If the Detroit Lions were to have a team slogan, it would have to be "it's better late than never." Yet again, the Lions roared back from some large deficits, scoring a touchdown in the final five minutes to stun the Seattle Seahawks. This come from behind hunt saw the successful return of Matthew Stafford, the continued development of Ryan Broyles, the explosiveness of Titus Young and the rejuvenation of Detroit's stale passing game. It also saw yet another wonderful late drive, solid defense and an abrupt reversal of fortune with the yellow flag.
All in all, it was another productive Sunday at Ford Field, but what else is there to ruminate about as the cats take down the birds?
The Slow Starts Continue, But Maybe That's This Team's Comfort. For weeks, we've harped on the Lions inability to get off to better starts in the first half. They still haven't led a game at halftime yet this year, but have been able to rally in three of four games. It might be time for fans and media alike to just appreciate the fact that this team prefers to come from behind. Today, they trailed 17-7 and 24-21 before putting it together and clawing back. They started terribly, but in the NFL, it's always about how you finish. Once again, the finish was immaculate.
Titus Young Stepped Up Big. That's the type of performance Lions' fans want to see out of Young, who was needed today in the absence of Nate Burleson and the ineffective play of Calvin Johnson. He hauled in two touchdowns for 100 yards including the game winner, and better yet, moved the chains with some productive catches on the sidelines the rest of the game. Perhaps Burleson's injury can be the moment which turns the tide in Young's career and keeps him developing in the right direction. Today's performance was an excellent first step.
Despite Everything, Matthew Stafford Was Good. Whenever Seattle scored a touchdown, Stafford was able to lead the Lions to a suitable response, including a clutch drive late in the game to secure the win. Statistically, this was one of his better performances of the season, as he passed for 352 yards throwing three touchdowns and rushing for a fourth with only one interception. Stafford looked better in the pocket today, and outside of a handful of bad throws, made some confident tosses. Being that this performance came against an excellent secondary, this should be considered an excellent step forward this young season.
Penalties Were A Problem, Then Suddenly, They Were Not. Whatever Jim Schwartz and company said to the team at halftime must have worked. Early on, the Lions looked completely incompetent, jumping offside several times and prolonging a Seattle drive by lining up wrong on a punt. Then, somewhat miraculously, the second half saw Detroit tighten things up and play with much more focus. If it were that easy to flip a switch, why didn't it happen before? Discipline was much better in the second half, and that helped Detroit score a late win. If Schwartz needs to drive the point home that good discipline is key, he need only show tape of the first half.
Give The Defense, Specifically The Secondary, Credit For Banding Together. Despite the injury to Louis Delmas and Jacob Lacey as well as Bill Bentley being out, the group banded together and played well. They did allow two touchdowns through the air, but Ricardo Silva stepped in for Delmas and grabbed a big interception, thwarting a Seattle drive. The defense had a tough drive late, but the Seahawks converted some short passes on third downs to move the chains. All in all, the defense held together well aside from a busted play on Marshawn Lynch and a few blown coverages.
Lions? In addition to Young and Stafford, Ryan Broyles played great, snagging yet another touchdown and doing well. Corey Williams was impressive in the interior, blowing up several running plays despite going offside early. In fact, many defensive linemen played well, and the group performed excellently as a whole. Give great credit to Joique Bell for grinding out tough yardage and coming up with a huge catch on third down late.
Lambs? Ashlee Palmer, filling in for the injured DeAndre Levy, was abused late in the game on a tight end route in the corner of the end zone. Willie Young had a rough day off the edge and aided Seattle's first scoring drive with a bad penalty. The Seahawks were rolling Russell Wilson his way routinely, knowing he'd over commit.
What About The Five Things? Today. we said it would be important to watch and see if the Lions could rattle Russell Wilson. Surprisingly, the rookie did a nice job, but did throw a big interception in the fourth quarter. The passing game did good, putting up three touchdowns and over 300 yards in an impressive performance. Marshawn Lynch went over 100 yards with a touchdown, but did so on a 77 yard scamper. Otherwise, he was held in check. Turnovers were a push, but Seattle did have two to Detroit's one. The home atmosphere was good today, and the Ford Field crowd was impassioned late, providing a exciting nice edge.
Stalking The Next Prey: The Lions head to Jacksonville for a clash with the Jaguars at 1 p.m. next Sunday on Fox.
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