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Lions Lose to Vikings in Week-3

I apologize for this coming so late. This is seriously the first chance I have had to sit down and write in any of my blogs this week.

The simple fact is, the game against the Vikings was easily the worst in Detroit this year. It could be argued that it was the worst in several years because absolutely everyone believed the Lions would look better than they did.

If I would have told people that the Lions would only allow Favre to get 201 yards and 1 touchdown while throwing 2 interceptions, and Peterson would only get 80 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries against the Lions, nobody would have believed me. Everyone expected Favre and Peterson to have bigger numbers than those. Yet if you take away the one single big play, an 80 yard run for a TD by Peterson, then that is exactly what the Lions did. One mistake play that allowed a long TD. Other than that one play, the Lions defense did a very good job.

The Detroit Lions offense on the other hand, now that was bad. Shaun Hill's stats line was very similar to Brett Favre's. Which is not very good. But the Lions offense lost both Jahvid Best and Nate Burleson for the game.

Once again the Lions play calling was not good. Oh, you might remember two end-arounds and think Linehan was being more imaginative. The problem is one of those was with Calvin Johnson running the ball. Let me tell you now, that play is not going to work. Of anyone you want to hand the ball off to, Calvin Johnson is the last player the Lions should give it to. Think about it and try using some common sense (something Linehan does not seem to have). Who is the most focused on play on the Lions at this time? Calvin Johnson! Almost every play the defenses have double and triple covered him. Take Johnson out of the scheme and you pretty much kill the air game for Detroit. So when Calvin takes off and runs across the backfield and takes a hand-off, what other worldly logic says that the defense might not be ready for him to get the ball? They think they can cover the other receivers one on one. So follow Johnson and make sure he doesn't make a play! Notice that when they used Logan on the End around later on in the game, Logan actually gained 21 yards compared to Johnson's 3. I like that they tried the end-around finally. Now they just have to learn how to use it.

The Lions still have no idea how to use Best. In 7 carries, he had 4 to the left and 3 up the middle. Not one to the right. Not one true play action. Not one single cut back run. Everything is telegraphed to the defense. Nothing to make the defense second guess themselves.

So far in three consecutive losses this season, it has been the Lions offense that has been the biggest problem every game. The offense does not extend drives to take time off the clock. It allows the opposing offense back on the field too quickly, not giving the Lions defense ample rest or better field position to defend. In all three games, the only time the Lions offense has been able to move the ball with any consistency is late in the first half or late in the second half, when they go into a two minute no huddle drive and actually start throwing the ball down field.

Only twice in the game did the Lions have a 3rd down and 2 or less yards to go and used a run play. Once it was for no gain and the other was a 1 yard loss. Yet nearly half of their short yardage plays they will call a run up the middle.

With around 12 to 14 seconds left in the first half, the Lions were trailing 14-7, Schwartz elected to let the clock run down to 3 seconds and kick a field goal from the Minnesota 15 yard line. It was only 2nd down. From the 15 yard line they might have had time to take 2 shots into the end-zone to tie up the game. In the very least they could have taken one shot for the TD and still kicked a field goal if it didn't work. Schwartz would rather take the field goal and stay down by 4 yards than take a chance the Lions offense would screw up and come away with nothing. I have to wonder. Is it a lack of faith in Hill as the quarterback or a lack of faith in Linehan to call a good play?

I still believe the Lions have a team that should beat Minnesota right now. Unfortunately the Lions do not have coaches that can do it.

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