|Our turkey doing a Lambeau Leap onto the bar.|
I don't normally like leading off my post-game analysis with the opposing team, but the Packers have just become so... predictable. Seems like every week goes down the same way:
- Rodgers throws for 300+ yards, multiple touchdowns, no interceptions and a 110+ QB rating
- Somewhere between 12 and 27 Packers receivers catch passes
- The defense gives up 17 miles of yardage but manages to minimize the scores and gets multiple take-aways
- Packer players are chillin' and cracking jokes on the sideline by midway through the fourth quarter
Where's the excitement? Where's the adversity? Where's the drama? Fortunately, we had Ndamukong Suh stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith's arm to keep things interesting. I actually can sympathize with Suh. Not only did he get beat on the play by a second-string left guard, but it was by a guy with a hyphenated name. On national TV. How humiliating.
Suh's dirty play has drawn all the media attention, and deservedly so. It was a pivotal play in the most critical moment of the biggest game at a key point in the season by their best player. The full cost of that play probably won't occur to Suh till later -- not only costing his team this game, but potentially hurting them for multiple games (if he's suspended, as most expect he will be). Furthermore, in addition to the monetary fine he'll need to pay, he likely lost millions in endorsement dollars now that he has provided visible evidence of the "dirty player" reputation he already had. The only thing more preposterous than the stomp itself was his feeble attempt to explain the incident in his post-game interview.
But Suh's action was really just indicative of a Lions team that was out-classed on Thursday. The danger for a high-energy, pumped-up team playing on the big stage against the Super Bowl champs is that they let their emotions get the better of them. And that's exactly what happened to the Lions -- committing 11 penalties for 82 yards, many, like Suh's, at critical junctures. Combine that with 3 interceptions by Matthew Stafford and you can stick fork in this Thanksgiving showdown.
It really starts with Jim Schwartz. Anyone who starts a backyard brawl over a post-game handshake is a lame ass. The Lions are a good team. The city of Detroit needs them to be a good team. Hell, they deserve a good team. But they need to evolve beyond chip-on-the-shoulder bravado to be real challengers. And after going 2-4 their last six games, they seem to be fading. We'll see them again in week 17, but by then it may not matter.