How do put a real downer on Christmas
When the ancient Romans lost a battle, they would execute one in every 10 of their survivors to teach the remainder to fight harder next time. Hence the term "decimate".
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went way past one in ten in terms of defensive losses. Actually try about six in 11. Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, Quincy Black, Cody Grimm, Aqib Talib and Tanard Jackson.
Or to put it another way, imagine if the Super Bowl Buccaneer defense had lost Sapp, Brooks, Kelly, Lynch and Dexter Jackson. Think Jon Gruden is still holding the Vince Lombardi?
There was just no-one left to stop the Lions at the end of regulation and in overtime Sunday. The offense had done its bit with over 400 yards but had come up short when really necessary. And it was down to the defense to try and save it. But they couldn't as their gun had simply run out of bullets.
So next Sunday the Seattle Seahawks will come to town and Raheem will be emulating 10cc by loading up his gun with rubber bullets. Josh Freeman and his cast of rookies will need to go past the 500 yard mark to have a realistic chance of winning and keeping the playoff dream alive.
And it had all gone so well for the Bucs yesterday in games around the NFL. The Saints lost, the Giants lost, the Packers lost. A win at RayJay over Detroit and the Bucs are sitting in the playoff seat today.
But being realistic, do you honestly think they would have a chance on the road in either Philadelphia or Chicago, their likely destination as a No.6 seed? Can you imagine what King Fido and his Eagle offense would do to the Bucs if they can put 38 up on the Giants?
Naturally the haters on one alleged Buc fan board have been out in force. And I use the term "fan board" loosely as I swear most of the people there would prefer the Bucs to go 0-16 so they can carry on their vitriolic postings and abuse at anything pewter coloured.
Greg Olson is their favourite target and of course the offensive series that started at the Lion 1-yard line. And having spent three weeks abusing LeGarrette Blount for his short yardage failings, the haters were actually abusing the Bucs' offensive co-ordinator for NOT using him Sunday. Simply unreal.
Watch the game film from those two plays at the 1 and you will see the reason for failure. Rookie RG Derek Hardman. On first down, Josh Freeman had trips left and Kellen Winslow wide right and went for the quarterback draw. It worked on the two-point conversion in Washington last week so was well worth a shot this time round. No gain.
On second down, Earnest Graham had the hole over left tackle but Hardman was blown up and the Detroit penetration put an end to the play. Then came the penalties and hence only a fieldgoal when a touchdown was needed.
You could start on the interference calls, you can moan about the schemes, you can curse Calvin Johnson all you want. This one was down solely to the decimation that has hit the Buccaneer defense over the course of the season. After a season full of close calls and narrow escapes, this time Buc fans went to the well and came up empty.
You've been great, enjoy Jona Lewie.