Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford speaks to the media after the 23-16 loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018, at Ford Field.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

It’s unofficially official now. You’re free. Liberated.  

From worrying about mathematical possibilities. From studying the standings. From thinking that if only the Detroit Lions could beat the Bears and shock the L.A. Rams and get on a roll and … 

Come, on. Let it go. Eat some pie — preferably cherry, or apple, or pumpkin if you must. Make a leftover turkey sandwich this weekend and gorge on all the NFL football games you want.  

Better yet, find a new team for the next five weeks. Pin a map to the wall. Toss a dart. Run your finger to the nearest city. Cheer. Unless you land on Detroit, in which case throw the dart again. 

Seriously, folks, it’s time to think about the draft. About free-agents. About shoveling driveway. Anything, really, that doesn’t involve these Lions the next five Sundays.  

Look, I get it. You watched Thursday’s game against Chicago because it was Thanksgiving. Tradition and all. And sometimes the Lions surprise you.  

Mostly, though, they do what they did Thursday when they lost, 23-16, to the Bears: Get close. Give you hope. Throw a pick-six in the middle of the fourth. Then say it’s not good enough after it’s over.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The problem is nothing ever gets clean. And you’re stuck in the same loop.  

Think about it this way: when you first heard Chicago’s promising young quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, wouldn’t play because of injury you thought … Matt Flynn. 

Admit it.

You remember him, right? He was the backup to Aaron Rodgers in 2012 when the Lions entered Lambeau Field as favorites and lost as Flynn set franchise records for yards — 480 — and touchdown passes — six. 

Only the Lions. Matt (expletive) Flynn. 

If you say it slowly enough, it sounds a lot like — Chase … Daniel. 

Daniel didn’t set franchise records Thursday afternoon at Ford Field. But his performance sure felt familiar.

Here he was starting his first game in four years. Dropping feathery over-the-shoulder dimes to his receivers. Tossing two touchdown passes and, for what it’s worth, no interceptions. 

Actually, avoiding interceptions is worth a lot. One team threw two of them Thursday. That team lost. 

But enough about the game, about another heart-wrenching defeat, about another chance for your team to endear itself to a national audience looking for something to do other than eat overcooked, artificially enlarged, turkey-breast meat. 


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

As I mentioned, it’s time to move on, and enjoy the stylings of, say, Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City’s marvelous young quarterback, or Jared Goff, the second-year signal-caller for the Rams. 

As it happens, those Rams will suit up at Ford Field two Sundays from now in what promises to be a high-scoring affair, at least on one sideline. The good news is you won’t care at that point.  

Which will help If you stumble across more quotes like this from your head coach:

“We have to get back at it and go back to work. We have a lot to do, a lot to improve on, and things that we’re continually trying to get better at. There’s not a lot of time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves.” 

History: Lions should be just Bear-ly thankful for Chicago’s Turkey Day visit

Not for Matt Patricia. But for you? Have at it. Feel sorry for yourself all you want. You’ve earned it.  

Just try not to spend much time sulking. So many other teams are out there. Teams that are fun. Teams that throw down the field. Teams that score more than 30 points. 

Teams that don’t win enough to give you hope and lose enough to demolish it. Week after week after week. 

So adopt one. Temporarily. Even if you really can’t quit these Lions.  

I’d suggest watching college games, too. Maybe dream about the next Lion. Maybe read up on potential free agents — in the Free Press, of course.

Maybe think about who might be calling plays next season and how the offense might look different. 

Watch the Lions the rest of the way if you must. That’s fine.  

But do it with indifference, with a detached chill, from a position of psychological safety. And stop thinking about mathematics, about the one-percent chance the Lions have to make the playoffs. 

It’s not happening. Not this year. Losing to the Bears on Thursday all but decided it.  

You’re free.  


Contact Shawn Windsor: 313-222-6487 or Follow him on Twitter @shawnwindsor.