Lions vs. Saints - Week 16

Hondo S. Carpenter

No one is more disappointed with the events surrounding this season than the New Orleans Saints. Yes, Lion fan, there is a team that has had a worse season than the Lions.

“We have really learned that there is a lot more important things than football this season. That said, the people of San Antonio have been great hosts and we want this win bad for them today,” said Saints WR Joe Horn.

With all the tragedy, however, football waits for no one and the Lions and the Saints did have to play a game. If you look at it, we have two teams spiraling. The Saints have no regular facilities and have played three separate “home” locations in three states. Their spiraling is understandable. Our Lions are suffering for a plethora of reasons and sadly, none of them, is a worthy excuse. Affectionately named by me, the toilet bowl, today’s winner may actually be a loser by getting a chance at a worse draft pick. In case you are the only person in America who does not understand the way the National Football League hands out its picks, the teams with the worst records pick first thus theoretically ensuring that the team with the worst records get to pick the best players first.

The Lions came out with the intention of running the ball against the Saints’ 30th ranked rushing defense. Lions’ center Dominic Raiola had told me after last week’s loss, “I just don’t get what they (offensive coaches) are thinking. We come out and have some success with the run, but then we just forget it.” Evidently, the vocal frustration of the line got through to the Lions’ coaching staff, as they came into today’s game with the intention of once again running. Sadly for the Lions and the fans, Kevin Jones was once again unable to play do to an elbow injury still lingering after the Green Bay game.

\The Lions’ opening drive gave us all again some hope as Joey once again took the reigns, and the Lions accumulated 76 yards of offense on the opening drive. But, it stalled when Harrington threw a red zone interception with Detroit at the Saint 5.

Luckily, Big Baby ate his Wheaties, because he picked up a Saints’ fumble and carried all of the Saints and a couple of Lions and, witnesses have yet to confirm, a mariachi band all the way for the score. The Saints then began to “kick” the Lions to death, literally with three field goals in a row to take the lead.

Yet again, unable to capitalize on a great opportunity, the Lions wasted a magical kick return from the Lions’ Eddie Drummond that gave them the ball at the Saint 43 to begin a drive. “Sure it is difficult to go out and fight and give them that position and not see them be able to use it, but we keep fighting,” said a dejected Drummond.

Midway through the 4th quarter, Harrington and Roy Williams were able to connect a couple of times to move the Lions down inside the Saint 5 yet again. Having failed all day to actually catch a pass (dropping numerous good throws), finally Williams remembered that he is a hugely talented WR and clicked the switch on again. A sentiment echoed all over the NFL all season is that Roy Williams is a great WR when he is motivated to be. The Lions stuck to the running game plan this time, yet they had no luck against the much bigger Saint DL (can anyone remember the Green Bay 4th down with Garcia) and they got stuffed. Finally, Marcus Pollard dropped a Joey pass, the Lions got flagged for interference, and the Lions had to settle for the sure-footed Hanson to kick the field goal. Of course it was good; Hanson is money that close to the uprights. The Lion found themselves with the 10-9 lead.

That didn’t last long, however, as the hapless Saints stepped up and to the thanks of Joe Horn marched down the field. With 1:51 left in the 4th quarter, they hit the go-ahead field goal taking the lead 12-10.

With no time outs, Harrington moved the team, thanks to great plays with Roy Williams, but without the help of an offensive line that made too many mistakes. The Lions (read Harrington and Williams) got the team to within a 39-yard field goal by the sure-footed Hanson and he hit it. “I was just thankful to be in that position. My teammates gave me the chance and it’s just good to get a win,” said Hanson after the game.

Ironically, the Lions win when it hurts them (with the draft) and ironically, thanks to the great play of Harrington and Williams when the game was on the line. “We just wanted this game and Joey played really good. That is why I am here to make plays and I was just glad to have the opportunity to make them,” said Roy Williams.

“We just really need to give the Detroit Lions credit for playing so hard today. They made the plays when they needed to and that’s why they won,” a dejected Saints’ head coach Jim Haslet said.

Well folks, that is the Lions. I predicted on my TV show that they would win and they did. I certainly don’t think the joy lasts long for Lions’ fans though as they now go to Pittsburgh for a Steelers’ team that is on a roll. I think that the fans won’t be joyful after next week, but the team will, as the long miserable season comes to an end.

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