Detroit is winless no more! After 2 NCMV, one solid loss and a win taken by the refs the Lions finally have a “W” in the books — in convincing fashion no less. All three phases of the team dominated the Rams in a 44-6 rout of St. Louis. Ford Field was thunderous — a sign of good things to come as the Lions continue to improve.
- Shaun Hill continues to provide everything you could ever want in a backup QB — a good reason why the Lions extended his contract to continue backing up Matthew Stafford. He is showing so much right now, the Lions may even be able to trade him for a lot more than the 7th rounder they gave up to acquire him if they choose to do so after the season.
- Calvin Johnson needs to be thrown to more. He is really showing much more concentration and fighting for each catch than we have seen in the past, and they need to keep taking shots to him.
- Sheffler and Pettigrew underneath continues to be a deadly combo when teams try to take away the deep ball and the run. As the team is getting healthy, the offense is finally starting to click in the way we thought it might earlier in the season.
- Best looked much better today, but still doesn’t appear to be 100%
- Kevin Smith looked good as the third down/breather back
- The offensive line played like they are paid today — very very well. With the extension of Rob Sims it looks like the Lions finally are building some consistency on the line. Now they can fit in some better depth and developmental players.
- Denver gave up on Alphonso Smith way too soon. I liked Gronk, but I’m liking a young ball hawking cornerback even better. I’ll take one ticky-tack penalty offset by a pick 6 any day. Smith is making a big impact in Detroit and by any measure at this point Mayhew struck one heck of a deal there.
- Wade got a chance at some redemption, and did fairly well.
- The pressure generated by the front four continued to make the back 7 look better, and they were able to capitalize.
- At linebacker, Julian Peterson played a great game.
- The Lions are in serious need of linebackers. Not just depth, either. The situation at middle linebacker has gone from shaky to beyond are you kidding. I ask again how many guys are going to man the MLB spot before the end of the season? Yikes. And Follett wasn’t horrible, but he’s not doing anything great either.
- How about Stefan Logan? Welcome back to Detroit Kick and Punt Return game. It’s been way too long. 105 yard kickoff return TD. You could tell he was so close to breaking a big on the last couple of weeks and it finally popped. I also like how Linehan has been using him situationally in the offense adding even more value to what he adds to the team.
- Props to Spievey for finally making a great play – even if it was on special teams. That was a great recovery of the surprise onside kick by the Rams. Spagnuolo was hoping to go for a quick kill on Detroit and it backfired.
- Also, Speivey started at Safety showing he has moved up the depth chart. I didn’t see either any great plays, or really bad ones out of him.
- Bradford tried to stay poised but he got a taste of what Stafford endured in his first season as Bradford finally got a chance to play from waaaaay behind. When forced to play catch-up his statsdropped back to earth as he went 23/45 for about 50% completion for 215 yards and two interceptions with zero touchdowns.
- Sammie Hill had a great solo tackle on Jackson where they collided and Hill stopped him cold and pushed him back. That is what they were missing last week at Green Bay.
- Corey Williams is another player who had a great game getting pressure up the gut.
- Rounding out the trio of outstanding performances from the defensive tackle position was Ndamukong Suh who not only was getting pressure, crushing ball carriers, and creating havoc but batted up a pass to himself, and then managed to advance it looking all the world like a fullback on offense making a punishing run.
- How about Jason Smith of the Rams (playing right tackle) – still think he should have gone #1 overall to Detroit? Me either.
- Jason Hanson was back to his usual reliable self.
- Nate Burleson got on the field healthy with Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew and had exactly the effect the Lions were hoping when they brought him in. He made more impact in one game back than all the guys who tried to fill in for him did in the 2+ games he was out.
- Detroit is getting healthier and more dangerous — after visiting the Giants they have a bye followed by an easier stretch on their schedule. (Consider they started with 3 division road games)
Hopefully Detroit continues to play with the same confidence they did today. It won’t be easy traveling to New York to face a resurgent Giants defense that has been out-right killing QB’s the last two weeks in the same way they did during their Superbowl run. After that, Detroit gets a much more manageable slate of games where no wins are a lock, but they sure are possible. Enjoy the win for what it was today — the Lions dominating a team that had a talent level roughly equal to that of the Lions overall instead of the team losing close games to more talented teams.
As this group builds even more depth and fills holes next ifseason they could push for a wildcard berth area in wins next year. Who knows, if all goes well maybe better. For now, however, I’m thrilled with the improvement we’ve seen and it has finally started to click and translate into wins.