The Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders are headed to the locker room with the Lions holding a 13-10 lead. Here are some rapid reactions from the first half.
- Odd start for Nate Freese in his quest to win the team’s kicking duties. He put the opening kickoff through the uprights but clanked his extra point attempt off an upright for a miss. The fact the extra point attempt was from the longer experimental distance is of little solace considering Freese’s strength was supposed to be his accuracy. Closing the half with a 55-yard field goal was a nice way to (likely) close out his night.
- The coaching staff indicated that they’ll blitz more on defense but the overall philosophy is about keeping opposing offenses guessing. That was on display in the first half as the Lions were able to put pressure on Matt Schaub via the blitz as well a base pass rush. Jason Jones was able to force a Schaub throwaway on third down with a nice inside-out stunt that freed him on the outside.
- It was a total defensive effort in forcing the turnover that ended the Raiders’ opening drive. The pass rush may not have forced Schaub to get rid of the ball earlier than he wanted to but they did collapse the pocket so that Schaub couldn’t step into it. Rashean Mathis got a hand in as the receiver went for the catch and deflected it away for James Ihedigbo to pick off.
- Matthew Stafford was very impressive, finishing his three drives with nine completions on ten attempts for 88 yards and two touchdowns. The one incompletion wasn’t a great pass but could have, maybe should have, been caught by Reggie Bush.
- One of those Stafford touchdown passes went to Kris Durham who went up and over TJ Carrie and showed strong hands in securing the football in the end zone. The Lions have other big targets in the red zone but that play was a plus showing for Durham.
- While the first team offense largely clicked tonight, there is major work to be done in the screen game. The Lions tried to set up screen passes on a couple of occasions but didn’t get anything out of them.
- George Winn didn’t get a chance to carry the ball in the first half but the impression he made last week seems to have paid off in the form of first-team special teams duties. Winn capitalized with solid play on kick units, including a couple solo tackles. Another good showing as a member of the offense after halftime, and it’s time to seriously start talking about a spot on the final roster.
- The Lions did a good job avoiding penalties last week but not so much in the first half tonight They had five penalties all game last week but seven so far tonight. A 12 men on the field penalty on a made Raiders field goal extended a drive and allowed the Raiders to trade in those three points for seven. The Lions were also victimized by the league’s point of emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact. We’ll see how much that emphasis actually carries into the regular season.