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The Detroit Lions feature one of the deeper cores of explosive talent on offense. However, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and Jim Schwartz far too often play the first half at a conservative tempo. They attempt to establish the run game and settle for chunk yard pass plays instead of playing their strength of stretching the field.
Example, receiver Calvin Johnson caught one pass in the first half for only six yards and was seldom targeted again until the second half. The Lions focused more on getting Mikel Leshoure his touches in the run game instead of sticking to their identity of spreading the ball around through the pass.
This style has left the Lions behind on the scoreboard playing catch up with their opponent. The Lions have been outscored 47-25 in the first halves of every game this season. Not a glaring statistic, but it's unacceptable with the Lions' weapons offensively.
The Lions made another puzzling decision of a quarterback sneak on their last play of the game with Shaun Hill. Schwartz said he was looking to draw the Titans offsides and call a timeout if that didn't work. That didn't seem to be the case with Hill's quick sneak.
Now, there's nothing wrong with going for it on fourth down with only a yard to go. But with so much emphasis on the run game early, why not go back to it at a critical moment in the game? Leshoure found plenty of success against the Titans, and backup Joique Bell was on a hot streak late in the game. If the Lions were to go for the first down, why not stick with the run game?
Schwartz and Linehan need to establish a sense of urgency early instead of playing from behind. The Lions defense gives up too many big plays and points to start conservative. Detroit must start fast to give itself a better chance of winning.