Sunday, September 11, 2016

Game 1 2016 - Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis Colts

Wild Ride.

The 1-0 Detroit Lions narrowly defeated the 0-1 Indianapolis Colts 39-35. After starting out 21-3 the Lions after the 2 minute warning at the end of the first half must have felt they had the game in hand and nearly prevented themselves from getting the win with some rather poor defensive plays, both at that point in time and later in the 2nd half. The Colts managed to even tie things up only to lose the lead and then regain the lead (by one point) before the Lions final drive of the game when Prater, who had missed an extra point not that long before, hit for 3 and the lead. With only 4 seconds left on the clock the Colts tried some razzle dazzle but ended up with a forward pass in the endzone for a penalty, also known as a safety (because it happened in their endzone) giving the Lions an extra 2 points. It was a wild ride.

Matthew Stafford was 31 of 39 (79.487%) <---- and that's amazing <---- for 340 yards 3 TDs and no interceptions. Compare that to Andrew Luck's 31 of 47 (65.957%) which is good (or really bad defense by the Lions and Colts) and you can see that both teams have a potent offense... or both teams have defenses in need of some TLC.... otherwise both teams might in for a lot more wild rides.

The Lions had 116 yards on the ground via 5 different runners (Stafford had 5 yards) and the 340 through the air to 8 different players. Considering they only have 4 wide receivers on the roster, that's not too bad. New Wide Receiver Marvin Jones Jr had 4 receptions for 85 yards, Theo Riddick had 5 for 63 yards, Ameer Abdullah had 5 for 57 yards, Eric Ebron had 5 for 46 yards, Golden Tate had 7 for 41 yards, Boldin 3 for 35 yards, with Roberts and Wick a reception apiece for 8 and 5 yards respectively. Most of the missed passes were well defended plays not counting the one intentional throw away at the end of the game. Of course, there were only 7 missed passes that got defended or missed unintentionally, so there's not much to complain about. I would say the goat on offense would have to be left guard Tomlinson, who still is having issues keeping his guy in front of him.

On defense there were two touchdowns given up when Whitehead would release a tight end to continue his route behind him and no one, no one even close, came over to pick him up. I think that happened to a corner and a safety on those two plays, but I can't be sure who messed up. Regardless, the entire wild ride wouldn't have happened if those two plays didn't occur. Then again, there was a stop in the 4th quarter that got negated due to a 15 yard penalty when a Lions player was called for taunting (he was taunting the crowd, not an opponent). It was a stupid thing to do and nearly cost them the game too. Needless to say, the coaching staff has a few things to work on, but at least they are obvious things, and hopefully these things will not happen again this year.

A win on the road to start the season is great, and the ride home for the players will be a whole lot more pleasant then if they had lost, but the team has got work to do unless they want even more wild rides like this one. Tomlinson needs a lot of help with his footwork, and the LBs and DBs need to get on the same page with their coverages. Prater, Muhlbach, and Martin need to get comfortable with extra points as well (on that last field goal for the win Muhlbach sent the ball high, nearly hitting Martin in the chin, then there was the missed extra point by Prater before that). Like I said, plenty to work on, but at least the quarterback isn't one of those things. That was perhaps one of the best games by a Lions quarterback that I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of games and Lions quarterbacks. Stafford truly put the team on his shoulders and carried them into the win column, wild ride or no.

Next week the Lions open at home against the Tennessee Titans. Since the Packers and the Vikings also won this week the Lions need to continue their success by taking this game as well. Preferably without all the highs and lows, after all, there are some Lions fans out there watching who have heart conditions, and I worry for their health, assuming that is that they survived this Colts game. As for myself, I think I'll take an aspirin before the game starts next week, just to be safe.

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