This space is generally used to review the five things I suggested to watch during that week’s game. Life kept me from putting together the five things to watch post for the game against the 49ers so this edition of five things in review will be a little different. Rather than sticking with the five things to watch (sicne I didn’t propose any), I’ll discuss five things that stuck out to me from yesterday’s game.
1. It wasn’t Stafford’s fault
Could Matthew Stafford have played better? Yes. Was he the reason the Lions lost? No. He was sacked five times and pressured constantly but did not throw an interception and finished with a non-disastrous 86.5 quarterback rating.
2. Six is better than three
The Lions were forced to kick two field goals after moving inside the 49ers ten yard line. What could have been 14 points ended up being just six because the offense wasn’t able to finish off the last six or seven yards. The game would have been much different if either of those drives had resulted in touchdowns.
3. 49ers won the big play battle
The Lions offense has been successful this season for a variety of reason, one big one being their big play ability. It was on full display last Monday night but they got out-big played yesterday. Ted Ginn Jr. was explosive in the return game and Frank Gore gashed the Lions for big runs on a number of occasions. While the Lions had some nice gains in the passing game, they weren’t consistent enough for them to have the same impact they had a week ago.
4. Until we meet again…
The Lions-49ers game was billed as one of the top matchups of the week and it lived up to it. There isn’t any reason to believe that either team will fall off as the season moves along. I’m ready to anoint the 49ers as NFC West champs and the Lions’ 5-1 start has them in good position for a Wild Card run. Given the hotly contested nature of the game and the post-game scuffle between the head coaches, every football fan should hope the Lions and 49ers meet up again in January.
5. The home field advantage is legit
Ford Field got a lot of credit as a tough place to play following the Lions’ win over the Bears last Monday night. The place was loud and the Bears committed a staggering nine false start penalties. I was hesitant to believe that the Lions suddenly had one of the biggest home field advantages in the league, however. The return of Monday Night Football was an event not to be missed and so even the club level sold out for that game. Since those seats don’t count against the blackout rules, the Lions have played plenty of games in front of supposedly “sold out” crowds with plenty of empty club seats. The Lions buzz has reached a point where even a “regular” game like the one yesterday is starting to fill the club level. Making that a regular occurrence will go a long way towards Ford Field’s reputation for being a tough building for visitors.