You’ll have to excuse me. I’m a ball of emotions today. The Detroit Lions have me down. Listen. I’m a lifelong Lions fan. I’ll always be a Lions fan. I’m not one of those people who’s now going to turn my back on the team. But, this was our chance. I don’t see it happening again. This was the Detroit Lions’ one chance to make history and make it to the Super Bowl. I’m a sports reporter and podcaster. I host the NFL and Lions show “The Squad with Anne Erickson,” based in Detroit. So, I’ve followed this team closely all year. And, it hurts. A lot.

Here are my thoughts on the Detroit Lions’ painful loss to the 49ers.

Of course, we don’t know if the Lions will get back to this point. For a comparison, I remember when my college, Michigan State University, lost in the Final Four in the NCAA basketball championship games in 1999. It was so sad. I cried. We all cried. But, we knew that Mateen Cleaves, Tom Izzo and the core of that basketball team would be back the following season. We were energized and knew we could win it all. We did. MSU won the NCAA National Championship in 2000. The only other time we won was in 1979 with Magic Johnson on board.

I don’t feel that way here. It’s different in the pros. But…

Ben Johnson: The Best News Ever

I actually just updated this story, because Detroit Lions fans just got the best news ever. Ben Johnson is coming back. You aren’t delusional. You aren’t dreaming. It really seemed like Johnson had one foot out the door. He was going to either the Washington Commanders or Seattle Seahawks. But, Tuesday (Jan. 30), according to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, Johnson has told both the Commanders and Seahawks that he isn’t leaving Detroit.

This is so massive for Detroit. With Johnson back, it’s like the band is back together. He is really the heart, and perhaps more importantly, the mind, of this team. We could go all the way, Detroit. I’m so happy

Inside the Lions’ Loss to the 49ers

So, what happened? The Lions were leading 24-7 going into halftime. How did that lead evaporate?

Well, we had to know the 49ers would make a comeback. And, that’s okay. It’s totally fine for them to make a comeback. We just had to hold them at length. We just had to contain them enough. We could have, but Dan Campbell took matters into his own hands.

Sure, there were fumbles and mistakes and miscommunication and incomplete passes. But, that always happens. You’re never going to have a perfect game.

What happened is that Campbell gambled with the Detroit Lions’ destiny. In the third quarter, right after a 49ers touchdown, we had a chance to get a field goal and still take our lead up to 17 points. At the time, we were still up by 14 points. We were very much in field goal range. Fourth down. So, why not take take the points? This wasn’t a desperate situation, at least yet. Nope. Not Dan. For absolutely no reason, he said to go for it. The Lions didn’t make it, and the 49ers took over in prime field position. The 49ers scored on the next drive. The momentum shifted at that moment, and it shifted quicky. The Lions would never get it back.

Then, there was also a point later in the fourth quarter that the Lions had a chance to kick a field goal to tie the game. It was a no-brainer. But, nope. Dan said to for for it. The Lions didn’t make it on fourth down, and that was the game. The 49ers won, 34-31.

I’ll never get it. Listen, I know Brock Purdy is religious, but I’m sure there were people praying on both sides.

Do I still think Dan Campbell is a good coach? Yes. Do I think he should learn from his mistakes? Yes.

The bottom line is that the Detroit Lions’ destiny was to go to the Super Bowl this year, and it didn’t happen. I’m still not over it. Can you tell? I won’t be over it for a while. Send chocolate, Hello Kitty stuffed animals and metal music, please. Reach out to me here.