I proposed five things to watch ahead of yesterday’s game between the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders. Let’s take a look back and see how they played out.
1. 600 or 220?
This point came as a result of an interesting question I received in answer a pregame Q&A for Just Blog Baby, the Oakland Raiders blog on the FanSided Network. Chris Shellcroft asked me was whether it would be more likely we’d see a combined 600 passing yards or 220 penalty yards. I answered 600 passing yards was the more likely total to be reached and that is exactly what happened. I had hoped that the total would be reached thanks to a big day from Matthew Stafford. While that was the case, Carson Palmer was also able to light it up to push the passing total to 720 yards after adjusting for sacks. The penalty yardage total came in at 158 thanks to nine flags against the Lions and ten against the Raiders.
2. Lions versus the run
The Lions gave up a couple big plays and were right around “average” against the run for the rest of the game. Michael Bush finished with a 4.3 yards per carry average but Marcel Reece, Louis Murphy and Denarius Moore combined for 13 yards per carry in their combined four attempts. The goal was to stop the run and force Carson Palmer to beat the Lions through the air; turns out Palmer had a big day anyway.
3. Lions ability to run the ball
It turns out “inability” would have been a better word. The Lions line didn’t open up the kinds of holes they have been over the past few weeks and it resulted in just a 3.0 yards per carry average. Kevin Smith didn’t have the same burst he showed against the Panthers as a result of his ankle injury but he didn’t have a lot of room to work with for most of the afternoon. Keiland Williams was given one carry and was stuffed on a fourth and one. Needless to say, not a great day on the ground for the Lions.
Recent injury troubles hampered Chris Houston and Kevin Smith against the Raiders and Chris Harris had to leave after sustaining a helmet to helmet hit but the Lions come out of this game in pretty good shape. Lawrence Jackson will be back at practice this week and figures to be able to rejoin the rotation next week against the Chargers. The Lions will really be in good shape if Louis Delmas can return as well.
5. Happy or sad?
Happy. One of the common themes coming from Lions players in their post game tweets was how much better a win makes the flight home. It is a long flight from Oakland, a lot of time for muscles to stiffen and aches and pains to make themselves known. It’s a lot easier dealing with things like that with the taste of victory in one’s mouth.