Indianapolis Colts vs. Detroit Lions: Biggest Winners and Losers
The Detroit Lions continue to disappoint and come up short.
The Lions looked like they were on their way to another victory after playing a complete football game against the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was on target with his throws. Receiver Calvin Johnson terrorized the Colts secondary all day. Tackle Ndamukong Suh and the defensive line put plenty of heat on rookie Andrew Luck.
Detroit did everything it was supposed to do, except win. The last few drives resulted in the Lions squandering a lead and losing to the Indianapolis Colts, 35-33, on a last-second catch-and-run by receiver Donnie Avery.
When there's a will, there's a way. Unfortunately, that will has referred to losing with the Lions. For many games this season, Detroit has been finding ways to lose instead of win.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from this Week 13 matchup.
1. Winner, Don Carey
The revolving door of the Lions secondary continues to open and close. Safety Don Carey was a good filler and playmaker for Detroit's back seven.
Thanks to heavy pressure from the defensive line, Carey was able to take advantage of his opportunities. Andrew Luck threw three interceptions, and Carey managed to snag two. He also corralled seven tackles and provided much-needed assistance for safety Louis Delmas.
The Grand Rapids native isn't a star, but he helped provide a much-needed spark in the secondary. The Lions could use a consistent upgrade at safety, especially with Delmas entering free agency this offseason.
2. Winner, Calvin Johnson
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How good is Calvin Johnson?
From one-handed grabs to beating multiple defenders on jump balls, Megatron is one of the most rare talents in NFL history. Win or loss, it's quite a treat watching this once-in-a-lifetime player.
Johnson hauled in a career-high 13 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown. He tied an NFL record today with five straight 125-yard games.
Megatron leads the NFL with 1,428 yards and is in current pursuit of Jerry Rice's single-season yardage record. Rice's 1995 record of 1,848 yards is in serious jeopardy with the tear Johnson has been on. The Colts found out the hard way of the damage Johnson is capable of.
3. Loser, Blown Opportunities
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Detroit actually played a good game. The defensive line managed to get pressure on Luck all game and forced three Indianapolis turnovers. The Lions offensively were clicking on almost all cylinders.
The problem occurs when the defense doesn't take advantage of opportunities to seal the victory. Cornerback Drayton Florence and linebacker Justin Durant both dropped interceptions that could have helped change the tide of the game.
The Lions had plenty of "almost" sacks throughout the game. Luck was able to bounce off both defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on a second-half scramble.
Florence also had an interception in the second quarter that was almost returned for a touchdown. Detroit came up short after cornerback Jacob Lacey was called for an illegal block in the back on Luck during the return. The block helped Luck push Florence out of bounds, and it also pushed the Lions back 15 yards.
On the same series, Detroit wasn't able to capitalize and score a touchdown. They were forced to settle for a field goal, giving the Colts life.
Good teams bury their opponents on given opportunities. The Lions can't keep settling for three points if they want to win, especially given their talent on offense.
4. Loser, Coaching
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The Lions once again showed their lack of leadership against the Colts.
Elite teams can't cough up a fourth-quarter lead how Detroit did. After kicker Jason Hanson's fourth-quarter field goal, the Lions gave up a 33-21 lead with two-and-a-half minutes left.
On the Lions' last offensive series, head coach Jim Schwartz called a run play to Mikel Leshoure to burn the clock or get the first down. Leshoure only had a one-yard gain which gave the ball back to Indianapolis with about a minute left. The Lions crumbled and surrendered their victory.
Schwartz and his coaching staff has to step up as the leaders of this team. The Lions are young, inexperienced and don't have much sense of leadership. Coaches are supposed to fill that role and keep their teams in control.
It doesn't seem that Schwartz has gotten across to his players, as they are non-responsive on the field and stay in trouble. Considering all three coaches received contract extensions, it's unlikely they'll leave the Lions anytime soon. But it's urgent they evolve as generals of the Lions.