Lions vs Eagles: Detroit's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 6
Because what I saw out there was a team that played poorly enough to go behind early, mostly as a result of a plethora of self-inflicted penalties.
And then that same team cleaned it up in the fourth quarter and rallied in all three phases to pull out an improbable win.
This isn't a formula for consistent success by any means, but the Lions will take it on this day, as they improve to 2-3 in an overtime thriller.
But lots of things had to work to get the Lions to this point, and lots of things had to not work to get them down in the first place.
The Lions' season is still alive, but let's take a look at how they can keep it that way.
Winner: Louis Delmas
Welcome back, Louis Delmas.
It's been a while since Delmas was able to get out there and play like he's able to, but if the game he had today is any indication of what the Lions can get used to, we might be looking at a very different Lions defense than the one that played the first four games.
Delmas notched seven tackles, most of them at or behind the line of scrimmage, pulled down the Lions' first interception of the season and generally flew around the field all day.
Many have lost faith in Delmas in terms of his ability to stay healthy on the field, but today he reminded everyone (at least Lions fans) why they shouldn't lose faith in Delmas' ability to perform when he gets out there.
Loser: Matthew Stafford
Yes, Stafford led the Lions to a comeback win, and yes, Stafford threw for over 300 yards and had a touchdown passing and one rushing. Good times.
But Stafford is also the a big part of the reason the Lions were trailing and had only scored six points in the first three quarters.
Regardless of what his end stats say, Stafford is sailing passes, under-throwing guys and missing open receivers in the flat.
Sure, drops have played a part in Stafford's issues, but a much bigger part of it is just Stafford not putting the ball where he wants it. I'm not sure what his deal is, but the game he just had against the Eagles is unlikely to cut it next week against the Bears.
Winner: Defensive Line
Nothing helps a team's pass rush get well like a game against the Eagles' offensive line.
The Lions, unable to get pressure or penetration through much of the first four games, lived in the Eagles' backfield throughout this game.
But never did the Lions' pass rush come together like it did in the Eagles' overtime drive, when Cliff Avril and Nick Fairley combined for back-to-back sacks. Ndamukong Suh also batted down a pass in the Eagles' final offensive play of regulation.
But it's not just the pass rush the defensive line got right in this game. Eagles running backs (including LeSean McCoy) combined for 71 yards on 29 carries.
They forced the game into the hands of Vick, and then smacked him around. This is the kind of performance that keyed a nearly scoreless first half, and a pair of massive defensive stops in clutch time.
Loser: Titus Young
There aren't really any photos of Titus Young playing in this game.
Why is that? Simply put, he had one reception for six yards.
The biggest way Young impacted the game was by dropping a perfectly thrown pass down the field that could have resulted in a touchdown.
Young continues to struggle this season, and his strong training camp is a distant memory at this point.
Part of the reason the Lions' offense was supposed to be especially strong is the progression of Young providing the Lions with another deep receiving threat.
Right now, Young is more of a threat to the Lions' offense than opposing defenses.
Winner: Mikel Leshoure
Mikel Leshoure wasn't exceptional in this game, but he didn't need to be. Leshoure's role was to establish the run game as a threat, and he did that with 70 yards on 15 carries, for over four-and-a-half yards per carry.
Joique Bell played good football as well, but it was Leshoure who really established the run and made the play action more effective (funny how that works out).
Now, it looks like the Leshoure we saw at Tennessee is the one we can expect for the rest of the season.
Loser: The Coaching Staff
So the Lions won, and the special teams played well.
So Danny Crossman is maybe off the hot seat for a while.
But many of the problems the Lions were supposed to fix were still there in this game. Where was the offense before the fourth quarter? The third-down conversions?
Gunther Cunningham appears to have been the only coach who actually made some positive impact over the bye week, as the defense played its best game of the season (aside from some badly blown coverage on Jeremy Maclin).
Not only did the lingering problems remain after the bye week, but an old one resurfaced: penalties. The Lions took 16 flags for 132 yards, many of them in crucial moments.
I'm nowhere near where some are, suggesting that Jim Schwartz and company be fired midseason, but I can see that some of the mistakes being made come back to coaching. They don't need to be fired; they just need to do better.
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