By: Herman Moore
Ford Lions Report Live Analyst
Maybe tradition could help play a role.
Perhaps memories of past performances could lend a hand?
Just maybe, the Detroit Lions could harness some sort of energy and claim a win during its storied Thanksgiving Day game with the Houston Texans.
Experience could favor the Lions, who take the field on Thanksgiving for the 73 rd time Thursday. The Texans (9-1), on the other hand, have only been around since 2002 and have never played on the feast-heavy holiday.
Detroit needs a little luck to lean its way.
This past Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers was decimating, bitter and tough to swallow. A more efficient offense on the final possession of the game could have produced a touchdown – that’s what the believers in the Lions would like to think, of course.
There were so many different game-changing scenarios from Sunday that could have went either direction, but one point remains: Good teams find ways to win the close ones, and the Packers did that.
Simply put, Detroit wasn’t at Green Bay’s level, although it went without players like Greg Jennings, Charles Woodson and Clay Mathews.
It’s difficult for Lions fans to follow a talented team capable of winning the NFC North, that has flopped and floundered its way to a 4-6 record.
An elusive win against the Packers was going to happen Sunday, most devotees thought. Some way, even if Pro Bowlers were taken out of Green Bay’s mix, Detroit was going to win.
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson were connecting in typical fashion, and the defense played exceptionally well, forcing Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to think quickly and make ill-timed throws.
Close. Too close, actually.
Catching a whiff of what could turn into a victory was nothing but a symbol of how this fall has been for Detroit, which was expected to eclipse last season’s 10-6 record this year. Making the playoffs for a second straight season was highly likely, at least for those who viewed this team the same way I did.
Last-gasp attempts are all the Lions seem to have. Making Thanksgiving count against Houston isn’t an option, it’s mandatory. Detroit’s 33-37-2 record isn’t all that impressive, and it doesn’t help fans cope with this emotionally-twisting season knowing that the Lions haven’t won on Thanksgiving since 2003’s 22-14 victory over Green Bay.
However, this Detroit team has offensive firepower, much like the teams I played for.
Points were scored, and this year’s team can do the same to a great Houston team, just like we did to an AFC power almost 20 years ago.
We took care of the Buffalo Bills in 1994. They had won the AFC four straight years, but that didn’t stop us from running away with a 35-21 Turkey Day triumph.
It felt good.
That was a great team, one led by Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, Darryl Talley and Bruce Smith – it’s one I remember to this day.
But we had answers for them.
I was used to Scott Mitchell, but Dave Krieg played in place of him that day. I remember speeding down field, and Krieg placed the ball in a spot where I could turn a 51-yard flea-flicker into a touchdown that highlighted a pretty decent seven-catch, 169-yard afternoon.
Thanks again, Dave. I couldn’t have done it without you.
And thanks goes to Kelvin Pritchett, who sacked Kelly four times, setting the tone for a nasty defense that just wouldn’t let the Bills take us down at the Silverdome.
The point of that story is this: The Texans are expected to win. So was Buffalo. Record doesn’t matter at this point -- it’s about the Lions’ pride. No distractions, no talk of what’s not going well – the Lions need to look at themselves and ask if they have enough to win on Thanksgiving.
We were 5-6 prior to beating Kelly and the Bills. We finished the year 9-7 and made the playoffs.
A turnaround sparked by a Thanksgiving turnaround can be done – this team has no other choice.
Herman Moore joins Tom Leyden and Rob Rubick on the Ford Lions Report Live every Sunday at 11am throughout the season. You can follow Herman on Twitter @HMAN84 | Tom on Twitter @TomLeyden | Rob on Twitter @RRubick
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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