This is starting to sound like a broken record, but the Detroit Lions managed to shoot themselves in the foot once again. In a game that proved to be winnable, the Lions once again did everything they could to lose. The final score, 28-20, is about where I predicted it to be (in my preview I said 27-21), but the route they took to that score was completely unexpected.
The defense played well enough to win. They should have done a better job against the run, but the Giants can run on pretty much anybody. What killed the Lions were the usual issues, turnovers and penalties.
I know the Lions’ hopes ended on an interception, but Shaun Hill was his usual consistent self before he suffered a broken arm, and Drew Stanton did better than most third string quarterbacks would have done. That said, here is hoping No. 9 is behind center when the Lions return from their off week.
Injured, double covered, and still good was the best way to describe Calvin Johnson on Sunday. Despite limited practice and a painful shoulder, Johnson managed to have five receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. The only downside is he was targeted only seven times—that number should be closer to 10-12.
The ageless one was at it again; all he did on Sunday was knock in two 50-yard field goals. The real puzzle to me is why his kickoffs are not getting to the end zone. His field goals look like they would be good from 60 yards out, yet his kickoffs—from a tee—do not travel 70 yards.
Alphonso Smith is mired in a slump, as he has now gone a full game without an interception. Seriously, this guy is the best corner the Lions have right now. He has been especially good at swing passes and screens to his side of the field. Picking him up ranks as one of the top moves Martin Mayhew made this past offseason.
The Run Game
Until the Lions can run the ball they will have a hard time winning. This is the second time in three weeks the Lions’ leading rusher is the quarterback. This isn’t on the coaches, as the Lions tried to establish the run, but when your lead back can only manage 16 yards on 12 carries defenses are not going to respect the ground game.
The Lions, one of the top team in takeaways, lost the turnover battle in this game. Two of those, the Nate Burleson fumble and the Stanton interception, came at the most inopportune times. The Lions, being less talented than most teams, must win the turnover battle to have a chance.
How bad must Derrick Williams be that he can’t play ahead of Bryant Johnson? What is the point of a receiver that can’t catch? It is time to end this experiment, trotting out this loser week after week is an insult to the rest of the players and fans.
As many of you know, I am not a Cliff Avril fan. I know the guy is a good pass rusher, but how many times did the Giants run the ball successfully to his side of the field? Most offenses are right-handed, meaning they run to the right side of the field, a better run stuffer is needed on that side. I believe Avril should become a third-down pass rush specialist.
In what has now become a weekly tradition on the Monday Morning Quarterback, penalties once again occupy the ugly section. The most penalized team in the NFL lived up to its status, as the Lions committed 11 penalties for 91 yards. It is absolutely inexcusable for an NFL team to week after week make the same stupid dumb penalties. I am tired of hearing the Lions talk about it. Hey Lions, don’t talk, just stop committing stupid, junior high mistakes.
Misleading Stat of the Day:
Seven receptions for Brandon Pettigrew
Seven receptions sound nice, but Brandon Pettigrew was targeted 12 times. Add in a couple of drops, and it was another bad day at the office for the 20th overall pick of 2009.
Play of the Day
I wanted to put the Calvin Johnson touchdown as the play of the day, but I felt the most important play was the fumble recovery by Julian Peterson. It may go unnoticed by most, because when a team recovers its own fumble, fans normally forget. Julian Peterson may have been Johnny-on-the-spot after he recovered the Stefan Logan fumble, but it was still a huge play by someone who was otherwise non-existent in this game.
Quote of the Day
“Zack, it’s Grew, I gotcha, man” Brandon Pettigrew speaking to Zach Follett after he finally opened his eyes. While all the Lions were showing concern for Follett, two players stood out to me as the most concerned, Louis Delmas and Brandon Pettigrew. Although I have levied a lot of criticism Pettigrew’s way this season, I couldn’t help but feel love for the guy for wanting to take care of his teammate.
All fans across the league should be thankful for what looks like a full recovery for Zach Follett.
It sure was nice to see No. 9 in uniform. Shaun Hill was good, but now it’s your turn to be great, Matthew Stafford.
At the start of the season I expected the Lions to be 1-5 or 2-4 at this point, but how they have gotten here has me disappointed. They have played like a 4-2 team but have just one win to show for it.
Could the schedule have been any harder on the Lions?
I mentioned it before and I will mention it again: After every loss, the Lions claim they shot themselves in the foot. Okay, so how about you stop doing it? The penalties have gotten so bad that I now expect to see a flag every time the Lions make a big play.
The Lions once again lost on the road and now have a 24-game road losing streak. In four of the five loses they have had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win or tie and couldn’t get it done. Just one more sign of a team that doesn’t know how to win.
The battered Lions get to stay home next week to lick their wounds. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for Detroit’s gridiron heroes. With a slightly easier schedule, the return of Matthew Stafford, and six of ten games at home, the Lions look to be primed for a strong finish. The question is, can they do it?