In the last minute of the game, the Detroit Lions won one of the most frustrating, heart pounding, hat throwing, foot stomping, kids cover your ears, games I’ve ever watched. A 50 second drive covering 80 yards capped off by a heady play by Matthew Stafford. It was great. It should silence any Stafford doubters out there that he is indeed the Lions franchise quarterback. However, fans should not be pleased with the Lions overall performance.
The Lions out gained the Cowboys by over 300 yards on offense and held the efficient Tony Romo to under 50 percent completions, but the Lions still managed to find themselves down for most of the game. Four turnovers by their three best offensive players in Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, and Matthew Stafford is not a recipe for long-term success.
The Lions may have won Sunday, but there is a trending theme this season for the team which is lack of discipline and execution.
In week one against Minnesota the Lions offense started the game sluggish. The defense had a pick-six called back thanks to an illegal hit by Ndamukong Suh. On the ensuing, play Matthew Stafford had his pass tipped by a defensive lineman which resulted in an interception in scoring territory.
Against Arizona, the Lions missed two field goals on back to back plays and had another blocked. The Lions lost 25-21.
With the exception of the Green Bay game, you could make a case that the Lions are losing games or letting teams hang around because of their penalties and/or lack of execution. Some of those games they win and others they lose, but the Lions don’t expect to win some and lose some with the talent they have on their roster. They expect to win every game they play just as every team in the NFL does.
With eight more games remaining against opponents that are a combined 20-38, the Lions have a very favorable schedule and a division title isn’t out of the question. If the Lions are going to take the division from the Packers they have to turn their inconsistent play around by executing and playing more disciplined football (A consistent pass rush wouldn’t hurt either).
That seems to be the formula the Packers have used the past three seasons to dominate the NFC North since their Super Bowl run. Well that and exceptional quarterback play, but it looks like the Lions will be just fine in that department.