnson bails us out again on third down. A punt follows, and we pin them deep ... Ansah gets some good pressure a couple times, and Houston tackles Bess a yard shy. We get it back and finally get some first downs on the ground to ice it.

We win on the road here against division-leading Cleveland, 26-20! A tough, much-needed win, and a costly one. Calvin Johnson(7-150) and Ryan Broyles(7-94) lead the passing attack, but it was the fumble recovery by Leshoure that really decided this game. Matt Stafford has injured his ACL rather severely, and he is done for the year. It'll be the Shaun Hill Show(9-12, 72 yds today) from here on out, for better or worse. Most likely worse.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:13 AM   #12
Brian Swartz
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This is dead for now as real life will not permit its continuance. I definitely intend to bring it back sometime down the road as I really want to explore the concept, but work is positively insane and the time just isn't there.
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