The bad news: The Lions’ defense gave up almost the exact same stats as they did last year. 45 points is really, really bad.
The good news: The Saints didn’t take their pedal off the gas until the very end of the game. Last year, they reeled off 6 TDs in their first 6 possessions, then stopped trying. This time, the Lions got a few stops and took the ball away a few times. It was a little closer. Kinda.
Also, Last year the Saints were beat up; this year they were all healthy and playing to their full potential, and the Lions at least made them play the whole game.
So yeah, it’s an improvement over last year’s defense. Sad, but it is.
The offense was sad, sad, sad. Stafford was off all day long with rookie jitters. Kevin Smith never got a hole. Calvin was double covered all day long and no one else seemed to get open. Pettigrew didn’t even play? He went invisible if he was on the field.
Meh, whatever. This team is a work in progress. Gonna take time for the offense to gel, and the defense isn’t going to go against offenses like that every week. I’m not discouraged. Yet.
Kevin Smith tried to find creases, but the Saints and Jonathan Wilma blitzed the run gaps early and often, often daring Stafford to try picking them apart. Stafford fixated on Calvin Johnson in the first half; forcing WAY too many balls his way.
I thought the O-LINE was decent. Loper needs to play more consistently. Backus’ off-sides was due to crowd noise. Cherilus looked good. They were consistent for being blitzed consistently. In a word, consistent.
Stafford, the exact opposite. Normal first game jitters. Forced balls, fixated on his security blanket (CJ). Kinda like the college kid going to his first frat party. Kinda hang out and shut up and stay near the biggest friend you have “just in case”. Once you feel safe or see a hot chick, then you venture outside your safety zone a bit.
Louis Delmas, late on some reads, but man did he come up and fill lanes a few times for run support. This kid can hit like Kenoy Kennedy, I just hope he covers a helluva lot better.
Marquis got lit up like a marquee. They had his name in lights and his legs in tights like a Vegas show.
The corners often dumped man coverage thinking they had over-the-top help, some really good plays, but they couldn’t stay with Shockey, and neither could Foote or the OLB’s. I liked Dizon in coverage, but you sacrifice on run-stuffing still with Jordan. The center or guard gets into the second layer, and Jordan is now 7-8 yards past the LOS.
The defensive ends gave no push; the tackles didn’t play badly, but not great. I really liked watching Sammy Hill, that was fun.
MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT IS THE N.F.L.’s secret hatred towards the Ford family and the conspiracy referees have against the Lions. Calvin Johnson was “IN”, and holding/block-in-the-back calls never get made, unless they are against the Lions. Obvious calls, guys that were going to be tackling the ball carrier; I don’t understand it. I think it’s a conspiracy. It reminded me of the well-trained, ninja squirrells I observed this summer in Traverse City while camping. Except these squirrells looked incompetent and didn’t look well-trained. Mike Carey’s crew is always quick with flag, and have been noted as such; however, weren’t there today when they needed them. The video machine was pretty brutal as “clear and convincing” took on a whole new approach in my eyes. I have to think of a worse refereed game, and it may take some doing.
Would it have mattered? Maybe. Seriously. For the first time in a while, I actually had a good feeling when the Lions came back out at the half. A young team that makes mistakes, but they were playing football right to the end. This team will be OK once they start to gel together.
unfortunately my 28-20 hopefull lion win was way off base and my more realistic 46-17 loss to the saints was almost dead on if you take away delmos’s fumble recovery and browns long kick return. This team is exactly where I feared it to be, a team with a horrible defense that cant stop the run or the pass and has vertually no running game, 3 of the worst things a team can have and to top it off very little pressure on the qb. The vikes will play more conservative and hopefully give us a chance, but dont see us winning one till after the bye week. Stranger things have happened but lets face it, our defense is really really bad!!!
“MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT IS THE N.F.L.’s secret hatred towards the Ford family and the conspiracy referees have against the Lions.”
I loved your comment, man, except that I had to reply to this. Those zebras made like six questionable calls in a row trying to make up for that one . . . they were clearly going to do whatever they could to get the Lions in the end zone, to make up for that bad call . . .
Furthermore, nobody wants the Lions to be competitive more than the NFL–every team that’s an automatic “L” rampantly devalues 1/16th of their product every week. They want every game competitive, every product worth selling–and right now, Lions/Saints is a total snoozer than nobody who isn’t a Lions fan, Saints fan, or Drew Brees fantasy owner has any interest in watching.
Let’s face it: the Saints beat the Lions in every phase of the game, and it showed on the scoreboard. The Lions fought back, and kept it close, and is clearly “improved” over last season–but blaming any of this on the refs at all, let alone some vast NFL conspiracy, is disingenuous.
Hmm…I’ll have to go back and re-watch the game if I have time for teh officiating. I do recall, however, seeing block-in-the-back “penalties” for both teams not being called. Carey’s crew was being pretty loose with that one. Same thing with the lack of PI calls; They were just calling a loose game outside of the Personal Fouls from what I saw.
I think Special Teams was a tie with the blocked field goal by the Lions, the fumbles/recoveries, and big returns.
See the new post for the rest of my game thoughts. Good points by all!!
Ty – Nubs was joking about the conspiracy part (at least I think he was…
Half kidding and half serious. Carey’s crew is known for blowing a LOT of penalties, and they didn’t throw a lot of flags. Week One, you’re gonna have the lazy stuff where guys reach out and hold instead of moving their feet. More should have been called, but yes, on both sides of the ball and, yes, I am kidding.
The “make-up” attempts were VERY PITIFUL, and a slap in the face to officiating. It was obvious. Unfortunately, the momentum was lost after that series or exchange, even though they scored.
For those that didn’t understand what happened during the Stafford to Johnson TOUCHDOWN (and BVO is one of them).
B.V.O. – “The officials instead ruled Johnson stepped out at the 3-yard line. The fact is he didn’t. Horrible call. Lions coach Jim Schwartz had a heated argument with the officials about the resetting of the clock, but he neglected to challenge the ruling.”
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED – Schwartz was NOT ALLOWED to challenge the touchdown. By rule, an out-of-bounds player immediately gets a whistle, which happened on this play. If the play is blown dead (from an apparent foot out of bounds), the play stops at that point. Schwartz couldn’t argue anything from then on as the play had stopped (even though everyone kept going). The clock was secondary and an afterthought. Remember, Schwartz was already pissed because of the 15 yard bench penalty for contacting a zebra and interfering with his stripes.