It is bitter cold outside, but that doesnâ€™t change the excitement for the Lion faithful for the annual Thanksgiving Day classic.Â Lions head coach Steve Mariucci did everything he could this week to attempt to gain any kind of a competitive advantage, and perhaps save his job.Â He closed practice and worked on some new formation, but I predict that it will be Joey Harrington who starts.Â
There is however one interesting side bar and that is if the Lions get humiliated today, Lions head coach Steve Mariucci could be let go as early as tomorrow.
The Falcons themselves are in a 2 game slump, but do have the most exciting player in the NFL in Mike Vick.Â The Falcons won the toss and took the ball, hoping to stomp the Lionsâ€™ defense immediately.Â They did just that, marching right down the field for a field goal.Â With 10:13 left in the 1st quarter, the Falcons had the lead at 3-0.Â
The Lions first two possessions ended with turnovers.Â The first one was an interception when Roy Williams fell down (not Joeyâ€™s fault) and the second was a fumble by Shawn Bryson that he shouldnâ€™t have made because Kevin Jones should have been in the game.Â The second turnover led to a Falcon drive and a TD.Â The PAT was good and with 52 seconds left in the 1st quarter the possible blow out was underway with the Falcons leading our Lions 10-0! Former Spartan T.J. Duckett got the score, a 1-yard plunge, and that is the silver lining in this terribly black cloud.
The surprise, up to this point in the game however, has been the play of Lions QB Joey Harrington.Â Joey has played very well.Â He hasnâ€™t made one mistake or bad read; the issues have been with his teammates.Â I said this in weeks before, for example last week in Dallas.Â Joey did not cost this team the victory last weekend.Â I stand by my comments both on TV and Spartan Nation that for the system Mooch runs, Joey is a Pathetic QB, but that is only for this system.Â He is quickly however adapting to this system and is clearly making himself the clear choice to Garcia.Â On a critical 3rd and 10, Joey did an awesome job on the hard count and drew the defense off sides. The bad part was that he also drew his own OL off sides, so the Lions lost yet another 5 yards.Â Most of all, another possession was lost.
The Falcons however were most appreciative to the Lions for kicking their own butt, because they took the ball right down the field for the TD.Â The PAT was good and with 10:44 left in the 2nd quarter, the Lions were getting humiliated in their own stadium 17-0.
As I alluded to earlier, there was no doubt that if the Lions got humiliated today, as they did last year, that Coach Mariucciâ€™s days in Detroit could be numbered.Â This team is clearly going nowhere and it certainly isnâ€™t Millenâ€™s fault.Â It is Millenâ€™s job to acquire talent, which he has. It is Mooch and his staffâ€™s job to coach it and get the most from it and they havenâ€™t.Â This season is clearly lost.Â The rumors that are swirling around the Lions are that they will place Dick Jauron in as the interim coach and move from there.Â I certainly am not calling for that scenario but something has to be done and I just donâ€™t see Millen as the culprit.
After the Lions once again lacked any continuity or success on offense (not Harringtonâ€™s fault), they gave the ball back to the Falcons (at their own 1) who quickly showed the Lions what to do with it.Â They moved the ball to their own 37, which was great considering that they started at their own 1.
Jeff Garcia came in as the Lions QB much to the joy of the fans.Â I am unsure what he has shown them all season that makes them happy or what Joey has done wrong, but so is the prerogative of the fans and a coach on the hot seat.
Garcia came in and lead the Lions down the field, executing the two-minute offense with ease, of course, until Mooch decides to run Shawn Bryson with 1:40 left, forcing the Lions to use a timeout.
On that note, it fails because the offensive line couldnâ€™t stop a paper bag, the same thing that was going on with Joey under center.
The Lions decide to go for it on 4th-and-2 on the Atlanta 42, but Garcia is absolutely creamed while trying to scramble leaving Mooch to just hang his head as the Falcons get the ball inside Lions territory and the dangerous Vick at the helm.Â The Falcons were not able to do much due to an interception of Vick, but donâ€™t fret Falcon fan, the Lions didnâ€™t do anything either as the half ended.
The Lions got the ball to start the 2nd half and it was the same outcome.Â Terrible play calling and execution led by Garcia and they punted away.Â Vick immediately capitalized on the Lions inept play and pushed the ball in on 4 plays for the TD.Â The PAT was good and with 11:46 left in the 3rd quarter, the score was the Lions 0 and the Falcons 24.
After a draw play for Bryson on first down and a drop by Mike Williams, Garcia and his receiver had a miscommunication and Garcia threw a pick without a receiver within 25 yards. After that, many members of the crowd decided they would rather be out in the freezing temperatures than be inside Ford Field to watch this pathetic display of â€˜footballâ€™.
The pathetic display of offense continued as the offense was booed off the field time and time again because of play calls that donâ€™t even get past the sticks; a tired â€œtraditionâ€ for the Lions.
As the third quarter ended, the Falcons led 27-0 to a chorus of boos from Lionsâ€™ fans sick and tired of watching blowouts.