With that being said there is still a lot to work on. The team is still a tad inconsistent, especially on defense. Coverage breaks down far to often in the secondary, and special teams remain a huge concern. However, the NFL might take away a lot of what special teams can do with rules so maybe the Lions are ahead of the curve on that one. That seems very odd to say.
I have also noticed a very revealing stat. When Reggie Bush has at least 75 yards rushing, and we are not talking about what he brings to the passing game, but when he has 75 yards on the ground the Lions win. In the three Lions losses this year he averaged just 39 yards rushing. Granted the Lions also won a game without him but with him on the field this team needs him to gain at least 75 yards to help balance the rest of the offense and keep teams honest. This opens up holes in the coverages and the Lions offense rolls.
Here is a look at the good and the bad:
- Brandon Pettigrew- it looks like Matthew Stafford has re-found some faith in this guy. 5 catches for 70 yards, and those are tough catches over the middle and catches that help extend drives. Pettigrew stepping up creates all kinds of problems for opposing defenses and he owes Lions fans a little more considering his draft position. This was a good week for him and he needs to keep that up.
- Rashean Mathis- It is not every week that a corner for the Lions leads the team in tackles. However, Mathis had 8 and that is huge. It limits big plays, and we need to take notice of Mathis and this stat.
- The passing game- six different Lions caught passes. They threw for 3 TD's. Stafford only threw one pick. Of course he did go just 18 for 35 however, given that and the cold and being outdoors they found a way to win. That is really all that matters. Scott Linehan deserves a little bit of credit for creating a game plan that worked.
- Nick Fairley- sure he got a big stop to preserve the win, but a guy who is as inconsistent as he is should not be hot dogging all over the field. The Lions have not yet earned the right to act that way, and that is the biggest indictment of the Jim Schwartz era of this team. Let us not forget he also took a bone head penalty that could have cost them the win.
- David Akers- the perception is he isn't Jason Hanson, and that is true. It seems he has a chance to put the team ahead and fails to do so. He missed his one filed goal attempt this week, and I thought he was just not a guy who can still kick outside. However he is actually doing better outside than indoors that is not good given where the Lions play most of their games. The tell tale stat here is he is just 4 for 7 on the road. He is 8 for 9 at home and that makes a home playoff game that much more important.
- Personal foul penalties- There were four of them. Overall 5 penalties for 51 yards. But those personal foul ones are big. the Lions have got to find a way to limit them. They need to be more in control. They have a reputation that works against them now.
Generally speaking I let the fans of the Lions determine what we think of our team each and every week. I get texts all days Sunday from all manner of fans. hard core, die hards, and more casual fans. This week I got a text from someone who is hardly a Lions fan or a football fan for that matter but she did watch the game this week, and she texted me this right after the game with this, "4 personal fouls, it makes us look like jerks." Ya I have been saying that for three seasons, but I am glad even the most causal of Lions fans sees what I see.