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Lions Turn in Another Pathetic Performance Despite Win

The Lions forced six turnovers, converted them into 24 points, completed a sweep of the Vikings and moved to 8-5 but despite all of the positives this game leaves a bitter aftertaste. The defense put 17 points on the board (two defensive touchdowns and a fumble recovery in field goal range) and the offense could only muster 17 points (seven on a short field) of their own against one of the worst defenses in the league.  Subtract the short field drive, and the offense managed to score 10 points without assistance from the defense.

The Lions jumped out to a 21 point lead and seemingly were going to cruise to a huge win, but the usual suspects came back to haunt them.  Terrible run defense (269 yards) kept the Vikings’ offense moving even without Adrian Peterson.  Poorly timed penalties forced cancelled out a long kick return and put the Lions in a lot of long yardage situations.  The highlight of the penalties was an offsides on Cliff Avril on a clock play that could have cost the Lions the game.  That yard and a half might as well have been a mile in that situation.

A lack of offensive balance let the Vikings tee off on Stafford again and there was almost no attempt to get the ball in Calvin Johnson’s hands.  When a team is on their 6th string running back and having trouble committing to the running game, you’d at least think they’d try to incorporate the best receiver in the league into the game plan.
Matthew Stafford turned in another strong performance, considering the onslaught he faced each pass attempt, but he cannot keep the offense moving when every down is an obvious passing down.  I know the injuries at running back have been an issue, but there is no reason they cannot adapt to the personnel they have available.  Kieland Williams is 230 lbs, why is he running out of the shotgun on the majority of his carries?  The Lions need to find a way to take the pressure off of Stafford, because if a terrible defense like the Vikings can shut down the passing game what happens in the playoffs?

All things considered, it is much better to have these issues after a win, but the Lions still have a lot of cleaning up to do if they want to continue winning.  Forcing six turnovers against a 2-10 team at home and winning by six points on the final play of the game is not something you hang your hat on.  Especially when the final play of the game came from your own 1 yard line.  The Lions desperately need to wake up, and despite three wake up calls in the last three weeks, they still haven’t done it.  They are running out of time to snap out of it or this season will end in a nightmare.

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6 Responses to “Lions Turn in Another Pathetic Performance Despite Win”

  1. Jon says:

    Ok all of this is true and I really like this blog. There was no reason for that penalty that was for time management. But it wasn’t the players fault. It was a poor coaching mistake. After rushing worked to put up 21 points they went into a prevent defense to win the game not to WIN the game. It took the drive out of the players. Which ended up in the vikings coming back to almost win the game. It was a great game until the 2nd half which the lions usually do great in and that’s their come back time not the time for us to shut down and prevent which didn’t work at all.

    • They had to stop rushing though because Webb was burning them on the ground when they couldn’t bring him down. The problem was they were not rushing and they were playing loose coverage hoping to not get beat deep since they only had 2 healthy cornerbacks. Rashied Davis was playing defensive back again by the end of the game.

  2. Joel says:

    I always like reading you articles… Great stuff.

    What are your thoughts on Stafford and Lineham’s tendency to settle for this short, seemingly unproductive short yard game when he has one of the strongest arms in the league?

    • Joel-

      Defenses are taking away the deep passing game right now by rolling coverage towards Calvin Johnson and blitzing Stafford. The problem is, Linehan keeps trying to throw deep even though everybody knows it’s coming and they are specifically defending it.

      Teams are daring Linehan to run the ball or throw short passes, but instead he keeps trying to throw deep. That’s why Stafford is getting sacked so much or just dumping off short passes to avoid sacks. They need to start running the ball more or get Pettigrew or Calvin involved in the short passing game earlier in the game.

      If a team is covering Calvin with a cornerback, a safety over the top and then a linebacker inside,that leaves 1 safety, 1 cornerback and 2 linebackers to cover everybody else. Sheffler, Pettigrew, Titus Young and Burelson should be able to exploit the underneath of the defense since they all pose match up problems too.

      In order to exploit those problems, they need to actually run short patterns rather than sending everybody deep.

      Once they start burning a defense with the short passes, the defense will have to stop playing so much over the top coverage on CJ and then they can take shots downfield.

      No defensive coordinator is just going to give the Lions free shots downfield, so they need to make the defense change their gameplan and set up the long pass rather than try to jam a square peg in a round hole.

  3. Jon says:

    Well those are very good points but still it was going great until they went to a prevent defense which almost lost the game for them. You have to agree with that. They were killing them in the first half but it was too much so everyone started to get lazy and the prevent defense was not a good thing to do. When they were winning by so much they were doing good and they should have kept doing that.

  4. Joel says:

    That makes a lot of sense.. I was just starting to get under the impression that Stafford is just scarred of going deep…

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