I waited until Wednesday to write this article.  Because I wanted the raw emotion to subside and let sanity set in.

But I'm still upset about Detroit Lions loss to the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday in the NFC Championship, 34-31.

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And it could've been easily prevented with rational coaching decisions.  Which the Lions, and especially head coach Dan Campbell (above), seem incapable of doing.

Don't give me the analytics, there's too much of it in sports now.  There's doing the right thing during a game, and then there's the wrong thing to do.

Let's go over the situations that most people who are Lions fans and in the media know about:

SITUATION #1

:10 left in the 1st Half...The Lions lead the game 21-7.  It's 4th and goal from the SF 3 yard line.  Dan Campbell calls a time out and takes a loooong time to decide what to do.  You could his facial expression...."GO FOR IT, GO FOR IT."   But the more he thought about it, he decided to have Michael Badgley kick a 21 yard field goal to make it 24-7.  Kick was good...24-7 Lions.

My Thoughts:  This was a no-brainer, you kick the field goal.  Amazed it took them so long to make the right decision.  Next...

SITUATION #2

Approximately 7 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter...The Lions lead 24-10 after a 49er FG.  It's 4th down and 2 from the Niner 28 yard line.  Campbell decides to go for it, and they fail on a Josh Renoylds dropped pass.  Would've been a tough catch, but one you need to make.  Lions still lead 24-10

My Thoughts:  I can see why you would go for it (with it being 4th and 2, not 4th and 5 or more).  But the right play is to kick the 45 or 46 yard field goal.  Campbell's ego got in the way.  Wrong decision.  Next...

SITUATION #3

You've lost momentum after screwing up Situation #2.  Now the 49ers lead 27-24 halfway through the 4th quarter.  The Lions have 4th down and 3 from the Niners 30 yard line.  Instead of kicking a 47 or 48 yard field goal to tie the game, Campbell decides to go for it.  Goff misses Amon-Ra St. Brown on a pass and they don't get it.  Niners lead 27-24 with just over 7 minutes left.

My Thoughts:  This was an idiotic decision.  You kick the field goal to tie the game.  Every single time.  This isn't even arguable, IMO.  If you do, you're a Dan Campbell bootlicker.  Next...

SITUATION #4

1:00 left in regulation.  Niners now lead 34-24.  it's 3rd down and goal from the SF 1-yard line.  Instead of throwing a pass that would either A. Result in a Touchdown, or B. Be an Incomplete Pass.  The Lions decide to run the ball with David Montgomery and he gets stuffed behind the line of scrimmage.  It results in the Lions calling their first time out of the half.  The Lions do score on 4th down, but fail to get the on-side kick.  San Francisco runs out the clock and they win, 34-31.

My Thoughts:  A bad play call and bad execution.  This is more on offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, but Campbell's the head coach.  He can overrule his OC if he wants to.  Losing that time out was critical.  It forced Detroit to go for the onside kick.  Which they almost got, but didn't.

SYNOPSIS

Understand this, I'm not saying that Dan Campbell should be fired.  He's done too much good here in the three years here.  But he has clearly shown he is not a good in-game coach.  His motivation abilities are outstanding.  The players play their ass off for him and they clearly believe in him.

But when he puts the headset on and coach during the game, he doesn't know what he's doing.  His over aggressiveness has hurt the team.  It's why the Lions season is over and not playing Kansas City in the Super Bowl.  He personally contributed to three losses in the regular season this year (Seattle, Green Bay, and Dallas).  And his poor decisions in 2022 cost them a playoff berth.  That is inexcusable.

It's one thing if you clearly lose to a better team (like lose 31-10).  But when you outplay a very good team like the San Francisco 49ers on the road and you have a legit chance to go to the Super Bowl, and the coach makes stupid decisions that cost your team the game (and the season).  Again, that is inexcusable.  Coaches should never be the reason teams lose games.  And yet it happens all the time.

Until Dan Campbell stops trying to show everybody how tough or how big his stones are (by going for it most of the time), they will NOT get to the Super Bowl.  He needs to go to In-Game Coaching School.  Or get the old In Living Color character Homey Da Clown to stand next to him on the sidelines and hit him over the head with his sock and say:

"I Don't Think So!!!  Homey Don't Play That!!!"

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