All three SideLion Report writers picked the Lions to win. After all, the Lions have played competitive ball for most of the year. If this was a game they might win, that means we should pick them to win, right?
All the Redskins bloggers I came into contact last week picked the ‘Skins to win. They were embarrassed that their team lost to the lowly Lions last year and that couldn’t happen two years in a row, could it?
Wait…pinch me…yep, the Lions really won it.
If we look at the defensive line we finally get an example of the organization giving us a talking point in the off-season that actually comes to fruition. They never made any grand illusions that the defense would suddenly be world-class but they did speak glowingly about their talent and depth along the defensive front four. Sure, we have heard plenty of hype talk in Detroit over the years. Hype over coaches, schemes, players. The on-field version never seemed to match what we came to expect from all the talk. New flash: the Lions defensive line is for real. You might have already known it, bu they proved it again in case you forgot over the by week.
Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Cliff Avril each had a pair of sacks. When they weren’t bringing McNabb down they, along with Corey Williams and Sammie Hill were in the backfield causing disruption in the passing and running game. Simply put, it doesn’t really matter who is (or isn’t) in your secondary when the quarterback doesn’t have time to make a good decision and a good throw. That was McNabb’s problem today from start to finish.
Cliff Avril started the game with a sack of McNabb after he slipped trying to roll out of the pocket. The Lions put their winning stamp on the game courtesy of the defensive line as well. Kyle Vanden Bosch hit Rex Grossman and jarred the ball lose for a fumble-sack. Ndamukong Suh was in position to scoop the ball up and waltz into the end zone with some slight nagging from Santana Moss along the way. The way the defensive line book-ended this game was poetic.
Credit the defense for keeping the Lions in this game. The Lions offense came out a little slow as Matthew Stafford showed some signs of rust after being shelved for seven weeks as a result of his shoulder injury. The running game was moderately acceptable and the passing game didn’t seem explosive but the point total is hard to argue with. Stafford’s 4.7 yards per attempts is lower than we can expect once he fully finds his rhythm and is 100% healthy.
The Lions passing game looked somewhat different from what we have been seeing. Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson combined for 16 catches while Brandon Pettigrew had the only two catches from the tight end position. Perhaps it was by design, but Stafford put the ball into his wide receivers hands far more often than Shaun Hill had been doing. The Lions will probably have the most success by continuing to find receivers at all three levels.
It wasn’t always pretty but in the end it was pretty enough and therefore it was beautiful. Lions fans all over were cautiously optimistic for a win and their team came through in a way that hasn’t been seen much in the last decade. All we ask for are signs of progress. We got one today.