Sunday, November 22, 2015

2015 - Week #11 Detroit Lions vs Oakland Raiders @ Home


The 3-7 Detroit Lions beat the 4-6 Oakland Raiders at home 18-13 despite losing the lead in the 3rd quarter with too many conservative play calls. Once the Lions turned back up the heat they retook the lead and kept it for the win. They now have only 4 days to prepare the entire team for the Thanksgiving day game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Matthew Stafford was 22 of 35 (62.857%) for 282 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. The Lions even managed to rush for 109 yards if you include Stafford as one of the 5 rushers. More importantly, the defense held Carr to 13 of 25 (52%) for only 169 yards also with no touchdowns or interceptions. There actually was an interception by Diggs but the officials called holding on Lawson (when there was none) and the play was voided. The Lions defense did get a safety in a game that saw no official turnovers lost by either team.

The Raiders gave up one sack while the Lions offensive line gave up 4. Had the Lions drafted better offensive line players and then developed them correctly it's entirely possible the team would've had a winning record this year, well that and had they fired Lombardi and the offensive line coaches much sooner then they did. Still, it's great to see the team winning games once again even though there is basically no chance of them making the playoffs. It means the people who were fired were in fact the correct ones that needed to go. Now it's a matter of getting a GM who can actually improve the team through the draft rather then making the roster worse. Whether that person is already an employee of the Lions or if they go outside the organization remains to be seen, I know where my money is even if it's not what I would want them to do. But if it's not Xanders or White or someone else already working there then perhaps it'll be an experienced qualified individual who can build and sustain a winning team. This year has proven it's more then just the players that are needed to make a team win.

Another aspect of the team that appears to have helped them win games is the benching or replacing of various players that were not producing as expected. At right tackle Michael Ola took over for LeAdrian Waddle in the middle of the first quarter last week and kept the job this week which has helped the OL somewhat. Ola was picked up by the Lions on 10-21 most likely under the recommendation of the current interim GM White (who was in charge of pro-personnel then). Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus has seen the majority of snaps at starting safety over James Ihedigbo which also began last week. Finally, I've been seeing linebacker Tahir Whitehead instead of Travis Lewis though that may be due to injury rather then production. Identifying which players deserve snaps took way too long but it finally happened and it's likely the recent team shakeup (White?) is responsible for this as well.

The more this team wins the more they prove that a complete sweep and rebuild may not be necessary. A new GM is going to want his own coaches and they as a group their own starting QB and so forth. The wins and these other facts make me believe that Mrs Ford and her daughter might keep White in as the GM to see if he can improve the drafting and thus the team without the need of replacing the entire coaching staff and the roster turnover that always follows that type of move. Many fans won't want to hear me say this, but a handful of moves appears to have made this team competitive, it's quite possible the owners will not further upset the apple cart unless things turn back down again. Especially when a simple "salary cap advisor" position (newly created) might solve the remainder of the problems this team has endured lately.

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