I know the Lions “missed” a lot of plays and tackles on Mike Vick both with what I have seen and read. Many acocunts also mention the pressure brought by Philadelphia’s defense. Imagine my surprise when I was looking at the numbers and saw that Detroit was creating significantly more presure on Vick than Philly did on Shaun Hill — Vick just handled it better. Honestly, I think if you have Stafford and Kolb in there, the Lions win.
It seems like the Lions are racking up the sacks this year, while allowing fewer. Two games does not make for anywhere close to a great sample, but Chicago is now 2-0, and Philly at 1-1 is considered an average team at worst, so I looked at this year’s numbers compared to last year’s numbers (something I am going to do often this year) to see what kind of pace they are on as a team.
First of all, sacks allowed last year was 43. So far this year, the Lions have allowed 4 sacks — on pace for 32. This is an average of 2.0 per game in 2010 versus 2.7 per game in 2009.
More telling than that is the defensive statistics — the Lions had just 26 sacks as a team all of 2009. They already have 10. This puts them on pace for 80 sacks as a team. (No, that is not a typo – I’ve had to say that a lot lately) Will they keep up this pace? Hard to tell… They face some much better offensive lines in the coming weeks, and teams will go to a lot more short passing and max protect (as if anyone could do more of that than Chicago did, but I digress…) in order to stave off the dline pressure.
The big question is — has it helped? The Lions are 1-1 0-2 right now. Their offense is gaining the same yards per play (4.7) as it did last year while giving up the same yards per play (6.3) that it did last season as well. As you can guess, that is not a winning combination. The secondary and linebackers need to start taking better advantage of the pressure the defensive line is creating in order for the defense to improve, and the offense has to just plain get and stay healthy while working together as a unit.
While it’s not making a noticible impact yet, the heavy pressure by the defense will start to pay dividends once the back 7 is improved — which you can be assured is at the top of Martin Mayhew’s To-Do list for next ifseason. The best thing as a fan is that the team is building with the trenches first, and then filling out into the other spots on offense/defense — just like we’ve been clamoring about for years. It will take time, but there is and looks like there will continue to be improvement from the Lions — enough to warrant a playoff push next year? I’m optimistic but there is a looooong season ahead of us yet to be played.
In the meantime, I’ll enjoy watching the Lions defense crush opposing quarterbacks for a change.