Sunday, November 4, 2012

Game 8 @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Not bad.

The Detroit Lions beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-14 today bringing their record to 4-4 on the season. All 4 touchdowns were run plays, 3 by Leshoure and 1 by Bell. The Lions were up 21-0 at half time for a relatively stress free game. However, instead of my proclaiming the team fully cured of all woes I think I'll grade them out at "not bad".

Matthew Stafford was 22 of 33 for 285 yards, no TDs and no INTs. He started out with some throws that were much too high (accomplished by his refusal to step into his throws, or in other words, bad mechanics) but eventually settled down and began to make more throws then not. It wasn't one of his higher yardage games considering the opponent nor was there a single passing TD, still, his game wasn't bad.

Mikel Leshoure had 3 touchdowns which is great, but his total yardage was a mere 70 yards. When he did get into the open field with one guy to beat he'd usually lower his shoulder and punish the tackler... but he'd still get tackled. I'm not convinced he couldn't juke his way past the sole defender and actually put up a run bigger then 14 yards if he wouldn't lower his shoulder but apparently he'd rather seek contact. I did notice his patience has improved greatly when it comes to waiting for his blockers, in fact, I was most impressed with that in this game. So for having patience and 3 TDs despite the lack of yardage I'll give him a "not bad" as well.

I should note that the Lions rotated in Bell a lot (and even Kevin Smith a couple times) so while Leshoure had 3 TDs on 16 carries Bell had more yards (73) on only 13 carries to lead the team (and 1 TD to go with it).

The passing game was also in the "not bad" category with Calvin Johnson going for 129 yards on 7 catches and Broyles 52 yards on 6 catches. Titus Young didn't catch a sure touchdown (it was perfectly thrown too) and had some other bad attempts to net only 2 catches for 20 yards in a week he should've established himself as a big time threat. Since that didn't happen there won't be much game planning around him any time soon.

The Lions special teams did nothing great nor anything stupid for a nice solid "not bad" grade and the Lions defense held the *ahem* "mighty" Jaguars to 64 yards rushing and 215 yards receiving further cushioning their single digit rank in the NFL (the Lions went into the game with the 9th ranked D in the league). Not bad.

Overall while the game wasn't spectacular, while it wasn't a huge blowout, it was a win over a team they were supposed to beat on the road, and it was relatively stress free watching it for there was never any feeling that the Jaguars were going to force a 4th quarter come back or overtime or other odd finish.

The coaches will be happy there were only 5 penalties for 42 yards, the coaching was good, the play calling sufficiently mixed to make predicting what play was being called difficult, and I don't recall any serious injuries.

I'd love to get all confident that the next game will be equally as easy to win but I think I saw a team simply coast to a win... perhaps it was all the prevent defense that got me in that mood. (My readers know how much I love the prevent defense).

There is one more stat of interest though, Matthew Stafford is AHEAD of last year in passing yardage. That's right, through 8 games this year he is ahead of last year to this point. Not bad.

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