Detroit Lions Week 1: The Good and Bad Against Minnesota Vikings

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Detroit Lions Week 1: The Good and Bad Against Minnesota Vikings
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit had an impressive all-around day Sunday.

Detroit had plenty to talk about in their Week 1 victory over Minnesota: Ndamukong Suh’s boneheaded play, Calvin Johnson not being allowed to score touchdowns in season openers and the Lions offense and defense.

Their 34-24 win showed that their team was capable of overcoming mistakes and could play their game despite the errors.

Here are some of the positives and negatives from Detroit’s win Sunday.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Johnson once again was the victim of losing a Week 1 TD.

Calvin Johnson

Oh how my heart bleeds for Megatron.

Can he have one touchdown in Week 1 that isn’t called back? It happened against the Bears in 2010, and now against the Vikings.   

At least this time around it was a little more obvious that the ball came loose after Johnson hit the ground, but it’s hard not to feel bad for someone that continues to have Week 1 TDs taken away.

Aside from that mishap, Megatron’s hands were not too active. He came up with four catches for just 37 yards. While it may seem a little discouraging, this should be reassuring for Lions fans. Megatron carried the bulk of the offensive load in most games last season, and for them to come up with a 10-point win without him should be uplifting.

Detroit’s Offense

Of course, anyone who has paid attention to the Lions offense the past few years knows that they had potential. We saw some of that Sunday when they racked up 469 yards against the Vikings defense. The Vikings aren’t known for locking down any teams, but amassing almost 500 yards in the season opener was impressive regardless of who they played.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
The Lions compiled nearly 500 yards against Minnesota.

Matthew Stafford managed 357 yards in the air and two TDs. He looked solid most of the day with his passes being on target and hitting his receivers where they needed the ball.

His stats could have looked far better had a pass to his favorite target not been called incomplete.

Much of why Johnson could get away with having a subpar performance was the show put on by Lions running back Reggie Bush.

He was able to come up with 191 yards and a couple of TDs for his new team and allowed Detroit to spread the ball, just as expected.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Suh talks to Coach Schwartz after personal foul penalty.

Boneheaded Mistakes

The Lions’ newly appointed captain Ndamukong Suh said the team needed to cut the silly penalties.

Apparently, he was not included in that statement.

Suh is facing disciplinary actions after his unnecessary hit on Vikings’ center John Sullivan. The play not only resulted in a 15-yard penalty, but it rescinded a pick-six.

Luckily for Suh it did not cost his team the game, but it’s not a great way to start his season.

Outside of that personal foul, the Lions committed 10 penalties for 73 yards. That total needs to decline through the season to assure wins for Detroit.

Lions Defense

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
After Peterson had a huge play, Detroit played solid defensively.

At first, Detroit looked like they were up to their old ways when they gave up a huge play to Adrian Peterson on the Vikings' first play of the season.

Detroit’s defense was stingy after that burst.

After giving up those 78 yards, the Vikings compiled 252 yards for the remainder of the game. Peterson totaled 93 rushing yards and quarterback Christian Ponder had 236 through the air. The Lions did a good job of containing Minnesota’s offense after AP’s big play.

Rookie cornerback Darius Slay and linebacker DeAndre Levy looked impressive against the Vikings, combining for 11 tackles and an interception. Both men also played solid one-on-one defense against their counterparts throughout the day.

There is still room for improvement for the Lions on both sides of the ball, but this was a remarkable way to start the season. 

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