Sunday, October 11, 2009
So Close, Yet So Far
The Lions did not play that well today but did enough to have a shot to tie it at the end of the game. Daunte Culpepper was solid but unspectacular, but came off the bench this week to get pummeled by the number 1 defense in the league. With Calvin Johnson lost in the first quarter to injury, the Lions relied on a good game from Derrick Williams and Dennis Northcutt to move the ball. The running game was absent again for Detroit, with only a few nice runs (broken play by Culpepper, Felton gash up the middle) and a couple powerful runs by Kevin Smith. For some reason, Linehan thought the Running back draw from the shotgun would be effective and it was called about 3 dozen times. The play calling wasn't great, but considering all the injuries it was satisfactory. The defense did step up and get a stop when the Lions needed one, and added a few sacks on top of that. The pick six by Will James was the best defensive play in a long time. The Lions got screwed by the Tom Brady Rule today when DT Landon Cohen brushed up against Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben sold the hit, negating a interception by Eric King. The Steelers than took the ball into the end zone. A rare miss from Jason Hanson hurt the Lions as well, but not as much as when Culpepper fumbled the snap and tried to throw the ball away, only to pass it right to the Steelers. Culpepper showed a lot of rust and reminded us why he turned the ball over so often in Minnesota. Overall, the Lions are improving and have come a long way. Without the starting QB and your best player (Johnson) they played above average. A couple of stupid penalties taken away and a break here or there and the Lions could have stole the game against the defending champs. I can now appreciate Stafford a little more. I hope we can solve some of our OL problems from within this year. DeAndre Levy continues to impress and Julian Peterson may be better as a LB/DE hybrid the rest of the way. The Lions just do not have the talent to win consistently unless they play a near perfect game against a equally talented team. Next week the Lions travel to Green Bay to take on the well rested Packers. Then the bye week follows for the Lions as they try to regroup and get a little healthier into the home stretch.