The Detroit Lions are just a few plays from being in the hunt for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Then again if my aunt had a package, she'd be my uncle. It's not good being close, you have to find a way to get over the hump and the Lions couldn't do it.
The team was hurt by it's inability to get crucial third down stops on defense and untimely turnovers on offense. The Lions couldn't find a way to overcome the avalanche of bad luck that caught up to them.
Lions running back Reggie Bush seems to have an idea what went wrong for a team that had such a promising start to missing the playoffs.
"There were certain games where maybe the offense was playing well and the defense struggled," he said, per the Detroit Free Press. "Then there's games where defense played well and offense struggled. Or there's games -- I'm thinking of the Philadelphia game -- where special teams just played lights out and offense and defense couldn't really get it together.
Bush is probably the only Lion in the locker room with the credibility to be a team leader. He's won national championships at USC and was on a Super Bowl winning team in New Orleans as a member of the Saints.
"As a team, when you have kind of have that mentality that no matter what the situation is, you can always overcome it and come out with a win. That type of chemistry. ... And you're feeding off each other, too. When offense scores a big touchdown and defense goes out there and gets a big stop or defense gets a turnover, offense goes out there and kind of answers with a touchdown. Something kind of like that."
When Bush and Nate Burleson talked about having a team meeting to get things right after losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Matthew Stafford shot down the idea.
I'm not saying that would've made a difference, but maybe things might've changed and the team might've shown more of a sense of urgency instead of just talking about it. I think Bush might have been alluding o that moment.
"It begins in the offseason," Bush said. "It's not something that happens overnight. From my experience, it's something that builds. It's a culture, a mentality that's built from the offseason and not in Week 1 or Week 2."
The Lions need to make a few changes and do some soul searching during the offseason. This was a golden opportunity and the Lions blew it. They have to come back next season and play like a team on a mission, not one hoping for a few lucky breaks that they didn't capitalize on this season.