While I’m usually a font of ideas and information after a game, I honestly have found myself at a loss. For two days (and after a second viewing of the game) I have tried to rack my brain as to another approach, or different thoughts.
They just aren’t coming, so I’ll roll with it though by now you have all heard this song and dance. In the first half, the Lions were mostly outstanding — both the offense and defense showed their stuff and it had all the earmarks of a classic black-and-blue slugfest. It was a great half of football.
A great half.
This week, the Lions will be facing a team that has the same big problem the Lions do: Halftime. At halftime, the team magically loses all football passion, comes out flat, and totally allows the other team to have their way with them. Both the Steelers and the Lions have been just beyond awful at this. (Okay, for truly beyond awful watch any St. Louis game this season. I thought the Lions’ 0-16 year was bad…at least they were in a few games!) They totally dominate and/or compete for one half and then totally deflate at the third quarter whistle.
That was problem #1 on Sunday and Schwartz has to figure that one out first and foremost or nothing else will matter. A close game turned into a rout, and it didn’t have to by a long shot. Now, I always predict a Lions win (if you haven’t figured that out by now) but I didn’t expect them to win this game. Next expected win for me is against St. Louis, though they could steal either the Steelers or Packers game (but not both) and that is a pretty long shot best.
Problem #2 they are making attempts to address: Special Teams. Nick Harris needs to figure out where he put his Punter and fast. Hanson had an unusual lapse on the KO out of bounds. But it is the return and coverage units that really kill. Detroit averaged the 18.6 yard line to start drives. The Bears averaged the 48. the 48!! Considering the one time they pinned them deep, that is a lot of starts already in Lions territory. With the exception of one long run (Forte is a good back, give him his due on that one) the Defense did admirably.
If you take off the ST TD, you have 48-24. At least 10 more points come off the board, with at least one more scoring opportunity for the Lions if Special Teams gets it done. Call an “equal” special teams performance a 31-27 game. Lions still likely lose, but not a blowout. I know you’ve heard it before, but the ”special” teams for Detroit were just that bad.
Offense controlled time of possesion. Chicago had a horrid 3rd down conversion rate. The most telling stat is that Chicago had more yards on Special Teams than on offense. SERIOUSLY
Now, I’m not sure if it is scheme, players, or a bit of both. I was a big defender of giving Kwan a chance and right now he is coordinating his way out of Detroit. Not ready to throw him to the Lions, but close…
Derrick Williams gets his second shot at returning, lets hope he comes out motivated and makes the most of it. The Lions really need that boost.
Jreffy – that is awesome about Roach (See comment on last story) — he had a great game, as did pretty much the entire Chicago front 7. They are deep at LB, and have been prepping for Urlacher going down for a couple of years now as his injuries have mounted.
Stafford appears possible to start vs Pittsburgh, and even if the Lions get roasted it will be good experience for him. I hope he is healthy and ready to go. Unlike a certain other rookie who came down to earth against (surprise!) the Saints, Stafford has been showing continual improvement. I’m excited about where the franchise is going — especially the franchise QB!
What are your thoughts on the game? What went wrong? What went right???