Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Game 12 - Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears @ Home


The Detroit Lions improved their record to 8-4 on Thanksgiving Day after defeating the 5-7 Chicago Bears 34-17 at Ford Field. The Lions new coaching staff have managed to not have a losing season their first year at bat and now have 4 more weeks (after a 10 day wait) to work their way into the playoffs. If nothing else Lions fans have that to be thankful for.

The game started out not so great as the Bears took the lead in the first quarter 14-3 but the Bears managed only one more field goal after that while the Lions scored 31. Matthew Stafford was 34/45 (an impressive 75.56%) for 390 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. As I understand it, Stafford had more yards in the first half of this game then in any other first half of a game in his NFL career. Calvin Johnson had 11 receptions for 146 yards and both of Stafford's touchdowns making him the youngest wide receiver ever to get to 10,000 yards. Bell was the only running back with any stats netting 91 yards and 2 touchdowns on 23 attempts. Prater nailed both of his field goals and special teams covered all their aspects of the game fairly well. The defense managed two interceptions and three sacks... Jay Cutler probably needed an ice bath before he could attempt to chow on some Thanksgiving day turkey (if he kept his appetite). Forte was held to a grand total of 6 yards on 5 attempts.

While some fans have started to come to terms with the fact that the Lions defense is actually half way decent (especially if they play man coverage versus say, cover 2) most had started giving up on the offense. The blame has been spread around or at least between Matthew Stafford and the offensive coordinator Lombardi, with the offensive line occasionally mentioned. I've been blaming all 3 as well, but in a different order. Lombardi for calling plays that take time to develop when the OL can't give them that time and Stafford for his various errors and the coaching staff for not helping him correct those issues. Apparently someone figured it out as this game the ball was coming out much faster, something I've been begging for for a few weeks in the forum. The issue with drops by the receivers seems to have corrected it's self as well. The ball was spread around to 9 different players and everyone helped the team to win on national television making Lions fans thankful and the Bears fans dejected.

Now if the defense can continue to play more man coverage then other coverages, if special teams can continue to play disciplined, if the receivers can continue to use their hands correctly and if Stafford can continue to get the ball out quickly negating the patchwork offensive line issues this team can do some damage yet this year, and it all starts in 10 days against Tampa Bay... a team from the former NFC Central that the Lions used to circle as an automatic two wins back in the day (before they got good and made the Tampa 2 defense popular, a form of cover 2 that I also dislike immensely). This is the 2nd of 3 home games in a row for the Lions before they finish the year with 2 road games, one of which is in Green Bay just before Christmas... in other words, these next two home games are very important for the Lions chances to make the playoffs. Playoffs... a word we can be thankful we are using in week 14 of the season instead of "draft".

Happy Thanksgiving Lions fans.

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