These Detroit Lions, can anybody figure them out? They were crushed by the Washington Redskins 45-0 on opening day, and since then they have lost five starters to injury, including No. 1 quarterback Rodney Peete, All-Pro nosetackle Jerry Ball and last season's sack leader, linebacker Michael Cofer. They put some guy at the helm whose main claim to fame is that he once played in the Potato Bowl. They patch the other positions with anybody who's standing around, and—lo!—they have become good.
On Sunday, in an NFC divisional playoff at the frighteningly loud Silverdome, the Lions dissected the Dallas Cowboys 38-6 with an attack so surgically precise and painless (to the Lions) that observer, er, decoy—excuse us—running back Barry Sanders said afterward, "If there was such a thing as a doubleheader in football, I'd be ready to go in minutes."
Quarterback Erik Kramer, whose junior college team, Los Angeles Pierce, lost to Taft College 51-24 in the 1983 Potato Bowl, was so terrific that reporters didn't know quite what to ask him when it was all over.
Can you throw like that all the time?
Didn't the Cowboy and the Lion helmets look alike to you?
You played at Virginia, right?
"Now there you go again. North Carolina State."
Indeed. And he was named the ACC Player of the Year in 1986, and he played three strike games for the Atlanta Falcons in '87 and one season in the Canadian Football League before signing as a free agent with Detroit in 1990, but still...where did this game come from?