Monday, January 29, 2024

So Close

For long-suffering Detroit sports fans, myself included, it was a bitter but close loss.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — It came apart bit by bit for the Detroit Lions, slowly at first and then seemingly all at once.

A risky fourth-down call. A bobbled interception that turned into a big gain. A bungled handoff that led to a fumble. A dropped pass. A wasted opportunity on special teams. And too many missed tackles to count.

The Lions played their best first half of the season in Sunday’s NFC championship game, then crumbled in the second half amid a slew of self-inflicted errors, losing a heartbreaker to the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, at Levi’s Stadium.

“That’s not like us,” a somber Lions coach Dan Campbell said after the game. “That hasn’t been on us all year, and it showed up today, at the worst time.”

The Lions fell one win short of reaching the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history, bringing their storybook season to an end at a stadium 37 miles from their last road postseason victory 66 years ago.

The last time the Lions won a national championship was in 1957, before there was even the Super Bowl.  It was also the year Ford brought out the Edsel.  Oh, karma.

But they had a great season and a great first half of the championship game last night.