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Lions Lose to Vikings in Week 2

Once again I did not see much blitzing, but for this one week I will let it slide. The defense did a good job of holding Adrian Peterson, arguably the NFL's best running back down to a minimum. In the end however, it was the Lions who beat themselves more than the Vikings good play.

As the Vikings beat the Lions 27 to 13, if I was to lay the fault at one name, it would have to be coach Jim Schwartz. I think he did a decent job today against Minnesota, but it was his one single decision that cost the Lions the game against the Vikings. It was his decision to start the rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford over Daunte Culpepper.

I have made statements and left comments in MLive.com that it was a mistake to start the rookie when you have a decent to good veteran quarterback you can play. I have stated that there would be a couple games this season that the Lions could win with a veteran quarterback where the rookie will make mistakes and lose it. I feel that is what happened today.

Stafford was 18 of 30 with 152 yards and he threw his first NFL touchdown pass, but in the process, he also tossed another two interceptions. Both of those interceptions can be blamed on nobody else but him as he simply did not read the defense. In both cases, it was Minnesota's linebacker, Chad Greenway who made the interceptions. He did not make a great leaping snag and he did not stay low where Stafford could not see him. In both plays, Greenway was easily visible and in the direct line of his receiver. They were passes that Stafford should never have thrown and I have to believe that Culpepper would not have thrown. Both of those interceptions led to Viking touchdowns, which happens to be the 14 point difference in the game.

There was another play where Bryant Johnson got behind the defense and was wide open with a clear path to the end zone. Stafford threw a high blooper of a pass to him that landed nearly ten yards past Bryant Johnson. There were a few passes that Stafford threw where he looked good. On each of those the commentators made a big deal about how good Stafford's arm is. My thought is this... However great his arm is, and even if he makes a few good passes in the games, they do not make up for the interceptions he is throwing. Jim Schwartz said he was ready to play and that was why he made the rookie the starter over the veteran Daunte Culpepper, even though Culpepper out played Stafford in the preseason. If Stafford is ready to be the starter, he needs to start showing it. If he is going to throw as many awful passes as he is good passes, then he should not be the starter. The rookie needs to put up and show he can do the job. If he cannot, then Schwartz should play the veteran. This is not a game of learning and training. That is what the preseason is all about. The goal of the regular season is to win and if Stafford cannot handle the job yet, let him learn on the sideline and during practices.

Still, believe it or not, I am not upset with this loss. I really never expected them to beat the Vikings anyway. I was very impressed with the play of the defense. Their mistakes were few and if you take the two touchdowns away where Stafford interceptions gave the Vikings a short field, the defense would have held the Vikings to only 13 points.

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