The Detroit Lions have been historically bad dating back to the AFL/NFL merger. Relegated to an identity of losing, their loyal fans live in purgatory and have never seen the Lions make it to the Super Bowl. At the start of the game, there was a feeling in the air that things were going to be different, as Monday Night Football opened up with Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford connecting to receiver Kenny Golladay on a long 66-yard flea flicker. After that, despite a valiant effort from the Detroit defensive and special-teams units, the team’s momentum on offense slowed and the Lions let the game slip away after some questionable officiating.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Detroit led the Green Bay Packers 22-13. Two late officiating-calls against Lions defensive end Trey Flowers, for illegal use of hands to the face, extended Packers’ drives. Both were questionable, and were subject to criticism by the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcasting team. Both flags were on third down, with the first leading to a touchdown. As a result of the second flag, Green Bay was able to run down the clock and kicker Mason Crosby chipped-in a field goal as time expired to give the Packers a 23-22 victory at Lambeau Field.
Lions legendary running-back Barry Sanders was critical of the game’s officiating, and took to Twitter to voice his displeasure after the game:
The Lions managed only one touchdown throughout the game and settled for five field goals, despite winning the turnover margin with a plus three finish. Detroit failed to capitalize multiple times while in the red zone, leaving plenty of room for a narrative suggesting the officials role in the game. There was also a questionable call for unnecessary roughness on a Lions pass defense earlier in the game. However,a loss is a loss. No matter how painful it may be, it doesn’t change the heart-breaking fact that the Lions are now last in the NFC North with a 2-2-1 record; a place they are all too familiar with.
Header Photo Credit: The Oakland Press