Monday, October 10, 2005

Stark Raven Mad: Lions Take Another Gift

If there has ever been an indictment of an offensive line, it occurred yesterday during the Lions' 35-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

I lost track of how many times the Lions tried running straight into the Raven's defensive line when Detroit had the ball at the Baltimore 1 yard line for what seemed like an eternity. All I know is Kevin Jones was rammed into the line like a sacrificial lamb, because with the Lions' front five unable to move a rolling chair, Jones may have been running into a brick wall for all the abuse he took trying to score the touchdown.The Lions eventually did score, thanks to another of the many horribly stupid penalties against the Ravens that gave the Lions chance after chance all afternoon. Although I still don't know how the officials could tell that Artose Pinner managed to punch the ball in amidst all the humanity at the goal line.

Aww, what the hell -- give it to 'em!

The Lions' best offensive weapon wasn't Jones, however -- even though he did run as hard as I've seen any back run in quite some time. The best weapon -- and the most reliable and consistent -- was the dreaded yellow hanky. The officials threw so much yellow laundry out there -- many of them resulting in Lions first downs and/or Ravens ejections -- that you half-expected some Munchkins to pop out and sing to Joey Harrington, "Follow the yellow flagged road....follow the yellow-flagged road!" Because that's what the Lions did -- followed the yellow-flagged road straight to the end zone and victory.

It was surprising, actually, to see a Brian Billick-led team self-destruct like the Ravens did yesterday at Ford Field. Maybe the Ravens became enraged after falling behind to the Lions 14-0. Maybe they missed their anger management courses this week. Whatever the reason, Baltimore threw footballs and bumped officials and taunted the Lions and held defensively and personal fouled offensively and it was so bad at one point that the Lions actually kicked off from the 40 -- the Ravens 40, due to multiple personal fouls.

But back to the Lions offensive line, and the play calling. First the play calling: it's about as imaginative and daring as choosing vanilla ice cream with your sundae. We didn't see any rollouts during that goal line stand, or any pitches, or sweeps, or passes, or anything other than the line plunge. It was as if the Lions' play calling was on a CD that was frozen in its disc drive. It kept spitting out the same play call. Reprehensible.

As for the line, it still is, shall we say, hole challenged? (Gotta be PC nowadays). Everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- Kevin Jones got on the ground he got on his own. He even had to run over Ray Lewis, for goodness sakes. He had something like 29 carries for 60 yards -- thanks to four carries for no yards during the stand -- but if ever stats never told the story about a runner's day and effort, it was Kevin Jones' day yesterday. The man never had so much as a puncture to work with, much less a hole, yet he was a terror to the Ravens defenders. Taking on Jones was like taking on a bumper car. This kid is the real deal, folks.

21 penalties. Three turnovers. Two ejections. It all added up to a Lions victory, because even the Lions couldn't lose one with those kind of stats on their side. Talk about indictments -- this time of an opponent.

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