Running is a Key...
First and foremost I am and will remain a loyal Lions fan...I wanted (needed) this most recent win just as bad as everyone else in Detroit. Having said that, anyone who takes the time to revel in the Lions victory over the Rams without noticing the odor left behind, is clearly setting themselves up for a free fall into the Lions' litter box.
Like it or not, there remains a scent reminiscent of future defeat in Motown. Now I know that many of you Detroit readers will ask how a loyal Lions fan could be upset with this win? Why would I beat down a winning team effort?
If you take the time to examine what remains of this first big win, you can see the danger of putting too much credibility into it. In short, winning teams learn from examining every outcome—win or lose. The Lions need to learn from this feeble fake...
While it is hard to imagine, despite the epic proportions of the beating that the Lions seemingly put to the Rams, the Lions actually lost the statistical battle.
Fact: St. Louis finished with a lead in both first downs (23 to 20) and time of possession (33.16 minutes to 26.44 minutes). These are critical WIN factors in the NFL.
Fact: Jahvid Best (who will be a great back in the NFL) had yet another yawner of a game gaining a mere 67 yards on 18 carries for a 3.7 yards per carry average—a meager 0.3 yards better than the team average of 3.4. Truly great teams move the ball on the ground and the Lions apparently haven't figured that aspect of the NFL game out just yet.
Fact: While the passing game was superlative, our receivers continue to drop balls that should be (need to be by NFL standards) caught.
Fact: The Lions continue to fail in the red zone. Two of three is good—not great.
Fact: Penalties continue to be an issue with this Lions team. St. Louis erred on seven plays for 40 yards in penalties as Detroit lost this aspect of the battle as well with 11 penalties for 78 yards. This will be a killer in close games.
In short, this game simply made up for the fact that the Lions lost to Green Bay after winning the game statistically. Against St. Louis, we simply witnessed the reverse—the Lions won a game that they statistically lost to the Rams. Unfortunately, nine times out of 10 that will not be the case.
Yes, I remain committed to Jim Schwartz and his staff and I do see this team moving in a positive direction. However, I refuse to fall into believing that the Lions have found their stride.
The losing habits have to be erased and corrections need to be observed on the field of play week in and week out. Personally, I simply don't smell the sweet scent of victory in Motown just yet—how about you?