Down The Field: Week 14

BY: DALTON

Well, after a disappointing week last week where the Lions playoff hopes looked bleak and dreadful I have some good news. Folks, the Lions playoff chances are only bleak! The last second boot out of Prater, combined with Seattle losing, the Lions have boosted their chances to around 15%. Now for the bad news, Rodgers is set to return this coming week. If a few things break the Lions way (Seahawks lose 1 time and Atlanta loses twice) and the Lions win the next couple weeks, it could come down to one game between the Lions and Packers for a playoff spot. I am certainly not ready for that. I get physically sick thinking about Aaron Rodgers getting into the playoffs with a win in Detroit. Only way it could be worse is if Dean Blandino was some how involved.

The way that the Lions play, I feel like I have to scrap the Good, Bad, and Ugly section because too many times every player on the team goes through all three phases in one game. So instead, here are some things I saw from this week:

 

  • Aside from those two interceptions, Stafford looked pretty sharp. He will need to continue to play as sharp as he did (sans interceptions) for the Lions to run the table
  • Darius Slay can absolutely ball and if he gets left off of the Pro Bowl roster there will be hell to pay.
  • Quin looked good at safety. Forcing a fumble and an interception against a struggling Winston/Bucs offense isn’t exactly a perfect indicator of success, but Quin certainly could have done worse.
  • Offensive line did a nice job against a bad pass rush. While the Bucs have the worst rush in the league, this is the first time Stafford hasn’t been sacked since 2015. Always nice keep the Qb clean.
  • Theo Riddick should be the starting back from here on out. I would even be comfortable to make him the every down back next year if there isn’t a viable back in the draft or free agency.
  • Jim Caldwell seemed to open it up in the first half, only rushing 9 times. He also had a correct challenge on a critical play. Unless he wins a playoff game, I cant see him staying as the coach for more than the next season.
  • Refs continually get worse and I was 99% sure that the “defenseless receiver/fumble” play was going to go against the Lions but, as they say, any given Sunday.
  • I know the Bucs are bad so I wont get my hopes up too high. Especially considering the Lions will probably have to beat Rodgers in week 17 if they want a chance to get into the playoffs.
  • Jim Bob Cooter should recognize that we cant convert 3rd and 1s on the ground. He should be fined $1000 every time he calls a run on 3rd and short and should be fined an additional $5000 if he tries to use Zenner. Zenner should also be fined his entire salary for being on the team i.e. he should be cut.
  • A few thoughts from around the NFL
    • RIP Philly hopes/dreams
    • Fuck Aaron Rodgers
    • Browns are going to go 0-16 and I’m not pleased
    • Patriots are still good despite losing their 3rd game of the season in week 14
    • Jags could find a way into the AFC Championship
    • Chargers can play football and may be the hottest team going into the playoffs should they keep up this good play

DTF: State of the Lions Address

BY: DALTON

This blog wont so much be a recap as it is an address to the state of the Lions. They are at an interesting point in team history. Bob Quinn is in his second year as general manager and he has a lot to think about. As the season is slowly falling apart, not as slowly as their offensive starts, their playoff chances look slimmer by the week. In a stretch that should have been one of the easiest in the NFL, the Lions have started on the wrong foot. Shocker, I know. Dreams of winning the division have dropped almost as quickly as a pass from Stafford to Ebron and dreams of making the playoffs are looking like Golden Tate against Atlanta. As of today, the Lions are 2 games back from the last Wild Card spot and a game behind the Falcons who sit in the 7-spot and also hold the head to head tie breaker over the Lions.

While the Lions have yet to be mathematically eliminated, it’s the way that they have been losing games that is the most discouraging. The slow offensive starts, the defensive lapses, the recent special teams miscues; it is all horrible and all familiar. Watching the Lions play the Ravens on Sunday was deflating. The Lions couldn’t do anything correct in the first half. One of the more helpless feeling games that I’ve watched in a while and the Ravens really aren’t that good. Now, there was plenty of blame to go around but lets not focus on that game, lets look at the season.

Who have the Lions beat? The Cardinals, Giants, Vikings, Packers, Browns, and Bears. Of those teams, the Packers and Vikings are at .500 or above so its fair to say most of those teams are bad. Now look at who they have lost to, Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Steelers, Vikings, and Ravens. All of which are playoff teams. Now, maybe this is the team the Lions have been all year. Beat the bad teams and lose to the good teams. Their 6-6 record certainly would support that hypothesis. While the beginning of the schedule looked to be difficult, it turned out to be quite easy. What I’m getting at is that the Lions are not a fraud team, the 3-1 start just looked better than what it was because of preconceived notions on who was good in the NFL.

I have been known as a Caldwell defender. I thought that his stoic presence was good for the locker room and he brought a very poised approach to the game. But, after witnessing the last 4 weeks of football and hearing him take the blame himself, I think it is time to let Jim Caldwell go. Now, Im not saying fire him this instant. Never a good look to fire the coach in the middle of a playoff race, but the name of the game is winning Super Bowls and it doesn’t look like Caldwell is the coach that will be able to get this team over the hump.

Looking at how the NFL season has shook out thus far, I think it is fair to say the Lions are who we thought they were at the beginning of the season. They are an average NFL team who will win the games they should and lose the games they should. While it is entirely possible for the Lions to win out and a few losses to go their way and sneak into the playoffs, but for the future of this team, it may be best if they miss the playoffs, get a better draft pick, and find a new coach.

 

 

DTF: Week 11

BY: DALTON

If I were lazier than I actually am, I would just copy and paste last weeks recap and throw it up here but I love you. All of you. Honestly! Ok, well maybe not all of you, but I still appreciate you reading the blog and you can take that to the bank (new catch phrase?)! Games like these are nice that they won, believe me, but when they come out back to back weeks against inferior opponents and look so flat it is tough to have much hope. Maybe the worst part of all of this, if they win on Thanksgiving on Thursday then my expectations will be sky high once again only to end in wretched heartbreak. But, until that day comes, here is this weeks good, bad, and ugly.

 

THE GOOD:

  • Matthew Stafford: While coming out slow, Stafford had a perfect second quarter on his way to a 299 yard, 2 touchdown, and 0 interception performance while leading the Lions to a game winning drive and taking up most of the clock. Wasn’t his sharpest performance from start to finish and his pocket presence looked shaky but he made a lot of nice deep passes including a 30-yard strike down the sideline to Marvin Jones.
  • The Secondary: Aside from a potential game clinching interception that Slay shockingly couldn’t hold on to, they played a good game. DJ Hayden made the play of the game when he picked up a miss-handled snap for a touchdown. Most of the passing success for the Bears came against linebackers so the secondary gets maybe the best “good” of the bunch
  • Matt Prater: Before the Lions signed Prater, they worked out him, Jay Feely, and Connor Barth. Judging on Sunday’s game, they made the correct choice. I know I say it almost every week, but Prater has been one of the best free agent signings this franchise has ever had. If he continues this pace of clutch kicking, he could rival Han$on as the best kicker in franchise history.

 

THE BAD:

  • Flatness: 2 weeks in a row they fell behind 10 points to inferior opponents. Caldwell needs to get the boys to come out hot on Thursday.
  • Offensive Line: For having the offensive line fully healthy for the first time, they left a lot to be desired. Didn’t open any holes for the run game and allowed a lot of pressure any time Stafford took a 3-step or more drop.

 

THE UGLY:

  • Run Defense: Puke
  • Run Offense: More Puke?

 

Football Rooting Guide

BY: DALTON

Considering all of the football teams in the State of Michigan do not control their own destiny, here is a nifty little rooting guide for each team in the order of importance. NOTE: I do not think Michigan or Michigan State can reach the CFB Playoffs so I only included Big Ten scenarios.

 

MICHIGAN STATE:

  • Illinois > Ohio State: Ohio State needs another loss for MSU to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship game
  • Nebraska > Penn State: Clear up the race a little bit
  • Wisconsin > Michigan: Would completely knock Michigan out of the running for a bid to the Big Ten Championship game

 

MICHIGAN:

  • Maryland > Michigan State
  • Nebraska > Penn State
  • Illinois > Ohio State: This one is strictly for rivalry purposes. For Michigan to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship game, losses to MSU and PSU are the only important ones this week.

 

LIONS:

  • Rams > Vikings: If Lions can get within one game of the division this week, they will have a chance at a season sweep of the Vikings and sole possession of the NFC North on Thanksgiving
  • Ravens > Packers: Still a little far out to look at the Wild Card so a loss to the Packers to drop them even further in the division would be nice.
  • Seahawks > Falcons: I struggled with this one because both teams are ahead of the Lions in the WC race, but considering the Falcons hold the head to head tie breaker, the quicker they drop, the better
  • Saints > Redskins: Need the Saints to run away with the NFC South because, once again, they hold the head to head tie breaker and would oust the Lions for a WC spot.
  • Jets > Panthers: Panthers are ahead of the Lions in the WC and, tell me if you’ve heard this before, they hold the head to head tie breaker.
  • Eagles > Cowboys: The Boys are a spot behind us in the WC Standings.

 

DTF Week 10

BY:DALTON

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.

 

 

The Good:

  • 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)

The Bad:

  • 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.

 

The Ugly:

  • 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.

DTF: WEEK 9

BY: DALTON

I hate to admit when I’m wrong, but I was wrong. Giving Matthew Stafford that money was the wrong move. He has yet to show me what Bob Quinn supposedly saw in him over his previous 8 years in the league. Last night, Stafford put up one of the all time stinker performances in NFL history, nay, sports history. He was 26/33, 2 tds, 0 int, 361 yrds, and a passer rating of 132.4. Please excuse me while I go puke into a bag that was already filled with my shattered hopes and/or dreams for this team. Seven incompletions folks, SEVEN. If Stafford doesn’t come out and explain himself today for those 7 incomplete passes then I would have no problem if the Lions flat out cut him today. Also, saw a stat that last night Stafford had the second highest passer rating of a visiting qb in Lambeau Field. If Stafford was “good” why didn’t he have the number one rating? Need the Stafford supporters to answer that one. They cant! In fact, he’s been trash this whole season. He’s averaging 276 passing yards at a 62% completion rate per game and has a 3.5/1 touchdown to interception ratio. Garbage can emojis for days. Also, the 6th fastest player to reach 200 career passing touchdowns. What other bums are on that list? Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady. Exactly what I thought, is that a record list or the list of starting qbs in Cleveland. Would hate to be in that company. Also, I have to add that Stafford did this against a defense that doesn’t have Aaron Rodgers. Pretty much throwing against second graders, if you ask me. So while the blindly faithful will continue to push the narrative that Stafford is, in fact, a good quarterback, I will not buy into these crackpot theories. Now, I am going to throw on my finest Hill/Stanton/Culpepper/Orlovsky/Kitna/Garcia/Harrington/Batch/Detmer/McMahon/Frerotte/Mitchell/ Krieg/Peete/Kramer/Ware/Hipple jersey and comment on the Internet about how Matthew Stafford is actually a bottom 5 qb in the NFL.

 

The Good

  • Matthew Stafford: Just read the opposite of everything written above
  • Coaching: Give credit to this coaching staff for coming out with a definitive game plan to go out and beat a Packers team without Rodgers. The Lions came out and played with poise and urgency, knowing full well that the season was on the line. The team also played a very clean game, unlike the week before and I cant help but credit Caldwell for the change in discipline.
  • Darius Slay: You just don’t pass at the guy. He probably got away with a few PIs but that’s what elite corners do, they get calls. Nice to see him finally reach the ranks of the Seattle secondary.
  • Brian Mihalik: The whole offensive line looked good in pass protection but special shout out to Mihalik who played quite well for a 3rd string LT. The coaching staff may think about giving Decker an extra week to prepare considering that Mihalik played well and that the Browns are coming to town next week.

 

The Bad

  • Opening drive defense: Yes, they blocked the field goal attempt but it seems like every teams first drive ends with some type of points. Really the only beef I had with the Lions defense on Monday night.

 

The Ugly

  • Red Zone Offense: Once again, very bad. Abdullah finally got a carry in the RZ and scored and everyone thought it was the answer. We learned within the game that it is not the answer. Honestly, I think our line just sucks at power blocking (evidence: Run Game). So when it gets down to the goal line, the Lions need to get creative. Now, I am still a fan of the qb sneak from inside the 1-yard line, but inside the 5, the Lions should spread it out. They just line up in power formations and run the ball right at the teeth of the defense, which is fine if you have that type of team, but the Lions do not. Spread out the defense and if you want to run it then fine, but just show a little more imagination with your plays instead of running inside the tackles 3 straight times for -1 yard.
  • Ameer Abdullah: Cant have fumbles.
  • Sam Martin: Had exactly ZERO punting yards on the day.

 

 

P.S. Last night just furthered my father’s theory more that refs bet on games. With the game out of hand, the refs called a PI in the end zone giving the Packers one untimed play from the 1-yard line. The Packers scored a touchdown making the combined score 47. The over/under was set at 42.5 points. It would be different if it was either a close game or it was an egregious PI but it was neither, leaving only one plausible explanation.

Down The Field: Week 8

BY: DALTON

I think this was the first truly “Lions” game of the year. A game where both teams wanted to lose the game through poor play and blunders and the Lions out lost the Steelers in the end. There are a lot of moments where you can point to where the game went on the skids. The 97-yard touchdown on 3rd and 9, the inability to convert on 7 plays inside the 10-yard line, or even when Golden Tate inexplicably dropped the ball after a long reception. But, the real moment when this game was lost was in the 3rd quarter, the Lions had the ball 2nd and goal from the Half Yard line and they couldn’t punch it in. I’ve noticed this trend around the league so I must pose the question here, is the QB sneak illegal? I saw a stat today that the Lions are 4-12 on 3/4th and 1 situations. That’s absolutely sickening. So, ignore the fact that the Lions lost a yard and had an incompletion on 2nd and 3rd down. Now, with the score being 13-12 Steelers, the Lions elect to go for it on 4th down. I will acknowledge that it is tough to not go for it at that point in time but, one thing that my father emphasized while I was watching football growing up was, “Always take the points when you can get them”. When you pass on points in the NFL, you always end up chasing them in the end and that is exactly what happened to the Lions on Sunday night. Had they kicked that field goal in the 3rd quarter, they would have only needed 3 points to win the game and the Lions were in Prater territory for, what seemed like, most of the 4th quarter. Folks, I can’t be eating this poorly and have the Lions be this bad at the same time. One of those things will have to change or there may be an abrupt end to the “Down The Field” recaps. And, since I am baking a huge batch of chili while writing this article, lets hope, for both our sakes that the Lions play really picks up.

 

Dalton’s Joke of the Day:

How are the Lions and I alike? We both cant score in the red zone!

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.55.18 PM.png

The Good:

  • Not-Red-Zone Offense: Outside of the Red Zone, the Lions moved the ball very well. I’ll talk more about the offensive woes later. That right there is an old journalist’s trick to keep people reading.
  • Darius Slay: He absolutely locked up Antonio Brown for the entire game (5 rec/70 yrds). What few receptions he had, he was tackled immediately. The defense played a good game but Slay needs special recognition.
  • Defense: Besides the lapse on the 97-yard touchdown, the defense played a very solid game. Yea, they caught a few lucky breaks with some drops from the Steelers WRs but
  • Matt Prater: Made all his kicks and for a while he was in Rob Bironas territory for most field goals made in a game (8).

The Bad:

  • Defensive Line: No sacks and minimal pressure on Big Ben (too lazy to look up how to spell his last name by here is my best try) Roethlisberger. Cant drop them into the ugly though because they did a good job with the run game and was part of a defense that really only gave up one big play.
  • Sam Martin: Shanked a punt horrendously. That will get ya put in the “Bad”. But it was his first week back and besides that one punt, did a nice job with punting and kick off duties.

The Ugly:

  • Coaching: TAKE THE DAMN POINTS. I cannot stress how much it pisses me off when teams I root for leave points on the field. One of my biggest pet peeves in football/life. Not taking that field goal came back to haunt us in the 4th. Also, how do we not have a play to score from inside the 10-yard line?
  • Red-Zone Offense: What a lead in from the last bullet point. This is some of the worst execution in the red zone I’ve ever seen and I’ve been watching Michigan football where our only red zone plays are fade routes and run over left tackle.

 

 

 

Silver lining, because what kind of a Lions fan would I be if I weren’t hopefully optimistic and pessimistic at the same time, the schedule gets a lot easier. I can wait to write the week 12 recap and I am 1000% back in on the Lions, only to end in heartbreak.

 

 

P.S. I decided to add in some Halloween flavor to this blog, that’s why I held it off till Tuesday. I decided to do a deep dive on Bobby “Boris” Pickett, the creator of the “Monster Mash”. While looking at his discography, this man only made Halloween themed singles. What a lucrative career! He passed away a few years ago, but he died with $1.2 million in the bank. This mans slick a millionaire off of one famous Halloween song. I guess it kind of makes sense? He kind of cornered the market on Halloween music. Everyone is out here trying to get in on the Christmas music scene, but Ole Boris is going 150 mph in his own lane. RIPIP Bobby Pickett. For your listening pleasure, here is THE Monster Mash, smash that play/replay button all day:

Friday Football Preview 10/27

Michigan State @ Northwestern, 3:30 pm, ESPN: MSU sits atop the Big Ten East and look to stay there this week. Sparty is finding ways to win football games with young players and I think most people will say the start to this year has been a surprise. This week they should win over the Wildcats, but don’t expect a blowout. NW seems to play with some pride at home. Sparty has better talent and better coached but playing on the road is always tougher than playing at home (duh). Only way MSU loses this one is if they shoot themselves in the foot with multiple turn overs. PREDICTION: MSU 24- NW 10

 

Rutgers @ Michigan, 12 noon, BTN: Well, here we are folks, the battle for 4th place in the Big Ten East. Jesus christ, just win this game Michigan. For my and my father’s health. Michigan should come out and play with a little bit of pride after being spanked last week against Penn State. If you’re a gambler, take Rutgers +24. I think Michigan wins, but they certainly won’t put up 24 points. PREDICTION: UM 17- Rutgers 7

 

Pittsburgh @ Detroit, 8:30 pm, NBC: Caldwell is 15-8 for the rest of the season after bye weeks. The Lions are getting healthy, but without Decker, that offensive line remains suspect. The Steelers are soft against the run and #1 against the pass. The Lions could get something going on the ground and Im going to go ahead and say that Abdullah hits the 100 yard mark this week. I have a sneaky feeling that the Lions are going to sell out on the run defensively so a lot of pressure will be put on the secondary, specifically Slay. If the Lions defense can force 1 turnover and not be on the field for more than 30 minutes, the Lions win this game. I don’t think they can do that though and they are running into a hot Steelers team. PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 24- Detroit 17

Down The Field: Week 6

BY: DALTON

It was a rollercoaster game this week, folks. What is it called? Stafford’s Law? Anything that can go wrong but will lead to an interesting 4th quarter will go wrong? It’s something like that. I’m not sure; I’ve been out of school for a little bit. On a somewhat similar note, if you know someone hiring, I need a job. Back to football. I hated this game. I hated it with every fiber of my being. The Lions came out and played maybe the worst 3 quarters of football I’ve ever seen from them. They were down 35 points towards the end of the 3rd. It was painful. Anyone who watched the entire game up to that point is an idiot, myself included. If you have a resemblance of a life, you should have turned the game off at half time and did something nice. Go play golf or see a movie or fold some clothes, just go do something else. I was watching because I am a self-hating loser and wanted to see how bad it was going to get. Oh boy, was in for a treat. Somewhere between being laughed at by millions of viewers and me tweeting about how we should pull the starters, the vacuum fired up. Its been stored away in some deep dark closet since last year and Satan himself fired it back up and had me sucked in for a second or two. And folks, what a sucking it was (sex joke). With 5 minutes and 99 yards to get a score to tie, I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what type of magic Stafford had in his beaten and bruised body. Second play of that drive a pass was deflected at the line, for the 12th time that day, and caught in the end zone for another defensive score. What little hope I had, was dashed less than 1 minute into the potential tying drive.

 

Games like this are why I hate the Detroit Lions. Play like absolute garbage for most of the game and then turn it on for a furious 10 minutes. If you hooked me up to a heart rate monitor it would look like that of Orenthal James’ during that crazy little case in the 90s. Its Sunday, the Lord’s day, and I’m breaking a sweat just sitting on the couch and stuffing my face with a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken pizza from Dominos. Let me tell you one-thing folks, that’s one damn good pizza too. Everything from the crust to the sauce to the toppings, just a fabulous pizza through and through. And, did you know that Dominos has great everyday offers such as $5.99 each for two or more items on the menu? How about the Piece of the Pie ™ rewards program where every purchase you make puts you one step closer to earning free pizza? Dominos send me free stuff.

 

THE GOOD:

  • Stick-to-it-iveness: That’s about all that was good that came out of this game. The Lions never gave up and that says a lot about the character of this team. I’m not sure it says much about their talent, but, oh boy, they have character in spades

 

THE BAD:

  • Defense: Was the defense in this game good? No, that’s why they are in the bad section. Was the defense in this game ugly? No, that’s why they are in the bad section. In fact, they may be closer to the good section than the bad section. The offense gave up 21 points. That’s right, the Saints scored 21 points via their defense. So take 21 off the board and the fact that the offense was so shitty it gave the Saints a short field a lot of the time. The defense also forced 3 turnovers. Hell, I may just talk myself into moving the defense into the good section. But, they never got pressure when they needed too and in the first half the Saints’ run game could not be stopped. Ted Ginn torched our secondary, in 2017. Just too many bad things happened in this game to see any positives. Shout out to A’Shawn Robinson though, I thought he played really well filling in for Ngata.
  • Special Teams: Agnew had the punt return touchdown that was absolutely electric, but he also muffed the ball that put the Lions’ on the 1-yard line, which led to a tipped ball pick-6. Prater missed a 56-yard field goal. Jeff Locke didn’t punt great either.

 

THE UGLY:

  • Matthew Stafford: First awful game of the new Stafford contract. He couldn’t gain any rhythm, wasn’t making the throws that he usually/needs to makes, and had 12 balls tipped down at the line. How is it possible to get 12 balls knocked down? I’ve never seen anything like it. He threw too many interceptions and had horrible ball security. Matthew needs to have better pocket presence when his offensive line is that bad. I’m not sure how much of it is play calling or if he is hurt, but until someone says something, the blame goes on the QB.
  • Jim Caldwell: Just an absolute joke of a game plan. He was thoroughly out-coached by Sean Payton in the first half. The offense, in close games, is a joke. I know JBC is in charge but Caldwell needs to get on his ass. I respect Caldwell’s calm demeanor but the Lions can’t keep coming out flat like they have been. Come game time, he has to light a fire under their asses.
  • Injuries: Injury Report- Everyone. Bye week couldn’t have came at a better time
  • Me: I’m 23 years old, live in a basement, sleep on an air mattress, use a shampoo made for horses, unemployed, and root for shitty offenses in football. If you have Dalton stock (NYSE: DTN) then I would sell. Its low and it may be a while before it comes back up.

 

 

P.S.- With Halloween around the corner, let me establish that Easter is the KING of candy holidays. I’m not talking about pure mass of candy, that is obviously Halloween, but the specialty candy that comes out is much better at Easter. There are Peeps (a lot of people hate them but I love them), jelly beans (Starburst brand are the best and I wont hear otherwise, and the King of Kings, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg. If you disagree, @ me and I will drag you on twitter. Loser.

DTF: Week 4/Dean Blandino has Egg on His Face

BY:DALTON

What a boring game. It was legit 3 hours of me sitting on the couch, alone, scrolling on twitter while occasionally watching the game. No excitement, ever. This is not the Lions team I have grew on the past season and 3 games. Where was the 4th quarter come back? The late game heroics? Matt Stafford needs to understand that people are there to be entertained! Have you no shame Matthew?

But, in all seriousness folks, this was a good team win for the Lions. They went on the road, against a team that many pundits agreed was playoff bound and got the win. Did Dalvin Cook get hurt midway through the game? Yes, but even before he went out of the game, the defense was looking much better than last week. They somehow keep forcing turnovers and when you pair that with Stafford and the offense not turning the ball over, the Lions will win some football games.

This was probably the least engaged I was in a game for a number of reasons. 1. Wasn’t an exciting game 2.Was battling some mean indigestion from wings and pizza 3.Twitter was randomly popping off on non-NFL stuff and it was just too good to ignore.

 

The Good:

  • Anthony Zettel- The pride of West Branch, Mi. is making a huge impact on the defensive line when they have needed it most. He added 2 sacks to his name on Sunday and the biggest sack of the season on 3rd and Goal from the 3-yard line. For my money, he is the Lions most improved player this season based on production and necessity.
  • Defense- Just causing turnovers and getting stops like it was their job. Banged up on defense, with the injuries to Da…………STOP THE PRESSES

STOP THE DAMN PRESSES

Look at this shit that enemy of the blog Dean Blandino put out:

 

I got to him. He’s so fucking shook its unreal. He says he likes “Vernons” ginger ale. Get the fuck outta here you bum. If you are going to try to extend an olive branch you should at least try to get your names right. We Lions fans are a proud people. Detroit is a blue-collar city that represents the entire state. I don’t have to explain that to Lions fans but I do have to explain it to you. You’re the opposite of blue-collar, but you’re not white-collar. You, you are special Dean. You piss off people of all working back grounds. No one likes you except Jerry Jones and his boy.

I am so far in your damn head. Could you imagine Goodell making an apology video to the Pats? You’ve fucked over the Lions so hard then when the heat comes on, you want to get out of the kitchen. Now, you want to break bread with us. As if the horrible officiating never happened. Why didn’t you make an apology to the entire league? Oh, because you only seem to screw over the Lions.

Good readers of the blog, this not only a win for me, it’s a win for us. In all serious, I feel like I have a legitimate part in this apology. By the way Dean, fuck you’re apology. We say no more. Detroit vs Everybody

 

UPDATE:

Weekend Football Preview

BY: DALTON

Michigan- Bye week

 

Iowa @ Michigan State, 4 pm, FOX: Woof, not a great showing for the boys in green last week. Also, not a great week for the Hawkeyes either. But, it was a tale of two different stories. Michigan State flat out laid an egg on their home field vs ND. The Spartans couldn’t do anything right. Iowa, on the other hand, had a chance at knocking off Big Ten favorite Penn State and did what Iowa football does best, disappoint. Both teams coming off disappointing losses, so it comes down to coaching. Ferentz vs Dantonio, just what everyone wants. Given that State is at home and has the better coach, I’m going to have to give the edge to State. But, I’m picking Iowa because college football is weird and doesn’t make sense. PREDICTION: Iowa 21- MSU 17

 

Lions @ Vikings, 1 pm, FOX: After last weeks tough loss to Atlanta, Detroit is looking to bounce back as they go on the road to take on the Vikings in their first divisional game of the year. I know I keep saying this, but how the Lions play this week will be very telling. The Lions can come out and play with a chip on their shoulder from last week or they can come out and still be lamenting over the loss. Great teams play with a chip on their shoulder. Minnesota is a good team this year. Solid defense and some real weapons at the skills positions. Not going to be an easy test for Detroit. Good news? Case Keenum is due to regress to being Case Keenum after having a stellar week last week against the Bucs. If the defense can force 2 turnovers, the Lions win this game.                      PREDICTION: Lions 27- Vikings 14

Mail Bag 9/28

BY: DALTON

Thank you for all the questions! Lets get into it:

 

Morris from Southfield, Mi: “Do you think the Lion’s secondary has recovered from the trauma of the last time they faced the mighty Case Keenum?”

For all those who don’t remember, Keenum was the QB for the Rams last year and had maybe the best game of that season against the Lions. He threw for 321 yards on 27 for 32 passing attempts and 3 touchdowns. HOF worthy performance. Now to the question, I think the Lions’ secondary was transformed by that performance. Initially they were traumatized: not sleeping, screaming helplessly, etc. But they must have seen a sports therapist over the summer because this unit has been causing turnovers at a high rate (7 on the season) and I expect them to do the same this time around against Keenum and Co.

 

Jake from Grand Rapids, Mi: “Will the Lions be able to stop Dalvin Cook any more than the pitiful run D we had against Atlanta. Jerrod Davis going to be back, hopefully???”

First off, great use of the triple question mark. No injury this year has been more deserving of the triple qm. I did not expect Davis being absent to be so apparent. It seemed like the Falcons’ backfield could get 15 yards whenever they wanted. That being said, I don’t think that Minnesota will have as potent as a running attack because Cook isn’t as fast as Freeman or Coleman and with Davis out the defense looked slow, so a more powerful back plays better into an injured Lions defense. As for Davis, he returned to practice on Wednesday. He is still listed as questionable but I would say he is a little more than 50% chance likely to play.

 

Andrew from Grand Rapids, Mi: “ What do you think the team should do with Ebron? He doesn’t seem to be improving at catching passes when it matters. Cut? Trade? Bench?”

            To correct you Andrew, Ebron hasn’t improved on catching passes at all, whether they matter or not. I am officially done with Ebron. Now is cutting him a good idea? Not really because a team with its window currently open shouldn’t have any dead cap space. Trade? Who wants him? A trade would be ideal, even if it were for a used washing machine ala Ed Monix style. Bench? Benching him isn’t the best option because it takes away a perceived offensive weapon. Even if we fans know he isn’t any good, don’t tell other teams. The best option is probably to just reduce his role. Don’t even give Stafford the option of throwing to him in crunch time. So, a semi-benching.

 

Christian/Mike from around the United States: It was something along the lines of why do the Lions always get screwed?           

Mike proposed that it was due to the spite from some sort of pigskin deity. Christian chalks it up to some poorly thought out rules. I say it’s a combination of both. Not only does it take some very poorly made rules (thanks Dean) but it takes some sort of divine intervention for the Lions to always expose those rules. This is where Caldwell and Martha Firestone-Ford need to speak up. They need to express their frustration with the NFL because until they do, the NFL won’t do anything to address these dumb ass rules.

 

Tom from Deer Run Retirement Facility:” Which Lion do you identify the most with? My thought would be the 2nd tight end or a fullback?”

            If I had to choose one Lion, it would obviously be Greg Robinson. Not really wanted by anyone, consistently performing below expectations that are already low, and only used because the better option physically couldn’t do their job. Thanks for reading Tom!

 

Tim from Prescott, Mi: “What happened to the blog called Double coverage you wrote last year? Did you and the co-author have a falling out?”

            To be blunt, we did. And oh boy, it was messy. Lawyers, court, crying, saying things I wish I could take back. I cant really go into much more with out consulting my legal team. Just want to let the readers out there know that, despite what happened, Tim will always have a position here at joshbobdotcom.com and in my heart.

 

Eli from Cleveland, Oh: “What are the 5 best Pitino fired-related tweets/comments you’ve seen?”

Great question Eli! Really anything that has to with him ejaculating prematurely. There have been a lot of good ones.

DTF: Week 3 Recap

BY: DALTON

I want to say Same Old Lions so, so bad. It was a game the Lions should have won, but fate got in the way. I don’t want say fate though, fate has an implication that something positive will happen. What is the term for “negative” fate? Inevitability? It was inevitable that when the play went into review that not only was the Golden Tate touchdown, with 8 seconds left, getting called back, but some other divine happening was going keep the Lions from winning the game. Divine intervention happened once again. Its name? Dean Blandino. For the new readers, one of my life goals is to be banned by Dean Blandino on twitter. I think he is the most crooked, sly, lie-to-your-face, awful-at-his-job man alive. Back to football, a 10-second run-off was issued because the clock was under 2 minutes and the Lions did not have a time out left. Game over. Go home Detroit fans, thanks for the money! **somewhere in an undisclosed Texas location, Dean Blandino and Rodger Goodell are yucking it up just thinking about how they screwed the Lions again**

 

Before I get into the good, bad, and ugly of the game, let me say this about the 10-second run-off rule. It was applied correctly in this situation, but it is a god-awful rule. It essentially said, the refs messed up the call on the field, the refs corrected the call on the field, and you get screwed. IN WHAT WORLD DOES THAT RULE MAKE SENSE?!?! Once again, this rule will be revised in the offseason because the Lions were the beta test team for the NFL rules committee.

 

THE GOOD

  • Darius Slay and Glover Quinn: They seemed to be the only people on the defense who wanted to make plays. Slay had two interceptions and Quinn had a huge interception return for a touchdown right before halftime. I’m glad to see Big Play Slay shut down Julio Jones, who had 7 receptions for 91 yards, but it was a quiet 91 yards.
  • The Crowd: It sounded l-o-u-d in Ford Field. The crowd did their job and forced multiple offside penalties. Ford Field has a sneaky home field advantage.
  • Matt “DA GAWD” Prater: $$ **ka-ching noise** $$$ **cash register noise** $$$

 

THE BAD

  • Matthew Stafford: He didn’t play horrible, but when Slay intercepted his second pass of the day, he absolutely needed to capitalize and get some type of score. Even if they muster up a field goal on that drive, they win. He played well and showed nice touch on the ball all game, something that he didn’t have earlier in his career.
  • The Defense: Did they only force one punt all day? Yea, but they forced three turnovers and had a score when the Lions needed it most. Couldn’t stop the run and it seemed like Atlanta could get 8-12 yards whenever they needed it. I didn’t think missing Jarrad Davis would have that big of an impact, but apparently it did. The Lions need him to get healthy, quick, if they want to hang around as a contender in the NFC

 

THE UGLY

  • Eric Ebron: I am ready to jump off the Ebron train. I was down to give him every opportunity to succeed. But, what I saw on Sunday afternoon was inexcusable. Multiple drive killing drops in a game that could have boosted organizational confidence to an all-time high. His contract is up this year and I really hope that Bob Quinn just lets him walk because he is officially, a bust.
  • Ziggy Ansah: “Dude, Wheres My Pass Rush?” A Ziggy produced film playing in Detroit every other Sunday.
  • Dean Blandino: I hate you so much.

 

 

This game was a tough one to gauge. The Lions played like absolute trash, yet made enough plays to have a chance in the final seconds. I’m not sure what this says about the Lions team, who have beat the winless Giants and the one win Cardinals. Are they good? Yea. Are they competitive? No doubt. Are they ready to contend in the NFC? Not sure, how they respond to this loss will be very telling of how focused Caldwell has this team.

 

P.S.- So I was helping my dad sell antiques at a swap meet, basically a garage sale, and some dude would not buy a CB antenna for a $1. Literally picked it up, looked at it for like 5 minutes, then asked me if it worked. DUDE, it’s A SINGLE DOLLAR. If you need a CB antenna, take a chance on the $1 gamble. If I needed something that regularly costs $25 and I have a chance to get one that is a 50/50 shot at working for $1, I’m doing that deal every day of the week and twice on Sundays. What an idiot.

Weekend Football Preview

BY: DALTON

Michigan @ Purdue. 4 pm. FOX: First true road game of the year and Michigan will not be going in on a high note. After offensively struggling against both Air Force and Cincinnati, Wilton Speight and company need to get on the right track. I, a self proclaimed Maize & Blue fan, am quite worried about the state of the offense. I’m not sure what the problem is. Well, its two things, the quarterback and the play calling. At first, I thought it was only Wilton. Then, somewhere around halftime of the Air Force game I noticed that Michigan’s plays just kinda suck. Not much creativity or deceptiveness. Purdue on the other hand has become one of the Nation’s favorite “dark horse” teams. They score points, a lot of points. But, luckily for Michigan their defense has the potential to be a top 5 unit in the country. Michigan wins contingent on two things; Ty Isaac is healthy and the defense plays at 75% of what it has this year. PREDICTION: Michigan 21- Purdue 14

Notre Dame @ Michigan State. 8 pm. FOX: I’m not sure if State fans consider this a rivalry game, but this matchup has produced some pretty entertaining football games and I expect this one to follow in suit. As of now, the advantage goes to Michigan State. No one is really sure where these teams fit into the national picture. ND has beat two nobodies but lost at hoe to a mediocre Georgia team. MSU has played one tune-up game then a feisty Western Michigan team and have looked better than expected in both. All signs are pointing to a MSU Victory. Off a bye week, at night, at home, and against a ? ND team. PREDICTION: MSU 28- ND 24

Atlanta @ Detroit. 1 pm. FOX: Huge game for the Lions this week. This will be the toughest game to date and possibly the toughest game of the season. Falcons are coming in after dominating the NFC North foe Packers. A lot variables to watch during this contest. As of 10 am on Friday, Jarrad Davis was still in concussion protocol, but Ameer Abdullah should be healthy. Luckily for the Lions, some of the Falcons defensive line is already ruled out. The Falcons offense is the class of the NFC and Julio Jones will give the Lions’ secondary headaches all day. I’m 0-2 in these predictions so far (thought Lions would be 0-2) and I certainly hope I go 0-3. PREDICTION: Atlanta 31- Detroit 24

 

DTF: Week 2

BY: DALTON

Going to put my hand up on this one, folks. I thought that the Giants would be a much better team than that. I thought with the return of OBJ that their offense would start clicking again. What I didn’t think, was that the Giants offensive line was actually as bad as what people said it was. I just assumed it was some Giants fans bitching about their team and over exaggerating their problems like every other fan base in sports. I also bought into their defense. While the Giants did a nice job getting pressure on Stafford, he did a great job side stepping that pressure and extending plays in a Big Ben-esque manner.

Now that I’ve torn down the Giants and myself lets talk about the Lions. This is a Lions article right? The team looked great, plain and simple. They dominated all phases of the game. After seeing the Giants for two weeks, they are a team that the Lions should beat every time. But, I wont take away credit from a road win, in prime time, against a conference opponent that was desperate.

It has been a weird start to the season, to state things bluntly. The Lions had the awful 1st quarter to start the year, then, for the next 7 quarters they have absolutely dominated their opponent. Even if the Cards and G-Men turn out to be bad teams, good teams dominate bad teams. I know that it is weird to say, but the Lions might actually be good this year. Next week against Atlanta will tell a lot (thankfully its home). But, we will worry about next week, next week. Lets just bathe in a bathtub filled with Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid for the time being.

 

THE GOOD:

  • The Defense- For the second week in a row, I have had to put the entire defense in the Good section. Kept the Giants in check the entire game. The line kept up pressure and the secondary kept OBJ in check. I don’t care if OBJ was coming off of an injury, if they allowed him on the field then the Giants training staff felt he was good enough to make a difference and the Lions completely negated that difference (4 rec, 36 yrds). Have to give special shout-outs to Ziggy Ansah (3 sacks) and Quandre Diggs (huge 4th down stop that practically iced the game).
  • Matt Stafford- Eat your heart out, haters. Ho-Hum, Stafford just went out there and earned that money again. But Dalton, he only had 122 yards of passing. He only threw the ball 6 times in the second half. SIX! He was in control of the offense for the entire game. Didn’t throw any interceptions and kept multiple plays alive with his feet. How is it possible, that in his 9th season in the League he is getting better at scrambling? It doesn’t make sense. 2 games into being the highest paid player in the league and he’s earning every penny of that deal.
  • Special Teams- Prater = Gawd. Jamal Agnew with a dagger 88-yard punt return for a touchdown. Good kick and punt coverage the entire night. An absolutely terrific performance turned in by the Lions’ Special Teams.
  • Run Game- Abdullah rushed for 86 yards on 17 carries and broke off a couple 20+ yarders. The line did a nice job run blocking, particularly Lang and Wagner, and they did a nice job at the end of the game allowing the Lions to just run the clock out.

THE BAD:

  • Jeff Locke- The only down side of the Lions’ Special Teams. I thought he had quite a few opportunities to pin them deep but he was only able to get them between the 15 and 20-yard line. This is really a stretch for bad, but I needed something.

 

THE UGLY:

  • Injuries- As of 5 pm on Tuesday, Caldwell would not let us know if Jarrad Davis is in concussion protocol or not. Losing him would be a huge blow to the linebackers. Not sure what the injury on Abdullah was but hopefully he only tweaked something and they took him out because the game had already been decided. Definitely something to look at through out the week.
  • Greg Robinson- The replacement for Decker is playing like a replacement. I feel for him though. He doesn’t want to do shitty and the Lions were handcuffed on where to get a replacement left tackle. Multiple penalties and getting beat consistently. Luckily for Robinson, Stafford was a wizard with his feet.

 

 

P.S. So, apparently I’m allergic to shellfish now. Was eating with a friend and had some shrimp with my dinner. Didn’t feel anything but noticed I had an allergic reaction on my leg. Thought it might have been a chemical reaction to a Canadian Loonie that was in my pocket. Whole body broke out in hives and I decided to do a little research. Turns out, adults can just randomly develop food allergies. This fucking sucks, I really enjoyed shrimp too.