Monday, September 17, 2012

Game 2 @ San Francisco 49ers


Mistakes by the Lions contributed to a loss against the 49ers Sunday night in San Francisco. The final score was 19-27 but it never seemed like the game was that close, even though it pretty much was all game long. This is not to say the 49ers didn't make mistakes because they did. If you actually care about the officiating battle going on and the replacement refs then you could harp about the mistakes they made too. I'm not going there, the normal refs make errors, the replacement refs make errors, and as long as they are more or less consistent in their calls so what. I will note though that the results of not calling the holding penalties negates the Lions DLine just like it did in the playoffs last year against the Saints. (see the January blog entry on the Saints game).

So assuming the refs make nearly the same number of and same kind of mistakes for both teams, and assuming the 49ers would make mistakes regardless of the Lions, what mistakes matter?

Alex Smith was 20 for 31 for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns with 0 interceptions.

Matt Stafford was 19 for 32 for 230 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interceptions.

Gore had 17 carries for 89 yards and 1 touchdown with the long being 16 yards.

Kevin Smith had 16 carries for 53 yards and 0 touchdowns with the long being 9 yards.

The Lions recovered 1 of the 2 fumbles the 49ers had, the Lions had no fumbles.

Backup Running Backs had the same number of total carries, 49ers produced more yards. Time of possession was nearly identical.

3rd down efficiency perhaps? The Lions Third Down Efficiency was 6 of 15 for 40% and the 49ers Third Down Efficiency was 4 of 11 for 36%. Surprised? Me too.

First downs though is where the two teams diverged. The Lions had 15 First Downs to the 49ers 24 First Downs, that 60% better and obviously from the previous stat on 3rd downs these first downs came on 1st and 2nd downs. The 49ers have a better defense (duh) and the Lions needed to play a perfect game to win, they did not and they lost. It wasn't a single player, it wasn't a single thing or call or even a big mistake... it was the total accumulation of all the small mistakes.

The good news? This IS the best defense in the league and the Lions lost by 1 score... no one else they play will have as good a defense. Bodes well for the future.

Meanwhile the coaches have material to work with, things to correct, mistakes to fix, and that will make the team even better for the time they play another good defense.

The Lions are 1-1. I am batting .1000 in my pre-season prediction, and get ready for a nice roll starting next week... assuming there are no large mistakes made.

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