Monday, September 9, 2013

Detroit Lions week one in review

A win is a win. That is a universal truth and it is much better to be 1-0 than 0-1. However, it seems the Detroit Lions and their fans are blowing their week one win out of proportion. It is certainly understandable since this team has not won a regular season game since the first week of November 2012. This was just one win, and it is a good win at home, but many questions remain. The NFL season even at just 16 games is not a sprint but a marathon an d given recent history and a few troubling indicators it does not look like they are set up for success in 2013.

We could bang on the negatives, bad penalties, mental errors, and how bad this team looked in the first half but we can also take some time and point out some positives. The defense is very good, the team did not quit and let's be real honest here in past seasons this team would have folded it in. They also played significantly better in the second half and really took it to the Minnesota Vikings. Those are all good things, and it shows some progress has been made but more work remains and I want to see this team take the next step. I want to see them go out and throttle a team that are clearly better than, and I want to see then win consistently on the road.

In each of the last 12 seasons the Lions have had a losing streak of five games or more. That troubles me and until they don't do that it feels like they always feel on the verge of a significant losing streak. I like a week one win, I like a win against a divisional opponent, and I like a win at home but I have a lot of questions none of which were helped by the first half of this game. First and foremost how many points did the Lions leave on the field? Good NFL teams will exploit any weakness and I saw several play out. In fact I see the Lions having the same issues each and every week since Jim Schwartz was named the Head Coach.

Let us not forget Schwartz lost his cool once again on the sideline, threw a challenge flag without any input from his staff and had the Lions lost this game that is what we would be talking about today. However, let us not pass judgement on the 2013 Detroit Lions till we have more evidence. Hopefully next week we see more positive indicators than negative ones.

The Good:

  • Reggie Bush- 90 yards rushing and 101 yards receiving and he wants to prove he is an every down back and the Lions are willing to use him that way. He did get dinged up a bit in this one and one has to wonder about durability bit all in all a great Detroit debut for Mr. Bush. There is an aberration in his stat line, take away that 3 yard pass that he broke for a 77 score and the final numbers don't look as good. However, we pay that guy 4 million a year to make an impact and he certainly did that. 
  • The Defense- They held the Vikings to 330 yards of total offense and 4 points. They were very opportunistic in creating turnovers (even if one got called back). The D line is phenomenal and the addition of Israel Idonije was an astute waiver wire pick up and not the kind of move we see the Lions front office make. 
  • The offensive line- The Lions gained 117 yards on the ground, they averaged 3.5 yards per carry and Mathew Stafford was only sacked once. There are three new starters on this line and even though Jason Fox went down with an injury this unit went out and performed. There might have been one but we did not see many procedural penalties of bone head mistakes out of them either. 
The Bad:
  • Coaching- Schwartz once again let his emotions get the best of him but this time it did not cost his team a well deserved win like it did last Thanksgiving. They play way to undisciplined and I am sick of the dancing and the first down arm waving after plays. Roy Williams use to do that and drive me crazy. Act like professionals and act like we have all been here before. 
  • Slow start to the offense- once again the Lions had a chance to make a statement on the opening drive of the game and came away with no points. It was bad enough to not get the TD, but to walk away with nothing was a gut punch early. Once again this team looks great in between the 20 yard lines but finishing drives is still a concern. 
  • Third down- The Lions converted just 5 of 13 third downs. They still have an issue extending drives and we will be looking for them to improve that. This is one indicator we will be keeping our eyes on. 
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