Detroit is horrible. That's one reason.
Tennessee continued Detroit's miserable season by playing their style of football. They attempted just 19 passes as opposed to their 46 runs. The Lions ran for 292 yards as a team.
Chris Johnson and LenDale White proved their dominance, as both rushers gained over 100 yards. This isn't the first time this has happened; against the Kansas City Chiefs, both halfbacks recorded 100 yards rushing. The fact that they have done it twice, despite it being against two bad defenses, is remarkable.
They also combined to run for four touchdowns, with two a piece. On two of his first three carries, Johnson scored, including a 58-yard sprint in which Johnson elusively knifed through the Detroit secondary. Johnson finished the day with 16 carries and 125 yards.
White did not play much in the first half. However, he was the main rusher in the second half. He took more carries than Johnson, 23, and ran for 105 yards. The bruiser's longest run on the day was 25 yards.
As far as the rest of the team, Tennessee saw four players run for over 20 yards, and five players exceed 10 yards. On the very first play from scrimmage, Brandon Jones took a 28 yarder. Quinton Ganther also busted out for 22 yards in limited playing time. The other ten-yard run I was talking about? Kerry Collins, who some consider to be a slow, old man, ran for 12 yards down the right sideline, needing only two yards for a score.
On the passing end, there were two quarterbacks for the Titans. In addition to Collins, we got to see Vince Young play as well. Collins finished going 11-18 with 127 yards. While it wasn't a remarkable day for the quarterback, who needs one when your runners can go for 292 yards?
Young's lone pass in the game was complete, and was the longest of the game. His pass went 54 yards to fullback Ahmard Hall. Besides that, Young took two knees (and lost two yards) and handed the ball off to White and Ganther.
Hall led all receivers in total yards on the day. He caught one other pass for a loss of one, but the 54 yard strike pushed him into the receiving lead. Justin McCariens, Justin Gage, Alge Crumpler, and Johnson each had two receptions. McCariens finished with 43 yards, Gage 40, Crumpler caught for 22, and Johnson had nine.
Bo Scaife and Jones, generally the two leading receivers, were both limited to one catch, Scaife received for eight yards, while Jones caught for six yards. No receiver on the Titans received for a score. The offense only committed one turnover, a fumble by Collins. This was his first fumble all season, and just his fifth turnover all year.
Tennessee's defense was absolutely terrific. The team saw Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nick Harper return to full strength and start. Both had rather surprising comebacks. Harper lead the team in tackles with four, and Vanden Bosch had two tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery.
The defensive line was huge, and their outstanding play wasn't even from their starters. Kevin Vickerson, Dave Ball, and Jacob Ford, all second stringers, recorded one sack. Vickerson also forced a fumble, and Ball intercepted Daunte Culpepper, and brought it back 15 yards for a score.
Tony Brown had four tackles, leading the line. Jevon Kearse had two, and Albert Haynesworth only had one. It didn't matter though; all four of the defensive line members were putting pressure on Culpepper.
As far as linebackers went, Stephen Tulloch, the young middle linebacker, had four tackles, leading the others at his position again. I needed to see a big game from him, and that's exactly what I saw. Keith Bulluck also had three hits, and David Thornton two.
The secondary was definitely enhanced with the Harper-Chris Carr swap. Cortland Finnegan, who drew the tough task of playing Calvin Johnson, didn't give him much. Johnson had five receptions for 66 yards, which was by far the only threat to the Titans. Finnegan ended the day with three tackles.
Safeties Chris Hope and Michael Griffin each had just one tackle. Shaun McDonald had four receptions for 44 yards with Harper playing tight coverage on him.
Detroit's offense was hopeless. They racked up 154 yards, with only 23 on the ground. Kevin Smith, the rookie starter for the Lions, only had 22 yards on 12 carries. Aveion Cason contributed just one yard off of two carries.
In Detroit's passing game, Culpepper did all he could. He completed 13 out of 26 passes, and threw for 134 yards. He also scored on a two-yard touchdown toss to Michael Gaines, and completed an interception to Ball. He was benched for the Lions' last possession to see what back-up Drew Henson could do, which wasn't a whole lot. Henson fumbled twice, and completed one of two passes (both of which were rather high).
Besides Johnson and McDonald, no one else on offense did anything. Casey FitzSimmons, John Owens, John Standeford, Smith, and Gaines each had one catch. Detroit's offense had three total turnovers and nine punts.
If there was ANYTHING good for Detroit this Thanksgiving, it was that Jason Hanson, their starting kicker, hit his 40th career 50+ yard field goal, tying Mortan Anderson for the all-time lead. He also improved to seven for seven on field goals of 50 yards or more this season. He is looking like a Pro-Bowler, but will be the only representative from the Lions.
Stat of the Game
33. This is the number of tackles Tennessee's defense made.
Tennessee: Chris Johnson, 16 carries, 125 yards, two touchdowns
Detroit: Calvin Johnson, 5 receptions, 66 yards
Tennessee: LenDale White, 23 carries, 106 yards, two touchdowns
Detroit: Daunte Culpepper, 13-26 passing, 134 yards, one touchdown, one interception
Tennessee: Kyle Vanden Bosch, two tackles, one sack, one recovered fumble
Detroit: Cliff Avril, three tackles, one sack, one recovered fumble
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