The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears were a combined 2-8 coming into their game Sunday, so it’s safe to say that expectations were not terribly high on Game of the Year scale. Anyone who chose to watch this game — not under any duress and of their own free will — would’ve been mentally prepared for a very average game, the kind of midseason NFC North game that doesn’t involve the Packers and therefore will have no great bearing on all that many lives.
But this Lions-Bears game was much, much worse than that. It was a very real abomination of football, the kind that makes you understand how someone would want to burn game tape, collect witness affidavits for the record, and impose a gag order prohibiting all parties from speaking of the proceedings in public.
Here’s the thing: You could easily look at the box score of this game and think to yourself, Hey, looks like a fun time of sport was had by all! I know, you might infer that from a glance at the numbers. There was 990 yards of offense combined. There was 50 first downs. Matthew Stafford threw for more than 400 yards; Jay Cutler topped 350. Calvin Johnson had a game-tying TD catch with 21 seconds left, and the Bears still managed to tie the game and send it to overtime. I mean, what more could you want from an inter-divisional contest where both teams are trying to salvage their disappointing season?