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The Lions Finally Hang On

It was dominating and ugly at the same time, the list of breakdowns and mistakes is long, but after a season full of losing pretty the Lions win ugly.  The Lions’ defense played out of their minds shutting down one of the best offenses in the league.  Yes, the Packers didn’t have Aaron Rodgers in the second half, but the Lions shut him down in the first half.  Green Bay couldn’t run the ball which allowed the Lions to focus solely on rushing the passer and they wreaked havoc on backup Matt Flynn.

Offensively, the Lions made a committment to the running game and it carried them to the win.  Maurice Morris and his downhill running style seem to have rubbed off on the other running backs.  Combine that with more traditional running play calls and the Lions ran for a season high 190 yards.  Scott Linehan got creative mixing in some option plays and Stefan Logan to keep the Packers off balance and it worked.

I don’t want to hear anything about the Aaron Rodgers injury because the Lions have been playing with a backup all year, and the last couple of game with a third string quarterback.  The Packers lost because of a terrible gameplan and the Lions just outplayed them.  The Lions are playing with a patchwork secondary and the Packers rarely spread the field.  The playcall on the decisive 4th and 1 made no sense as the Lions had been sitting in coverage all day and were stuffing the run with the front seven.  Why take a shot deep?  Also, the Lions lead the league in encroachment and offsides penalties and the Packers didn’t try a hard count on 4th down either.   The Lions stepped up and made plays when they needed to and earned a hard fought victory. 

Key Plays:

Drew Stanton’s first interception in field goal position really put the Lions in a bind early in the game.  Stanton did a great job avoiding the pressure but he had one receiver in the area and four Packers.  That play took a potential three points off the game and was a rookie mistake.

Drew Stanton’s 19 yard sack took the Lions from the Green Bay 43 to the Lions’ 38 and then Stanton threw a terrible interception on the ensuing 3rd and 25 play.  Stanton needs to realize that he is elusive, but you never run backwards especially if you are on the verge of getting into field goal range.

Jerome Felton getting stuffed on 3rd and 1 at the Lions’ 44.  It looked like the Lions were running a counter which requires time to develop, time you don’t have on a short yardage play.  The failed third down was bad enough, but then Nick Harris booted the punt into the end zone for a touchback.  That flipped field position against the Lions for the next few drives.

DeAndre Levy’s interception in the endzone was the play of the game.  Levy showed blitz, dropped into coverage and read Flynn’s eyes perfectly.  He drifted right into the throwing lane and made a great play on the ball.  The only negative was he took the ball out of the endzone so the Lions started at the 11 instead of the 20.

The 3rd and 1 stuff by Sammie Lee Hill was the second biggest play of the game.  The Packers just got the ball back after the Rayner missed field goal in great field position at the Packers’ 38 yard line.  The Packers lined up on 3rd and 1 and Sammie Lee Hill blew up the play and disrupted the timing of the play.  Flynn never makes the handoff and Hill drags him down for a loss of 3.  Hill prevented the Packers from retaking momentum after the deflating missed field goal.

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