The Detroit Lions beat two opponents yesterday in Tampa. They manhandled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and survived the heat to win their first game of the year. Somebody can tell LeGarrette Blount it’s safe to come outside now. Did he even dress for the game? Because I don’t think I saw his jersey after the National Anthem.
Toward the end of the game, I think the heat was affecting the Lions more than the Bucs were. The Lions COMPLETELY controlled the game until the last couple of minutes when the Bucs scored a touchdown to come within one score of tying the game. Even THAT wouldn’t have been an issue if Gosder Cherilus didn’t have a relapse and momentarily thought he was still playing for the 2008 Lions.
It was a satisfying game to watch. Even though the Buc’s had an early lead, I never felt that the Lions didn’t have control of the game. The Lions won the game in the second quarter when offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, displaying balls the size of beach balls, called for a deep pass on a fourth down. That’s not the Lions I grew up with; the old Lions would have surely tried a swing pass that everyone and his brother knew was coming.
My, how things have changed–last year the Lions beat the Bucs to end a 26 road game losing streak, and this year the Lions beat the same team and everyone was kind of EXPECTING them to win the road game. That’s because the Lions have changed. How nice is it to have linebackers that make tackles. Stephen Tulloch was everywhere. Those running lanes didn’t stay open very long. Hey, LeGarrette, the game’s over, you can come out now. The defense ate up the Bucs short passing game, which is why the Lions held the Bucs to only 2 field goals for most of the game.
The offensive line kept Matt Stafford upright and spent most of the afternoon pushing the Buccaneers backwards on their asses. Stafford looked great and the time off didn’t seem to hurt him one bit. This is what a good quarterback looks like, he throws touch passes over the middle and drops touchdown passes out of the sky. The connection Stafford has with Calvin Johnson is beyond good chemistry, it’s more like nuclear physics. He puts that ball where only Megatron can get to it. They even connected for a touchdown when the heat was affecting Stafford so severely that he almost fell down from cramps while throwing the ball.
As solid as the Leo’s looked, they still have some things to clear up. During the film session today, I hope Cherilus and Stephen Peterman are sitting in the corner wearing dunce hats. They still have to harness that “learning how to win” thing. They have to learn how to step on that losing team’s throat and not let up. Still, it’s a good problem to have, and they have all year to learn how.