Monday, October 31, 2005
Scaaary! Lions Toss First Place Away In OT
He...could....go...all...the...WAY! (And he did)
Okay, Jeff -- you used one of your mulligans. Not sure you have many left, though.
Surely if Joey Harrington had thrown the ugly, ugly pass that was picked off by Charles Tillman and returned for a game-winning touchdown in overtime, giving the Bears a crucial 19-13 victory Sunday, the cauldron would be brewing tar and feathers would be at the ready.
But it was Jeff Garcia who tossed the ill-advised ball -- and by ill-advised I mean it the same way that lighting a match when you smell gas is ill-advised -- and because he had a fairly decent game up to that point, except for a questionable lateral/pass/shovel thingie that created controversy, there were some boos at Ford Field, but they were muted. Almost like, "We should probably be booing right about now."
Mostly the crowd was disappointed, not angry. The Lions, once again, followed up a big win with a bigger loss. First place was up for grabs. Now it’s out of grasp.
After watching Garcia for two games now, I love his improvisation. And, after watching Garcia for two games now, I loathe his improvisation. His antics are like that famous literary line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Sure, he can make something out of nothing, but he can do it for both teams. He’s an equal opportunity provider that way. He almost lost the game in regulation, as you know, holding up the game and causing all sort of confusion and red challenge flags -- from both teams, and that’s quite a skill -- with his goofy-looking toss that the Bears thought they had returned for a TD. The Bears thought the throw was a backward lateral. And only with the Lions can you hear a loud cheer at Ford Field for an intentional grounding penalty -- 10 yards and loss of down.
But that bit of highjinks wasn’t enough for Garcia, who I suspect read a few too many press clippings and listened to a tad too much talk radio, all exulting his ability to be "creative". I think that because he tended to want to do it a LOT. And it eventually caught up to him at the end, when he broke a rule I believe they teach you as soon as your hands are big enough to throw a forward pass: NEVER throw across your body toward the middle of the field. And especially don’t do it in your own red zone. And double especially don’t do it in your own red zone in overtime. In a game where he had some nice DO’s, Jeff Garcia had, unfortunately for the Lions, one big fat DON’T, and it cost them the game.
"I will learn from that -- definitely," Garcia said during his postgame chat with the media.
Gee, I thought after three years of high school, four years of college, and over 10 years as a professional, it would have come up in conversation a time or two.
Leave it to the Lions to have a 35 year-old QB who is still experiencing on-the-job training.