We’ve always considered it to be one of the ultimate loser’s lament – the team was one play away from winning.
That’s what Jim Schwartz rolled out on Thursday during an appearance on ESPN’s “NFL Live.” The Detroit Lions coach, on the heels of a 4-12 season, said his club was “one play away from doubling” its wins. There are plenty of problems with that, the most striking being the Lions were (using Schwartz’s logic) a minimum of four plays away from doubling their win total.
But they didn’t make those plays. In close games that could have gone either way, the Lions could not come up with the play needed to get them over the top.
“It’s very important for our guys to know where we were as a team, and you can’t ignore the fact that we lost 12 games last year,” Schwartz said during the appearance, according to Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press. “You also can’t ignore the fact that we were (within) one score in nine or 10 of those games. We were literally one play away from doubling our wins. We can easily flip that if we can make that one more play.
“Maybe it means a Reggie Bush, maybe it means a healthy Louis Delmas on the field for us, maybe it means the addition of a Glover Quin or Nick Fairley being on the field more for us or Nate Burleson coming back from injured reserve. Any of those things can be the difference for us.
“And I think, collectively, if we all have that in our minds and we know how close we are, then we can get it back pretty quickly.”
Good football teams find ways to make plays when the game is on the line, decisive moves that shape a season. Bad football teams, and the Lions were poor in 2012, don’t for a myriad of reasons. It’s certainly possible Detroit rebounds to the playoff form it showed in 2011 this season. We’re not discounting the chances Schwartz and the Lions will have. But trying to rationalize that they were close this past season is an exercise in futility. The Lions were 4-4 last season at the midway point before losing their final eight games. Schwartz’s team found ways to lose and it's a good thing he said you can't ignore that.
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