Matt Stafford Mistakes Mar Overall Good Opener for the Detroit Lions

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2012

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 09:  Cortland Finnegan #31 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates with his teammates after intercepting a pass from Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions and running 31 yards for a touchdown during the season opener at Ford Field on September 9, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The good news is that the Lions won the game—on yet another fourth-quarter comeback behind quarterback Matt Stafford.

The bad news is that everything about the contest—including Stafford—was pretty ugly.

Mistakes and sloppy play marred the Lions' 27-23 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

We start with the interceptions. On all three, the Rams seemed to anticipate what the offense was doing and where Stafford was going.

Either Stafford was sloppy or the Rams had a real knack for guessing the Lions' plays—or both.

Regardless, he'll need to tighten it up for a far tougher matchup next week against the San Francisco 49ers. If the Rams defense was able to confuse Stafford, the Niners should give him fits.

For the Lions to have more success, Stafford needs to start quicker. Most of his problems came in the first half, and throughout the preseason the Lions offense started relatively slowly.

Maybe the early portion of this game was a continuation of the preseason malaise, but that has to be changed.

Titus Young's head-butt penalty was another in a long line of foolish incidents that has given this team a reputation for foolishness.

Overall, though, the Lions cut way down on their penalties, which is what they needed to do. Sure, Young's ridiculous head-butt will be what we talk about, but the Lions did a good job of corralling the overall penalties.

Defensively, this unit looked good. Don't let the score fool you, as one touchdown and a gang of field goals is exactly what you want—if Stafford makes fewer mistakes, then this game isn't close.

Corey Williams, Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley all had a sack, pressuring Sam Bradford all day long. 

That pressure will come in handy against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.


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