I’ve read a lot of articles about the Lions game and most of them are very negative about the game. While it certainly wasn’t a shining moment on the season, I don’t think it was as negative as many writers are making it out to be. Maybe that’s what separates me from the big journos. I didn’t see the game as a negative. That being said, I certainly didn’t see it as a positive. It was more of a neutral. Despite the Lions going down 10 in the first 8 minutes, I was never really that nervous. In fact, I was quite calm. The Lions eventually scored 17 straight to take a 17-10 lead into the half, in part thanks to the Browns being the Browns in the most Browns way possible by qb sneaking at the 2-yard line with no timeouts and 10 seconds on the clock. Then, coming out of the half the Browns scored to even it up, then they scored again to go up 24-17. I still wasn’t worried and the next drive validated my Zen-like calmness by seeing Matthew Stafford lead the Lions on a 4 play, 75-yard, 93-second touchdown drive. From there, it was all over. The Browns would fail to score again and the Lions took home the dub.
Its very easy to sit here and say that the Lions didn’t deserve to win or to feel worse about this team after struggling with the Browns. To that I say, don’t overreact and look at the outside factors. For maybe the 6th or 7th time in my life, I did a little bit of research (scrolling through twitter) before forming my opinion. The Browns, being perpetually bad, have a lot of young talent that was drafted high in each round so they have a lot of ready-to-go athletes. The Browns were also coming off of a bye week and the Lions were playing on short rest. The amount of days off for both game planning and recovery are huge when talking about the success of a team on a week-to-week basis so it is no coincidence that the Browns played their best game after 2 weeks of planning and playing a team that played on the road just 6 days earlier. The final reason is that the NFL is a weird league and that “any given Sunday” is still around for a reason.
- Second Half Stafford: Did everything he needed to do to get the win. Didn’t turn the ball over and completed well over 60% of his passes. Not a whole lot to say about perfection.
- Secondary: Particularly Slay and Lawson. Big Play has been as advertised this entire year and for some reason opposing teams haven’t learned you just don’t throw at the guy. Lawson, while shaky early, certainly redeemed himself with the strip six in the second quarter. Lions have a sneaky good secondary. Lawson is playing better, Slay is a gawd and Quin ranks out as a top safety almost every week.
- Matt Prater: Another gawd, possibly a g.o.a.t.
- Golden Tate: He is possibly the most electric player on the field for the Lions. He can turn any catch into a huge play. My case in point, a screen pass he took 40 yards for a score to essentially ice the game. Tate should be getting more looks than what he already does simply because of his big play ability.
- Jamal Agnew: Had two really electric kick returns with one of them taken back by penalty. I would not be surprised in the slightest to see Agnew get more touches on the offensive side of the ball. He also may be the fastest human alive…if he is human. More to come on that next week! (That’s what we call a teaser folks)
- Sam Martin: It just doesn’t seem like he is punting the ball with the accuracy that he did last year. He has had seemingly easy opportunities to pin the opponent deep and flip the field but just hasn’t quite done it consistently yet. I have faith as long as he keeps Crespi blocked on twitter.
- First Half Stafford: What the hell man? You made it tough to defend you from 1 pm to about 2:30 pm. Wasn’t sharp at all and I still have no idea what happened on that interception.
- First Half Play Calling: So boring and dull. Throw the ball more! I understand that you have to run to keep the defense honest but running it on 1st and 2nd down is certainly not playing to your team’s strengths. That being said, the first time we run play action on first down in the Super Bowl is going to be sooooooooo sweet.
- Run Defense: Absolutely pitiful. 201 yards given up to the Browns is nothing short of embarrassing. The linebackers looked slow and had a tough time scraping off blocks while the absence of Ansah could be seen in the lack of outside contain.
- Caldwell Challenge: To his credit, he took blame. Absolutely awful awareness by not only Jim but also his entire replay staff. They had a lot of time to look at the play while they were measuring the spot. At least he didn’t John Fox it.
- Sense of Urgency: It was pathetic the way the team started on Sunday. It would be nice to see them come out and stomp a team.