For at least one week it appears that all the Lions need to do is win to get some respect from the national main stream media. It doesn’t hurt that Sunday’s win came against a marquee opponent (in name at least) and was filled with brilliant performances on both sides of the ball.
DeAngelo Hall might have gotten the best of him once, but after that, Calvin Johnson went into “How about I just win this damn game by myself?” mode. After that, Johnson had three touchdowns, each demonstrating his unstoppability in different ways. On the first one, he dragged Hall into the endzone like a limp teddy bear. On the second, he got underneath Hall on a slant pattern in the endzone. On the third, he contorted himself in traffic to snatch a ball out of the air before Carlos Rogers(notes) could get to it. When Johnson is on, there are few weapons like him in the league.
Yahoo’s Jason Cole picked the Lions defensive line and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham as one of his winners on the day:
Detroit had seven sacks, including one for a game-clinching touchdown return off a fumble by backup quarterback Rex Grossman. The situation was so bad that Washington pulled quarterback Donovan McNabb in the final two minutes. The key for Detroit has been the play of No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh and veteran defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. Couple their play with the scheming of Cunningham and you have reason for hope in Detroit.
Later in the same article, Cole gave the Lions some more good pub as one of the five things he “loved” on Sunday:
The moxie of the Lions to go for it on fourth-and-goal late in the game against Washington. Quarterback Matthew Stafford made it look like a great decision by hooking up with Calvin Johnson for his fourth scoring pass of the day. If the Lions can keep Stafford healthy, they’re going to be really good.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King recognized Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril, and Kyle Vanden Bosch as his defensive players of the week. Consider King impressed:
What an oppressive game these three Lions played, combining for 15 tackles, six sacks (for a loss of 54 yards), two more quarterbacks hits, two more tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble returned (by Suh) for a touchdown in the 37-25 Detroit victory over Washington. The Lions are 2-5. Their defensive front is playing like it’s 5-2.
Peter King also points out that Ndamukong Suh has registered 6.5 sacks on the year while Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, and Albert Haynesworth have only five sacks combined. He thinks we might be short-changing him by limiting him to front-runner for the defensive rookie of the year award. Forget defensive rookie of the year, we should starting thinking straight up defensive player of the year.
Sean Leahy of USA Today tabbed Calvin Johnson as the best receiver of the week and the Lions defense for the best pressure in his week eight best and worsts. Here is what he said about each:
Best receiver: Detroit’s Calvin Johnson scored three TDs — including the game-winner with 3:12 left — in a 37-25 win against the Redskins. Johnson had nine catches for 101 yards as the Lions improved to 2-5.
Best pressure: The Lions’ defense collected six sacks in a 37-25 win against Washington. No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh had two sacks to pair with his TD off a Redskins fumble.