The Lions led 14-0, 21-7, and 21-10 at halftime – but failed to score for almost the entire second half en route to a 23-21 Eagles lead. Luckily, they fumbled in the waning minutes, allowing Matthew Stafford & company to march down and allow Matt Prater to ice the game with a field goal. The one point win marks many close games Detroit has played in this season, and we must learn from them.
At 2-3, there is much more hope than at 1-4. If we can build on our early leads by mixing up the run/pass proper, we’ll win much less stressfully. It begins with the basics: tackling and blocking. Too often, defenders force going for the strip or big hit instead of securing the offensive player with a nice wrap-up tackle. Also, you need to swarm the ball – once the runner crosses the line of scrimmage, leave ya man and help! It’s the basics that provide third down stops, prevent big plays, and keep you in the game. We did just enough to give our offense one final chance at the end with solid defense. Even without the fumble, which was brilliantly recovered, we’d have held on 3rd down. With proper basic tackling you WILL force fumbles, it’s better physics when you simply square up and take them right down. Yards after the catch were a problem all day for us.
And we have to block better. We’ve witnessed #9 bail us out time and time again, despite, like on the final pass to Golden Tate III, taking helmet-to-helmet hits and having his o-line look like swiss cheese. If we don’t do that first, protect our quarterback, we have no chance to win games. He will die out there, this is the NFL. The play calling didn’t help, either, with these pussy-ass playing not to win gambles late. Keep it simple, hit your speedsters on slants, give guys open field to make plays, utilize Stafford’s arm with quick hitting catches. And we have to keep them off balance with the run game. Theo Riddick is unstoppable, saving us on that one fourth down. Hit him out of the backfield once they’re over-blitzing and let him run to the outside, not just up the middle predictably.
We have a real chance to turn this season around. Let’s do the little things and give Detroit what it’s always wanted: a trip to the SUPER BOWL.