Welcome to the Great Lakes Classic!
That's what they call the annual preseason game between the Lions and the Browns. With so many former Browns on the Lions team, I wonder how many players were confused from time to time about which team they were playing for. Not saying anything like that happened, it's just something that crossed my mind while watching the game.
For that matter, there were a lot of things that crossed my mind while finally watching the taped game just now. First was, why didn't I remember to spray my satellite dish with Rain-X before football season got here (so that heavy rains don't affect my signal, forcing me to not watch the taped delay game but catching the tivo'd replay of the game on the NFL network... Rain-X works great for that and snow, if you remember to actually climb up and spray everything down a couple times a year).
The second thing that crossed my mind was why do they tape delay (and/or black out) preseason games. IT's PRE-season for crying out loud.
Then my mind wandered off to why do I watch preseason games and then blog about it. I mean, it's all just base offense and defense. Okay, so it's the only time you can sack or tackle… and it helps get film on players in game conditions... but both sides are only showing things they want all teams to see… things they want other teams to prepare for but are never used… things to practice for yourself no matter who sees it. It's all a part of the big chess game that is football. I suppose if chess was a contact sport I'd be watching that too, be it practice or real games.
Then the game kicks off and my mind quits wandering, for a little while. Here's some of my quick notes... before I finally gave up on it.
1st series, Lions D-Line showing why they are a force… opposing O trying to be quick and making mistakes.. 3 and out.
Tried 3 Jahvid Best running plays in a row, 2 worked, last one was stripped. Nothing he could’ve done really. Bear hug from behind, knees not touching, plenty of time to strip the ball.
Cleveland Browns then march down the field after turnover, with quick plays and spreading the ball around. Appeared to be a lot of cover 2… did I ever mention how much I hate the Tampa 2 style D? But they need to work on it so I guess that is what they are doing (poorly).
Still not one throw, Aaron Brown runs for a 2 yard loss… then a throw (finally) but to Aaron Brown 1st down. End around to Burleson fooled camera and me, nice play and yardage. Run play by Aaron Brown… stuffed. Lot of run work going on. Stafford flushed from pocket, losing yards, throws ball away at last second. Impressive. But then does it again… holding call on Defense saves the punt team from going to work. Very nice catch by Pettigrew for 27 yards. Try to pound it in from 5 yards out… gain 1. Back of the endzone catch by Burleson that was amazing for the TD.
Next Cleveland Browns series wasn’t even aired on the replay I’m watching. Stafford is seeing the field very well. Another amazing catch by Nate Burleson on 3rd down for 30 yards. Run play by Brown goes 5 yards up the middle. Then Stafford miss throws a couple in a row and they have to go with a field goal.
Spievey Safety Blitz was perfect. Couple of defensive holding calls before and after though are helping the Browns. Must say, the tackling looks a lot better then years past. Lions pressure is back and effective. Not sure why they didn’t pressure (blitz) during the Browns first TD drive, but it sure ended this one.
Cleveland Browns come back with their own pressure and end Lions drive with a 3 and out. Delay of game pushes Harris to very back of end zone.. not sure why they allowed that, personnel problems (who needed to be on the field) appears like. After the punt return, the Browns only have to get 21 yards for a TD. One play and it’s a TD (nice job keeping his feet inbounds after review to GET the TD).
11 yards by Heller pass play by Hill. 4 yard run by Harrison. Heller for 7 yards, first down. Harrison doing better then last week, gains 7 on 1st down. Hill, press coverage, sacked after he tried twice to run it (first time for 1 yard). Oline can’t hold off the pressure.
What a sec... Hill is in already? Why am I doing more or less play by play notes when it's all backups all the time now. Back to letting my mind wander while I await the final score (and to see if there's anything worth actually mentioning before I close).
Nope, mind still wandering... looks like I may be correct in believing Stovall will make the final roster... that 81 yard run play by Smith of the Browns was like a bad horror film rerun of the 0-16 season, not sure what went wrong there but something sure went wrong... Lions down 2 scores when Stanton comes in but they don't act or look like a team defeated, playing hard... and finally, the Lions backups and soon-to-be-cut players outplayed the Browns backups and soon-to-be-cut players for the 30-28 win.
What does that tell us? Well, so far we know the Lions have more depth then the Bengals and the Browns. Good to know but not exactly earth shattering news. I suppose you can add that turnovers kill... even if it's backups versus backups.
So once again the Great Lakes Classic Trophy gets to be displayed at the Lions practice facility (they have one from that 0-16 season as well, so be careful celebrating that) and the team prepares for the Patriots next Saturday night (which is tonight as I type this, hate getting behind and being too busy to catch up).