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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Game 15 San Diego Chargers @ Home

That's a record.

The Detroit Lions MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!!! By defeating the Chargers 38-10 the 10-5 Lions have secured a wildcard spot in the playoffs for the first time since 1999 (when they did the same thing with an 8-8 record).

Matt Stafford was 29 of 36 for 373 yards 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. That was enough to set three new single season Lions quarterback records... most pass attempts in a single season, most pass completions in a single season, most passing yards in a single season. Stafford already set the single season record for touchdowns in one year last week.

Calvin Johnson had 1 TD which ties Cloyce Box (1952) with 15 TDs for a Lions single season wide receiver TD record.

Brandon Pettigrew set the record for most Lions TE receptions in a single season. He already held the record for most receiving yards by a TE but now has both 1st and 2nd place (as far as I can tell from the info I have).

The Lions lead the league in defensive points scored this year if I recall what the announcers said during the game correctly (I haven't been able to verify that online yet). There could be other records broken today as well, I will try to post them when I find out about them down the road.

Speaking of the road, the Lions now travel to Green Bay next week for their final regular season game. It's quite likely that both teams will sit their starters long before half time so it remains to be seen if the Lions depth can win the first game at Lambeau Field since before Jason Hanson was drafted.

The primary goal of that game though will be (for both teams) to come out healthy.

Just noted another record on twitter, attendance at Lions game in 2011 set a record with 509,949 total people attending games. (Via the @DetroitLionsNFL)

There is one more record I would like to see the Lions break this season though, they have won four national championships but since the Super Bowl began they have never played in one. Time to break that record.

Merry Christmas to Lions fans everywhere!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Game 14: Lions at Oakland Raiders

Megafantastic.

It's been awhile since the Lions had me literally on the edge of my seat at the end of a game. Today's 28-27 win over the Oakland Raiders was just such a game. I would like to thank Suh and his Suh sized thumb for catching a piece of that football while it was on it's way for what would've been an NFL record long field goal (and a win). What a fantastic play.

The Lions were down 14-27 well past the halfway mark of the 4th quarter when another fantastic player took the conservative gloves off and starting driving his team down the field. Stafford ended up 29 of 52 for 391 yards and 4 TD's. That puts him at 33 TD's so far on the year and THAT makes him the quarterback with the most TD's in a season ever for the Detroit Lions (topping the former record holder Scott Mitchell who's 1995 record of 32 is now in 2nd place). Plus there are still 2 more games to play... time to set that bar higher!

Matt Stafford also garnered enough yards to leap Kitna's 2007 yardage record putting him in 3rd place, behind only Kitna's 2006 and Mitchell's 1995 yardage records. My math tells me that Stafford needs only 64 yards to get into 2nd place and 194 yards to take over 1st place. Basically, this means that after next weekends game against the Chargers Matthew Stafford will hold both the yardage and touchdown records for one season for a Lions Quarterback (all time) and he is only 23 years of age. Fantastic!

Several of the receivers dropped passes in the final minutes of the game but eventually the true stars of the game (if not the team) started making the plays needed to score points. Megatron (Calvin Johnson) eventually took over all the clutch duties as he finishes the game with 9 receptions for 214 yards and 2 TD's. Most of those fantastic plays were in the final 5 minutes of the game. It's enough yards to rank 3rd most in Lions franchise history and it was the highest total since Richard Johnson had 248 in 1989. Megatron is only 1 TD behind the record best Wide Receiver in Lions history with the most TDs in a single season (Cloyce Box has 15 and the record he set back in 1952). While CJ may break the single season TD record for a Lions WR he is quite a ways behind the yardage record holder, Herman Moore, who set that bar in 1995 with 1686 yards (CJ is currently at 1335 and is now in 4th place behind Herman Moore, Brett Perriman and Germane Crowell).

Jason Hanson kicked all 4 extra points and didn't get a chance to kick any field goals, but he too set a mega-record when he became only the 6th player in NFL History with 2,000 career points. He is the first player to score 2,000 points with 1 franchise. He is also the only player on the Lions roster originally drafted by the Lions who has had a winning season before this year. The Lions are at 9-5, their first winning season since 1999, and the first winning season for guys like Backus, Raiola, and all the rest. Their first winning season in the NFL, ever. That's MEGA-Fantastic!

The team is also setting records, for example, the Lions are the first team in NFL history to come back and win 4 games when down 13(+) points in 1 season.

By the way, if there are any Lions you'd like to see go to the probowl the voting ends Monday Night (19th of December) at http://www.NFL.com/probowl

The Lions now have a 2 game lead over the other teams looking to make the playoffs with the wildcard designation... with only 2 games left they can clinch their spot with one more win. Due to some tiebreaker they have and some they do not they are not yet guaranteed to make the playoffs at 9-7, but they are very very close. If the season ended today they'd have to play their first playoff game in 13 years on the left coast against the San Fransisco 49ers, doesn't that bring back some other 1990ish like memories?

Be that as it may, the next game is in Detroit against the San Diego Chargers who just won a few minutes ago against the Ravens and who are notorious for winning in December, then again, the Lions last regular season game is against the Packers at Lambeau Field, so it's up to the fans to be loud ALL GAME LONG next weekend!!! I don't care what the score is or who did what wrong, the Chargers must be continually harassed by the Detroit Lions Fans all game long. It is CRITICAL!

Let's all give ourselves a Mega-Fantastic Christmas and help the Lions make the playoffs next Saturday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Game 13 Minnesota Vikings @ Home

Timely.

Unexpectedly, the Lions whooped on the Vikings 31 - 14 the first half of the game today, only to get whooped 3-14 the second half. Lions do win the game with a final score of 34-28 but it was a near thing. The Lions usually start slow and then pick it up in the 2nd half, it was very timely of the defense to help pad the lead in the first half because the second half wasn't good enough to win the game. The Vikings turnaround began when Ponder was benched for Webb. The Vikings kept attacking the Lions and would've won except for a forced fumble on the final play of the game... a very timely fumble.

All we'll hear about is how the refs missed the facemask penalty that would've voided the fumble and subsequent recovery by the Lions. Never mind all the other missed calls all game long, heck, all season long that hurt the Lions. It just happens that for a change the missed call would've helped the opponent and perhaps allowed them to win the game. You could call it inevitable that sooner or later, one game or another, in one season or another, a timely non-call would help the Lions win a much needed game. Well, most won't think that way but I do. Do I feel bad about it? No, not at all. It wasn't the only missed call of the game that altered the subsequent events for either team, just the most noticeable due to the timing.

The Lions are now 8-5 and in the wildcard hunt. If they win out they are in. If they lose one game they are likely still in due to owning some tie breakers. They could even make it in with only one more win but then would need a lot of help to make it. I'd prefer they not back into the playoffs but keep improving and get in all on their own. It's a very timely point in the season to get better.

Titus Young, he's getting better, managing to lead all the receivers with 87 yards and a TD today. Pettigrew also contributed with 57 yards and a TD. The defense started out the game with style, Avril getting sacks, Alphonso Smith getting interceptions. The Defense wore down as the game went on, especially chasing after Webb, but they just barely did enough to win the game. Matt Stafford? He did a pedestrian 20/29 for 227 yards and 2 TDs, but no interceptions.

It won't be long and I'll be able to post all the Lions records that Matt Stafford broke. He's advancing fast on "most TDs" and should earn "most yards" this season too if he can keep going. That's right, we are seeing a record breaking season by a Lions QB, despite all the miscues. He gets his play improved and he may own these records for decades.

Lions haven't been .500 or better since BM (Before Millen). That's a very long time and it kind of feels good to know that they can not have a losing season this year, but I'm hungry for more.

The Lions travel to the left coast next week to play the Raiders. Suh will be back and hopefully can control his hunger and channel it into great play. Some other injured Lions might be healthy enough to play as well. It's going to be a tough game but I like the matchup and expect another timely win.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Game 12: Lions at New Orlean Saints

Doesn't matter.

I predicted the Lions would lose this game 24-31, I was pretty close, they lost it 17-31. It really doesn't matter that they lost, since I figured the Lions would be 7-5 at this point anyway (which they are) and in the hunt for the wildcard spot (which they are).

There were some things in this game that do matter though, not the least of which is that Stafford is healing up, he played without a glove for the first time in a month and managed 31 of 44 for 408 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The INT was actually a ball stripped from the hands of the WR who had caught the pass, but that doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter that the Lions were flagged 11 times for 107 yards, what does matter is that nearly half of those were so questionable as to be on the verge of flagrant. It once again affected the mental state of the players who took their frustrations out on opposing players (and in one case the ref) three times which caused 3 of the 11 flags. Somehow the players (and their coaches) need to learn how to twist those emotions into playing harder, not making stupid penalties. If any player should've lost his cool it was Nate Burleson, but he managed to just keep working away eventually leading the team in passing yardage (93 yards total after penalties).

It doesn't matter that Hanson missed a couple of field goals. He goes through this whenever a new holder is on the field, and this makes the 4th holder in less then 4 months.

It doesn't matter that Suh wasn't in the game or that once again a few of the play calls were questionable gambles. The Lions are not yet as polished a team as the Saints. That could change though, fast. Last year the Packers weren't all that polished then right about this time of the year they went on a winning streak that they still haven't broke. It's not too late to turn this around, in fact, this would be the ideal time to do just that.

Time to start playing with a little more discipline, with a little more controlled tenacity, and with some of that "us against the world" teamwork.

All the other teams in the NFC wildcard playoff hunt also lost this weekend, so while it would've been nice to have put a game up on all of them, the Lions at least didn't lose any ground. In the end, this loss didn't matter, but, should they learn from it and improve as a team, it could matter quite a bit... for the good.