Pop the champagne, Lions fans. The Lions have finally won their first Super Bowl.
That was a bit of sarcasm there and maybe more than just a bit of it because what that purposefully placed misleading lede doesn’t tell you is that the Super Bowl wasn’t played November 15th.
If you didn’t know already, the Super Bowl also would never feature the Lions playing the Packers due to the two teams both residing on the NFC side of the 32-team league.
With all that said, it sure felt like it was the Super Bowl for Detroit since it hadn’t beaten its NFC North rival on the road at Lambeau Field since 1991.
In Lions-esque fashion, Jim Caldwell and Co. almost blew the victory, too, because of the kicking woes of Matt Prater in the not-so-friendly Green Bay environment for road teams.
Prater missed not just once, but twice on his extra point attempts, giving Aaron Rodgers and the Packers far too much life.
Then, when the victory seemed to be locked up, of all the guys on the Lions’ hands team, Calvin Johnson was the one who allowed Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby’s onside attempt to slip right through Megatronic his hands.
It had all the makings of a typical Lions meltdown.
Two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers even had the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
Yet, none of Rodgers’ greatness as a passer or the Lions’ past failures as a franchise mattered on this day.
With the odds stacked against the Lions being able to hold on to a two-point lead with five seconds remaining and Crosby in position to win the game for the Packers, the seemingly impossible happened.
Crosby missed the field goal try from 52 yards out, preserving the ugly 18-16 Detroit victory that could have easily been Detroit’s eighth loss of the season.
It could have easily been a loss because Caldwell’s ground game continued to struggle. Former Ford Field security guard Joique Bell and the franchise’s 2015 second round pick Ameer Abdullah combined for 32 yards on 19 carries.
Wide receiver and former Notre Dame standout Golden Tate had the longest rush of the day on an 11-yard end-around. Yes, really.
Bell, Abdullah, Tate and three other Lions accounted for 45 yards of rushing in the team’s first game since both Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew were canned by 90-year-old owner Martha Ford.
Additionally, of Detroit’s 16 first downs, only two of them came via the subpar ground attack.
Such a performance normally wouldn’t result in victory for an NFL team.
However, when the opposition’s run game is equally as putrid, strange things can happen.
The Pack got two more total yards out of its run game, with eight of the squad’s 47 yards of rushing coming from the mobile Rodgers.
The Packers’ new #1 running back James Starks led the way with 42 yards on 15 carries while the franchise’s Super Bowl-winning QB accumulated his aforementioned eight yards on two carries on a day in which he threw the ball a career-high 61 times. Long gone are the days of “three yards and a cloud of dust” in this rivalry between the two teams from the northern midwest.
Rodgers, the 11th year pro out of California, completed 35 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns, with only two worse performances for the 2005 first rounder so far this season based on both completion percentage (57.4 percent) and quarterback rating (83.6).
The Packers — in their most unbalanced form yet – were also without their season-opening top back Eddie Lacy, who was inactive with a groin injury after being relegated to backup duty and being accused of being “overweight” by fans and pundits alike.
If you were wondering, all this means is that the Lions played a team they’ve been 15-36 against since ’91 at the most opportune time possible and subsequently had luck on their side for once.
However, a win’s still a win no matter how much the second-winningest franchise in NFL history played down to the Lions’ inept level.
Also, it’s understandable that some fans would have liked to have seen the Lions lose for the sake of protecting their spot atop the 2016 NFL Draft.
It’s a valid point, but let me say this: any win against Rodgers and the Packers in “Titletown USA” these days needs to be cherished. It’s because with the Lions’ incompetent nature as an organization, you never know when the next “W” is going to come for Detroit’s “loveable losers” at Lambeau.