Age is just a number. When it comes to performance in sports, it doesn't predict or guarantee anything, good or bad, old or young.
The same for experience. It doesn't prevent a veteran from making mistakes in the clutch.
And above all, neither does the Detroit Lions having a big lead in the opening game, or in any game on the schedule.
Those are among the things we learned in the Lions' dispiriting 27-23 loss to the Chicago Bears in the opening game of the 2020 season.
And of course, we've also learned what reaction to expect when the Lions squander a lead.
We start with age – old and young:
Old: Running back Adrian Peterson turned 35 on March 21. In 13 seasons, from his rookie year of 2007 through the 2019 season with the Washington Football Team, he had played 164 games and carried the ball 3,036 times.
When the Lions signed him last week to fill a void in their depth chart at running back, there were legitimate questions about whether Peterson could contribute anything at his age when most running backs are considered over the hill at 30.
All those games and carries certainly have taken some kind of toll on Peterson's skills.
But on Sunday against the Bears, Peterson showed that on a given day he cannot be judged by his age. A strong case can be made that Peterson was the Lions' best offensive player. He carried 14 times for 93 yards and had three receptions for 21 yards.
Beyond the statistics, Peterson brought energy and enthusiasm to the roster. There is no age limit on that.
Young: One of the qualities that made rookie D’Andre Swift one of the top-rated running backs in the 2020 draft was his ability as a receiver out of the backfield. He filled a need for skill and depth when the Lions drafted him with the third pick in the second round.
In his rookie debut, Swift was on the receiving end of a 16-yard pass from Matthew Stafford for what would have been the winning touchdown with six seconds left. Swift was squared up and in position to make what was little more than a routine catch.
Instead, the ball slipped out of Swift's hands as he turned to complete the catch while crossing the goal line.
It was a pure drop. There was no contact from the two Bears defenders who were solidly beaten on the play.
Because of the timing of the play – in the final minute – Swift has taken a lot of blame for the loss. That's no surprise.
We've learned that the later in the game that plays are made, the more they get magnified.
My take: Swift dropped a pass that could have won the game. The other 136 plays from scrimmage – 71 others on offense, 65 on defense – added up to have just as much impact on the final score.
Stafford's pick: Stafford had thrown 5,696 passes before throwing 42 more against the Bears in the opening game of his 12th season.
All those throws should have told him not to throw over the middle in double coverage late in the game with the Lions' holding a 23-20 lead in his own territory with less than three minutes left.
But Stafford did just that, apparently trying to rifle the ball to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. through two Bears defenders. The ball was deflected and intercepted by Kyle Fuller.
Two plays later, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hit Anthony Miller for the game-winning touchdown.
There was still one challenge left from the Lions, but the drive fell short on a dropped pass and the incompletion that followed it on the game's final play.
What we learned from Sunday is that there are no guarantees for age or experience, or from having a 17-point lead.
And we can also add one other thing that we learned: The Bears weren't safe after Miller's TD catch gave them a 27-23 lead.
The Bears survived because of a dropped pass in the end zone, not because they made a defensive play.