That rumbling you may have heard on Sunday afternoon, sometime around 2 or 3ish perhaps, was not attributed to the deeply buried and ancient faultlines that run through our section of the Midwest. Local US Geological Survey crews were baffled by the phenomenon, which only lasted for an approximate 20-second span, until one of them turned on the NFL on Fox. Great panic and confusion was avoided when the cause of the tremors was identified as a 66-yard screen-pass interception return for a TD by Shaun Young, the 340-pound defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions.
Seriously–did you SEE that replay? I missed most of the game, but when I saw the highlight, it was literal poetry in motion. I don’t mean that in the graceful sense of the word, mind you–Shaun’s a big boy, and no force on Earth or the heavens above could’ve stopped him. MOSES couldn’t have changed his course. And certainly not Selvin Young, Denver’s running back (not exactly a lightweight at 210 pounds, either), who made a valiant effort to tackle Shaun, and got a stiff-arm so glorious, I’m amazed that Selvin still has his tonsils. Hell, Selvin’s lucky that Shaun didn’t EAT him.
Note to the Denver Broncos: whichever high school team you sent to Ford Field last Sunday, I certainly hope you’re at least paying for the limo service to the prom. They took a pounding for you guys, and although you tried to disguise things by having Mike Shanahan present, we weren’t fooled.
Shaun’s return was a pretty good metaphor for being a Lions fan this season…the team isn’t always pretty, but they’ve got some wikkid bad momentum behind them now. I’ll admit it; I was one of the people who rolled their eyes and wondered how much ganja had been smoked when Kitna said that he’d be surprised if Detroit didn’t win at least 10 this season. We’ve all heard it before, and even though I rolled my eyes at him, I expected him to say nothing else. QB’s are historically the battlefield generals of football, and no matter what, they always have to display confidence for the sake of the team (possible exception for this rule could be made for David Carr or Cleo Lemon).
Detroit’s thing has always been that they’ve had decent tools to get the job done, but always lacked cohesiveness to win games. Yes, Barry Sanders was the best running back the team will probably ever see (no slight to Kevin Jones or Billy Sims, but Barry really was one of the greats), but the QB situation was always unstable, and has been up to the signing of Kitna. Joey Harrington, Jeff Garcia, Scott “What Were They Thinking?” Mitchell, etc. Coaching was always kind of dodgy–Wayne Fontes would get us to the playoffs only when being publicly threatened with getting canned, Dick Jauron was a placeholder, and Marty Mohrninweg was, well, himself. The receiver corps was a work in progress; for every step forward (Roy Williams) that was taken, two were taken backwards (Charles Rogers, Mike Williams). It took time to get THAT particular recipe perfected, but like I’ve said before, with Shaun McDonald, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, and Mike Furrey onboard now, things are clicking nicely.
How nicely? Detroit’s one game out of first in the NFC North, behind the Packers and Brett “Don’t Call Me Old” Favre. We’ve already swept Chicago for the season, and THAT felt good to do. Kevin Jones seems to be back to his old form. The defense is playing a good mix of aggressive and preventative schemes. The offensive line is actually protecting Kitna. And Kitna’s finally reigning in the amount of picks that he was throwing around this time last year.
Credit also has to go to Rod Marinelli, whose tough, no-frills, one-snap-at-a-time approach is paying off; and to Mike Martz, the Offensive Coordinator, who needs to be kept around at any cost. Millen–if you’re reading this, I’d choose the child you’re least attached to, and offer it as sacrifice for Martz. DON’T let him go, for the love of God.
In all, it’s a good time to be a Lions fan. Special shout out to the Browns fans, too…life’s grand, ain’t it?