Tuesday, September 19, 2017
2017, Week 2, Detroit Lions @ New York Giants
The 2-0 Detroit Lions defeated the 0-2 New York Giants with a score of 24-10. After recording the go-ahead score in the first quarter the Lions never once gave up the lead. But, it wasn't all offense. It wasn't all defense. It wasn't all special teams. It was, in just a few words, a Team Win!
Now I realize the defense doesn't have the highest paid player in the NFL on their side, that title belongs to Matthew Stafford. However, in 2017, at present, the Lions have more cap space devoted to defense then offense. That may not be true at any point in the future, or it may be so every year for years to come, but without a verifiable accurate crystal ball, all we can see is THIS year and THIS year the defense tops the offense (in 2017 cap space).
Matthew Stafford was 15 of 21 (ugh) for a 71.429% completion percentage (wow) and a whopping 122 yards (omg) but for 2 TDs and 0 INTs (yippee). All in all, it was a highly productive performance. Despite the poke in the eye and the lack of balanced officiating (yes I went there). I have long believed that a QB who can exceed 65% completions and a 2-to-1 TD-to-INT percentage can be a winning QB in the NFL, and the Lions helped towards proving that tonight.
Now the Lions defense held Eli Manning to 22 of 32 (68.75%) for 239 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT (yeah, about that, see above). The Lions rushed for 138 yards (23 by Stafford for 2nd on the team) and the Giants for a whomping 62 yards total (none by Eli). The leading receiver on both teams were tight ends (Ebron and Engram). That speaks of some pretty good defense by both teams. No one will or can deny that.
The Lions had a punt return (Agnew) for a TD and a FG that just barely bounced off of and over the goal posts. That still gives the Lions offense a 4 point upper hand, then again, the short fields provided by defense and special teams also likely helped the offense... so yes, it was a Team Win!!! And I'm here to tell you, there is nothing wrong with that, especially on the road!
Next week the Lions play the Atlanta Falcons at home, the superbowl losing team from last year. I predicted pre-season they would lose this game, but right now, I'm not quite as confident of that prediction. If I could do it over again I might be inclined to predict the Lions as winning this game, simply because they have some depth, they have a complete team, and they appear to have some players all throughout the roster that can at any given time contribute to the win. That is a recipe for success in the NFL, and I don't want to see it get lopsided. I like the "team win" aspect of the team. I for one don't think the Qb HAS to win it all, all of the time.
To complete my comparisons of the Lions and the Giants, both teams had 50 yards of penalties (though I would agree with Lions fans that this was somewhat lopsided towards the other team). Both teams had a fumble, but only the Lions lost theirs. Both teams made 100% of their field goals and extra points. The Lions did generate an interception whereas the Giants did not. The Giants had 14 first downs compared to the Lions 12. In many ways, the two teams were equal (stat-wise) but at no point were the Lions losing this game, despite being only one score ahead at various times in the game. It was, as I stated before, a team win.
The Bears, Vikings, and Packers have lost their first away games this year, putting the Lions solidly in first place in the division. Various, ah, fans, will say "but" and yet, despite whatever stats can be "qualified" the end result is, the Lions have played a home game and a road game and won them both. They are first in the division, and they do not appear to be any sort of a "push over" type of team at any point in the near future. I'll take a 4th quarter come-from-behind victory such as last week at home, and I'll take a "take charge lead and don't give it up" game on the road, and I won't apologize for either. If you are a fan who still feels the need to peek at the game instead of giving in to the mostly loaded bandwagon, so be it. Myself, I'm enjoying this. It's been almost 20 years (maybe more) since I felt this good about the team, I may not outlive another drought, so I'm going to just enjoy this AS it happens, instead of dreading the next game.
Here's to the Detroit Lions and the home game against the Atlanta Falcons next week (6 days from now). May it prove to be as good as I suspect it will be.
Posted by NetRat's Lions Blog at 12:23 AM