By Imperical Evidence
Ok , the Lions put up 27 points , more than any game in 2008 , so thats a bonus , right?
That would be a bonus if you could overlook the fact that the passing game had 0 touchdowns , and only scored 2 rushing touchdowns and 2 field goals. Louis Delmas picked up a fumble and ran it in for 7 points. Kevin Smith ran around the corner on a 4 yard scoring run. Matthew Stafford had a touchdown on a quarterback keeper.
The Lions offense was bad , both running and passing. Matthew Stafford went 16 for 37 with 3 interceptions and 0 touchdowns. He looked like he had a grasp on things in the first half , and hit several short passes. In the second half , Stafford was way off target with his throws , overthrowing and underthrowing. When he had to throw the ball in the fourth quarter , he forced one to a wide open defender , the Lions receiver was several yards away. He looked raw , and nothing like the starting quarterback he is supposed to be. His quarterback rating was an off the charts 27.4. The offensive line gave him time , he was still in a hurry to get rid of the ball.
The running game gained a whopping 1 yard on the first carry by Kevin Smith , right up the middle. Despite the obvious fact that Domonic Raiola is the starting center , and the Lions haven't been able to run up the middle since he first donned the Lion uniform in 2001 , the Lions kept running up the middle , for little to no yards. Jerome Felton , the Lions fullback , did manage to get a much needed first down on a third and short by running up the middle , he gained a massive 3 yards on the carry. Aaron Brown had one carry , and ran outside. The Saints had the middle of the field stacked , and Brown had a nine yard run. The Saints must think Aaron Brown runs between the tackles. Kevin Smith had 15 carries for an astounding 20 yards rushing , and was the primary target of Matthew Stafford , with 7 receptions for 52 yards. Jerome
Felton had 2 carries for 4 yards , Stafford had 1 carry and Brown had 1 carry. The Lions rushed for a total of 33 yards. The Aints rushed for a total of 157 yards , with Reggie Bush getting 14 yards on 7 carries. Mike Bell gained the rest.
Bell , the third string undrafted running back for the Aints , gained 42 yards on 13 carries in 4 games all last season.
The Lions defensive line couldn't stop anybody , or get any pressure on Drew Brees , the Aints quarterback. He threw 6 touchdown passes , and had one pass intercepted by Lions cornerback Anthony Henry. I could put on a suit and run for 100 yards against this defense. I'll bet I could do it with a sack around my legs. The Lions were down by 14 points faster than I can type this one single solitary sentence. The secondary got picked apart , they couldn't stop the run.
Maybe a better defensive line could be more effective against the run , helping the linebackers and secondary concentrate more on coverage?
Nahhhhh!!!! Not the way the Lions front office thinks.
Calvin Johnson caught 3 passes for 90 tards , a 30 yard per catch average. That average was all him , the longest throw to him was 14 yards , he gained the rest after the catch. Matthew Stafford threw to Calvin Johnson more times than I care to remember at this point , proving a great receiver can't catch a ball if it is thrown 10 yards away from where he is on the field.
Will Heller , the wonderful free agent blocking tight end addition had 2 passes hit him on the hands. He dropped them both. How dare Stafford hit him on the hands like that!!! Heller received heavy playing time , but 0 passes. I think I agree with the idea that he might be a good run blocking tight end - maybe on a high school football team. Meanwhile , Dan Gronkowski is stuck on the practice squad so that the Lions can have an undrafted eight year veteran on the starting roster that has never put up big numbers.
Brandon Pettigrew was perhaps the most invisible starting player I have ever seen(Not seen) in a football game. I just didn't see him on the field. He had 0 receptions , and did not stand out at all in any part of the game. I expected more from Pettigrew , even if it was his first NFL game. The Detroit Lions site will tell you he played a big part in the blocking game. Yep , the running game went off for 33 yards.
Sammie Lee Hill started at defensive tackle , but looked raw at times , and just decent at other times. He needs some work still.
Maurice Morris - where are you? The Lions signed him to a 3 year , $7 million dollar contract this off season , and has he even played at all , in pre season too?
Daunte Culpepper - why was Drew Stanton holding the clip board while you were not to be seen on the sidelines? Shouldn't you be helping young Matthew Stafford develop as a quarterback? Are you sure you are ok with being the number 2 QB?
Was this even your statement?
Aaron Brown is exciting to watch returning kicks , I am glad Aveion Cason is finally gone.
Larry Foote and Anthony Henry led the Lions with 9 tackles , and I thought they both had great games on defense. Henry made several tackles against the run. If the CB is making tackles in the running game , who is covering the receivers? Is this still the Tampa 2? If the defensive line could get pressure on the opposing QB , or maybe stop the run , this wouldn't happen would it?
Ok , I feel sick now.
If you want to read anything positive , there will not be much here. The Lions secondary has matched the secondary from all last season in interceptions with one. That to me isn't the greatest feat on the planet. Dennis Northcutt had a nice punt return. He is still what he is , an older player nearing the end of the line , and part of the reason the Lions , a rebuilding team , are the fifth oldest team in the NFL. Look , I liked what I saw , but come on , Mayhew , are there really no younger players out there that could possibly develop into an average receiver that could return punts? Really? Did we need to trade away a
young and talented safety for Northcutt?
Louis Delmas played both good and bad at times. He let his attitude get the Lions a flag on a Aints touchdown , but there were several nice hits and that fumble recovery that he ran all the way back.
All in all , this game showed me without a doubt that Matthew Stafford was not ready to start in week one , on the road , against the best offense in the NFL.
Jim Schwartz said he was ready.
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