First off, I really just cannot believe we let this game slip away. Just like the Buffalo game, the Lions had to have EVERYTHING go their way at the end of the game, and it did. To have that happen once in a season is one thing, but TWICE? It's just f*cking unreal.
How many times is this offense going to have the opportunity to ice the game just by picking up a few 1st downs, and FAILED to do so? This week is like the 6th time this season, at LEAST ... and EVERY TIME they've had a chance to close out a game, they have FAILED, and we ended up handing the ball back to the other team, with a chance to win the game. Most times we've gotten lucky this season, but this week, that luck ran out (as it did against Buffalo).
Granted, there's much blame to go around, but personally, Hue is #1 on my shit list today, w/o a doubt. From the MINUTE we lined up to go for it on 4th on that first drive, I was saying "Hue don't be a f***ing IDIOT, take the 3 friggin POINTS!". And the entire game I kept saying to everyone around me "Watch, we're gonna lose because we didn't kick that field goal". And whaddayaknow, sure enough ....
Remember after the Browns game, when Hue told us he wouldn't make that mistake again? Well, granted this was the first drive, not near the end of the game, but it's the same principle. In fact, I'd argue it's even more important on the first drive to come away w/points, ESP. this Raider team. I guarantee you our Winning % when we score points on our first offensive possession is MUCH higher than when we don't. Hue DAMN SURE made that same mistake again, and this time, he DIDN'T get lucky like he did in the Browns game.
That was mistake 1, and there's just NO EXCUSE for not doing what 99% of the coaches that've ever coached an NFL game will tell you is the 'right' move to make in that situation.
Mistake 2 is that it goes without saying that Hue should've gone for two after our last touchdown. 7 minutes left, chance to go up by 14 instead of 13, that's a f***ing NO BRAINER to try for the two. Again, 99% of coaches would've gone for the two. Maybe we don't get it, but it's a risk with nearly 0% of having a downside. Hue takes risks w/all kinds of other shit in the game, but then DOESN'T take a risk when it makes PERFECT SENSE to do so? Seriously, WTF is up with this guy?
And then, egregious error #3 ... on the 2nd to last possession ... throwing for Schillens on 3rd and a short 3. We had Bush bowling over fools in the 4th quarter. Hell, damn near every play we ran to the left had been good for at least 5 yards the whole game.
In that situation, we were past mid-field, and the odds are that if you punt, you get a touchback (we got VERY lucky to down the ball on the 1, most times, that doesn't happen, and the net gain of yardage turns out to only be 20 yards ... one easy Calvin Johnson catch erases the punt), so what we SHOULD HAVE DONE, is run on 3rd down to the left (eating time off the clock), and then run on fourth down to the left (if necessary).
And I'm pretty damn sure Bush would've picked up the 3 yards on two rushes to the left side. Detroit couldn't stop SHIT on the left side of our offense ALL DAY. Instead, we try a timing pattern to the right, a low % pass over the top, trying to hit a receiver in stride. THAT WAS F***ING RETARDED playcalling right there. When you do the math and see that Detroit scored with 39 seconds left, and subtract the 45 seconds that a RUN on 3rd and 3 could've taken off the clock, what do you come up with?
Yes, our Defense hugely FAILED, esp. Renaldo ... making Matt Stafford look like Barry f***ing Sanders out there when a tackle basically wins the friggin game, are you F***ING KIDDING ME?!? This guy was the #8 overall pick in the draft? Supposedly the 'smartest' MLB Saban ever coached? REALLY?!?
But I can't in good conscience pin this one all on the Panda. Defense played damn well all game long, holding a high-powered offense to 14 points until mid-way through the fourth quarter. I was constantly saying to myself 'where was this defense all season long'? The truth is, Renaldo and Boyd shouldn't have even been in the situation they were in, because the defense SHOULD HAVE had a bigger cushion in terms of points than what they did.
In my book, it was HUE'S PENCHANT FOR STUPID GAMBLING (and stupidly NOT gambling when he should've) that cost us this game. Had he just made BASIC, SIMPLE, TEXTBOOK playcalling choices in each of the three situations mentioned above, had he PLAYED THE PROBABILITIES PROPERLY, we WOULD ALMOST CERTAINLY HAVE WON THE GAME. Hell, only ONE of those three had to work and we'd at least have had a shot in OT (if we made the 2-pointer), if not won outright.
Also, that BS PF on the kick return against Boyd, plus the BS PI call on Schillens was absolute friggin GARBAGE. I am pretty much positive those two shit calls cost us at least 3 points, as Branch (iirc) returned it past midfield, and Chaz's catch was good for a first down (iirc), instead we ended up having to punt. Zebra's definitely did their usual part in screwing us over, but despite their BS, we still would've won this game if Hue just coached PROPERLY, like a NORMAL friggin coach, by calculating and playing the percentages.
All this being said, thankfully, since Denver lost, this loss doesn't hurt us that badly in terms of PO's is the truth of the situation. If Denver simply beats the Bills, the small advantage we'd have gained by beating the Lions would have been erased anyways. If they DO lose to the Bills next weekend, THEN this loss really hurts, because we could've had a 'win and you're in' game in week 17, but if they win, again, this loss is meaningless. And the WC odds were terrible to begin with (on the order of 4%), so the fact that they're now dropped to like 3% isn't exactly tearing me up inside.
SO ... like I was saying all week ... our path to the playoffs is to win the next two, and hope for help from KC in Week 17. That's it, it's a very simple scenario, with odds on the order of 12.5%, mathematically-speaking.