This shouldn’t take long (he said optimistically). I spent Q1 fighting with various electronics, in a bid to watch the game, so naturally I didn’t see much. The next two quarters were fairly ordinary football, which was less than I’ve come to expect from KC’s offense, but Kelce was a key component, and he was clearly missed.
Of the 4th quarter, there’s not much to say. Still fairly standard stuff, but that was the problem. We aren’t used to a pedestrian performance at the end of the game, but that’s what we got, especially in the last 2 minutes. That needs to be corrected, and while I’m sure it will be addressed, seeing it go that way still stings.
Obviously, the fans are losers tonight, but let’s not let it weigh us down. Another loser was Toney, but I’m sure he knows he’s better than that, and I won’t hang on that, either. The WR corps in general fell short, as well, and the OL needs to tighten up, as well. The beef and talent look to be there, but there were problems with cooperation/coordination.
One loser worth noting is Chris Jones. I’m not faulting him for holding out (here, at least), but holding out in the season’s meant to say “how ya like it without me”, and he didn’t get a notch on that gun tonight. Oh, sure, if he would’ve played, we’d likely have won, but the impact was lost, because if Kelce had played, we would have won. Chris is a monster out there, but Travis is a literal cheat code, and there’s a difference.
Why does that matter? Because it inherently weakens the argument “we woulda won, if you’d paid me” in the negotiation. Holding out during the season will create more bad blood as time progresses, because forcing a sacrificed season for that extra moolah won’t endear him to the team. It’s burning his accumulated good will. He’s got plenty of that, don’t get me wrong, but the longer this lasts, the hotter that fire will burn, team and fans alike.
Missing Jones was bad, but missing Kelce dramatically overshadowed his message, because you’d have to be blind to see that Travis was far more valuable, and at a lower cost. With him in there, the passing game’s much more of a factor than just his performance bump, everyone gets lifted when the coverage gets stressed, and the stress wasn’t there. We have receivers who can add stress too, but they didn’t do that. No, Kelce was clearly much more valuable than Jones tonight. That won’t alter the process much, but it does put Chris’ expected pressure on hold until Sunday after next.
Winners? Bolton, who was all over the place, and really, the D overall. While far from perfect, they knew that playing without Jones and Omenihu meant everyone had to step up, and they held the Lions to 24. Absent that pick-6, it might have been good enough to win this one. It’s not the D we wanted, but they’re like the O being run by Gabbert, and like the “Hennething’s possible” drive, they really stepped up, and I think they still have ceiling remaining, first game stuff holding them back’s good enough for that evaluation.
It’s also worth noting that this wasn’t a stereotypical Lions team. While I wouldn’t call them loaded just yet, this is a team that can compete, and this was their first game, too. They have talent on board, and while Goff might not be elite, he’s well better than average. I’d take him over Cousins, to say the least. We didn’t lose to a second-rate team this time. They’re the sort that when missing 2-3 important players means we have to play our A game to win. We could have pulled that off, but mistakes did us in, the pick-6 alone stands witness to that fact. Final nod goes to Bolton, who seemed to always be around the ball on the ground. Gotta love the hustle.
Now it’s y’all’s turn to talk about it, or perhaps just call me an idiot. Either way, it’s honestly generated content, even if from a non-expert. You want expertise, go check Seth, Dan, Nate, Ryan, or even go suck up to Sweeny and his crew. Part of me being on staff is to write, and I can only write what I can. I won’t write something that I haven’t agreed to, so you get what I got paid for it.