Sunday, October 9, 2016

Game 5 2016 - Detroit Lions vs the Philadelphia Eagles @ Home

It's a start.

The 2-3 Detroit Lions narrowly defeated the 3-1 (and previously undefeated) Philadelphia Eagles 24-23. The Lions were up 21-7 in the 2nd quarter before slowly allowing the Eagles back into the game and eventually giving up the lead. The Lions managed a couple of really nice plays at the end to retake the lead and then Slay sealed the deal with an interception to allow the offense to show off their victory formation (kneeling it). It doesn't mean that all the Lions ills are overcome, but it's a start.

Matthew Stafford was 19 of 25 (76%) for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions (though he did have a fumble). There was another drop or two in the game and prior to this weekend the Lions lead the league in drops, but there were also some quality catches. There was some erratic QB mechanics especially when the OL struggled or appeared they might struggle but Stafford was able to recover and make many a decent throw. The OL is still the weak link in the offense. It appeared that Tomlinson was benched for a part of the game, plus there were a number of plays that included 6 instead of 5 linemen, but there were times when the OL held up and played well. The problem with the occasional lapse is it makes a quarterback (any quarterback) a bit jumpy. Feeling relatively safe in the pocket and trusting the OL is definitely not happening at this point in time. It does appear though that at least some progress is being made there (finally).

The much beleaguered Lions defense was able to occasionally generate some pressure, and they did create some turnovers this game, all of which were needed. Wentz was 25 of 33 (75.8%) for 238 yards 2 TDs and an INT. The problem on defense still seems to be the times when there is no pressure at all, of which happens way to often. That and the failure to tackle properly is making these games much more difficult to win. Defeating an undefeated team may just instill some confidence in the team and perhaps will create some much needed synergy for the next game.

The Eagles have a very high ranked defense, so it was nice to see the early lead. At times the Lions made it look easy even. But eventually things tightened up and the game was starting to go the way most expected the entire game to go. The Lions were resilient enough to retake the lead and then hold it in the final minutes. So while it was a struggle, it was a win against a very good team. There are still a lot of things to work on, but it's a start.

The Lions have the Rams coming to town next Sunday. They too have a decent defense so I expect it to be another hard fought game. Hopefully the Lions can feed off of the Eagles win and keep the energy going into the Rams game.

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