One half is in the books, and the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns are tied 6-6. Here’s a few quick observations from the first two quarters of play, including thoughts on what to watch during the second half.
Tate Will Make A Difference. Early on Golden Tate showed why he will be a major weapon for the Lions’ offense. In one pass, Tate slipped free and got the ball down in the middle of the field deep. He’ll be a major weapon for the Lions, and a certain safety valve for Matthew Stafford and the passing game.
Bend But Don’t Break Is Back. Much like 2013, the Lions bend but don’t break defense made a return. Despite the fact that Cleveland put together several drives and threatened the Lions’ side of the field, they didn’t surrender touchdowns, but rather field goals. Jim Caldwell admitted as much
Where’s The Flow? There was a notable offensive flow missing at times in the first half, with the first team getting bogged down in Cleveland territory without scoring and failing to sustain many drives. Chalk that up to early season jitters and the notable absence of plenty starters.
Special Teams Solid. Whether it was two wonderful returns by Jeremy Ross or a pair of field goals by rookie Nate Freese, the Lions’ special teams has been just that early on. So far, it’s a good start for that unit and their new kicker.
MVP: Ryan Broyles. Broyles, looking to emerge from a crowded wideout group, has made a couple excellent plays. “He made a couple nice catches and finished with ‘em, too,” Jim Caldwell said during a halftime interview. Very impressive start for Broyles on the field, and he needed it to shake off the rust.
LVP: Dan Orlovsky. Hard to imagine why Orlovsky was chosen as the backup. So far, he hasn’t looked great going 9-15 for 64 yards. It will likely be more interesting to watch the battle between Kellen Moore and James Frankin in the second half.
Stat To Flip: 4.9, the number of yards per-play the Browns are gathering. The Lions need to do a better job on first down keeping Cleveland from setting up second and short opportunities.
What To Watch In Half Two: Can Detroit keep contain? The Lions have struggled defensively when the Browns roll the pocket, and have only been bailed out by a few drops and penalties. The defense has to do a better job of staying home, especially with a mobile quarterback like Johnny Manziel set to take plenty of snaps.