Today I "live" blog the Lions' third preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. I will only be blogging the first half, as I saw and commented on the second half on twitter. For my thoughts on the second half, head to my twitter timeline (hint: there was CAPSLOCK PANIC aplenty).
14:50 - Tully with the coverage, Suh with the sack. This is how things are supposed to go.
14:30 - That is not how things are supposed to go. This is a very well-blocked run by Raiders, but Corey Williams makes the mistake they needed. Williams tries to sidestep his blocker. Problem is: this blocker has no interest in Williams and heads to the second level. This hesitation by Williams gets him behind in the play and as a result, he also gets in Suh's way. Willie Young ALMOST gets a hand on him in the backfield but he was the only chance before this run was headed for the first down chains.
14:00 - Neato formation alert!
The Lions bring a safety into the box (John Wendling in this case) and put him on the end. The rest of the line shifts to the right. The Lions did this a lot on Saturday, and it's likely something we'll see against run-heavy teams.
12:30 - Defensive ends continue to get sucked in by misdirection plays, and safeties continue to bail them out with great positioning and tackling.
11:00 - Lions bring two linebackers to blitz on third and short and neither get there. It puzzles me how poor this team is at blitzing. Same story last year.
8:40 - Kind of shocking to type these words, but the secondary bailed out the rest of the defense on the first drive. Very solid tackling from the back four.
8:20 - Kevin Smith starts the game. I KNEW Leshoure didn't really exist.
8:00 - OH MY GOD, IT'S HIM. DID YOU SEE THE MOVE HE PUT ON THE GUY IN THE BACKFIELD. HE'S REAL AND HE'S MOVES SO MAJESTICALLY!
7:05 - Great bubble screen set up for Burleson. Unfortunately, both Pettigrew and Peterman decide not to block anybody.
5:45 - OH MAN, DID YOU SEE LESHOURE CATCH THAT PASS THAT WAS BEHIND HIM AND TURN IT INTO SIX YARDS? GLORIOUS. #LESHOUREGASM
4:30 - So the story of the offensive line for the 20th year in a row is going to be: above average in pass protection, completely absent in run blocking. Great.
3:00 - OKAY THAT WAS SERIOUSLY THE BEST RUN FIVE YARD RUN I'VE EVER SEEN. SHOOK TWO PEOPLE SO HARD OUT OF THEIR SHOES THEY HAD TO GO TO THE SIDELINES FOR NEW EQUIPMENT. #LESHOUREGASM
1:50 - Our kicker is better than yours.
End of first quarter: So our defense holds tight, and gets a three-and-out. Our offense drives pretty far down the field and gets some points. This game is going pretty well. We'll probably just cruise through the rest of the game. Yup. Nothing bad is going to happen the rest of the game.
14:36 - LOOK WHERE BACKUS IS.
Not only does Backus fail to seal the edge, but he's driven literally FIVE YARDS into the backfield. Another bad day for him (at least in terms of run blocking).
13:13 - Scheffler doesn't sell the run well enough on 3rd and short, and is completely covered. Stafford tries to fit the ball in a small window to Titus, but it's low. Nothing more frustrating than 3rd and short failures.
Oh, apparently something else important happened on this play. Leshoure hilariously whiffs on a block and things get considerably less hilarious when we find out the guy he missed broke a blood vessel in Stafford's left hand. BAD LESHOURE. SIT IN A CORNER AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE DONE (It's so hard to yell at the little guy. You can see in his eyes he didn't mean to do it. But you gotta give him tough love or he'll think he's the alpha male.)
13:00 - Levy missed tackle. Drink.
11:30 - This is a great example of how the replacement refs' incompetency could cause serious injury. The Lions clearly jump offsides and encroach. The play should be blown dead, since Tulloch is in the backfield and has a free shot at anyone. Luckily, Tulloch assumes the play is going to be blown dead and gives up on the play. If Tully had played assuming there was no whistle, he could have seriously hurt someone not expecting to get hit before the play even started.
10:33 - Unreal catch by Heyward-Bay. I want to get mad at Justin Miller, but he got a hand in there and almost made a good play on a clear mismatch.
8:39 - Laughably bad pass interference call on Erik Coleman.
6:29 - I know they ended up ceding a touchdown, but it's good to know the Lions defense still excels in short-yardage situations. By the way, touchdown was the correct call on the McFadden run.
6:12 - Raiders announcers freaking out that Janikowski is injured, but HAVE FAILED TO MENTION THAT STAFFORD IS INJURED.
3:00 - Just a terrible outing by the offense after the Willie Young pick. First play, Backus fails to completely pull and block the streaking linebacker. Loss of one. Second play, Raiola gets pushed five yards back into Shaun Hill's grill, forcing a quick incompletion. Third play, low throw by Hill forces Megatron to fall and get no yards after the catch. Fourth down: another bad thrown by Hill on a gimme touchdown to Calvin.
Pretty disappointing to see Hill given two opportunities with great field position and turn them into three measly points. While the first drive wasn't really on him (badly missed illegal contact penalty), the second was. Field goals aren't going to cut it with this defense.
1:30 - Missed tackle by Justin Miller could have gotten the Lions off the field on third down. Can't have plays like that when the roster cuts ax is so near.
That wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. The defense held up fairly well, caused two turnovers, and didn't get burned for a big play outside of the ridiculous catch by Heyward-Bay. The biggest disappointments were the offensive line's run blocking and Shaun Hill's inaccuracies.
However, the secondary continues to make me NOT panic and is tackling well in run coverage. Stafford still moved the ball efficiently, and special teams looked much better. If Stafford would've been in the game, I have full confidence that the Lions would've led at halftime and there wouldn't have been any panic.
In the end, this game didn't teach me much I already didn't know. The run game will still struggle, the defense will bend but will be hard to break, the offense is reliant on Matthew Stafford. The only thing I really DID learn is that Mikel Leshoure exists...and that he gives me a #Leshouregasm