Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
I don’t know about you, but I was ready to pull a Van Gogh and cut off my ear the next time I heard Detroit coach Jim Schwartz talk about “carrying the burden” of the Lions’ two-year losing streak. After an offseason roster overhaul, Schwartz didn’t think it was fair for the Lions’ current players to be looped in with what had become a 19-game drought.
Sunday’s 19-14 victory over Washington ended any such connection, fair or otherwise, and saved my ear in the process. My instinct is to point out that this is only one game, and to recall that NFL history suggests everyone wins sometime. The Streak was going to end. It was only a matter of when.
But in my mind, the significance of The Streak is that it reminded us never to take any victory for granted. This league is based on parity, and still the Lions went almost 21 months without a win. So we should all enjoy every victory, never letting them get old, seem mundane or anything short of special.
Maybe that’s why Schwartz sent his players out of the postgame locker room and back onto the field to celebrate in front of their fans at Ford Field. (Update: Those who attended the game deserved the gesture. According to the Lions, the turnstile count was only 40,896.)
“This celebration shouldn’t have been confined to the locker room,” Schwartz said. “This celebration should have been shared and that’s the only point I wanted to make with that. We don’t need any praise or anything like that. But I thought that the fans that have stuck with us, and I mean they’ve had a hard time and everything else, but I think they deserve to celebrate with the team after this win.”
Fans and media alike wondered if the Redskins offered the perfect opposition for a streak-ending afternoon. The Redskins’ scoring offense is anemic and their defense has been vulnerable this season. But another effect of the streak is the “Something is Bound to Go Wrong” theory. Predicting victory Sunday almost made too much sense. There’s no way the Lions would capitalize on such a made-to-order proposition, right?
So if the Lions derive anything lasting out of Sunday, let it be that they flushed the viral losing mentality from their system. Step one in building a winning mindset: Win when you’re supposed to.
“We’d like to get to a point where a regular-season win isn’t celebrated that much,” Schwartz said.
But, hey, first things first. The Streak is over.