Pat Caputo: Buy into the Lions at your own risk


How do you react when the Lions do win?

When their much-maligned defense intercepts three passes, Matthew Stafford is four-of-four on a game-winning drive and for once it was the other team that choked?

Do you do muscle arms and yell at the top of your lungs, “YEAHH, I told you Stafford is elite!!!"

Do you start extolling the virtues of general manager Bob Quinn because third overall draft pick Jeff Okudah intercepted a pass in the midst of being twisted like a pretzel most of the game by DeAndre Hopkins?

Do you suggest that it just took Matt Patricia awhile to change the Lions’ infamous losing culture?

Or do you look at it as if the Lions had lost their previous 11 games and were due to win sometime?

I think the Lions deserve credit for a victory Sunday, but I’m not so sure it is a sign of progress.

The Lions benefitted from the return of Kenny Golladay. His large catch radius was key to some of Stafford’s best throws. T.J. Hockenson has made good progress.

The defense is still disconcerting, though. The turnovers seemed to be more the product of Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray’s inexperience than the Lions’ brilliance.

We know Stafford can lead comebacks.

However, he needs to be more productive in the scoring zone. The Lions settle for too many field goals.

The Lions’ fan base undoubtedly will be torn this week. It may have been just one win, but the bar is low. There are those who will take this victory and run with it.

Host: “Let’s go to Line 1 and Seth from Southfield.”

Caller: “The Lions would be 2-1 if D’Andre Swift caught that pass vs. the Bears…”

It will be pointed out, accurately, the Vikings and Falcons are 0-3 and represent nearly a fourth of the Lions’ remaining schedule. Jacksonville looked terrible Thursday night. Drew Brees might be slowing down, negating the Saints. Do you fear the mess known as the Washington Football Team? Didn’t think so, nor should the Lions.

Yes, the schedule seems to set up in the Lions’ favor.

The Lions have been in favorable spots before, though. It’s not always been about being outright terrible, but just as much about seemingly making progress -- and then falling off the face of the Earth.

So pat the Lions on the back and say, “Nice win.”

Yet, this is fair warning about buying into this team.

It’s far from earned your trust.

Even while winning Sunday, there was too much represented about why the Lions had been losing.