Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Three Days Late "Live" Blog: Lions vs. Vikings

Alright, here we go. Slow starts have plagued the first three weeks. With the Lions fanbase struggling to come to terms with last week's loss at Tennessee, we need the Lions to come out hot to keep the fans rockin Ford Field...

First Quarter:
14:48 - ...of course. Of course the Vikings return it for a touchdown. Because on the eve of one of the most disappointing losses in the team's recent history, why wouldn't the Lions spot the Vikings seven quick points? Awesome.

14:40 - Okay, I guess if the offense is going to come out strong, I can live with the occasional special team's blunder.* By the way, how ridiculous is it that on an obvious free play like that, Calvin Johnson is actually open?

*not true

13:10 - Lions settle for three after the big pass interference penalty. Disappointing, but no one was open on the passing plays and the one running play didn't work. Don't underestimate this Vikings defense.

13:02 - It's like a pooch kick, one play too late. Isn't it ironic, dontcha think?**

**it's not

10:29 - Deandre Levy with another solid tackle. Continuing to improve.

7:53 -

6:10 - Backus embarassed by Jared Allen, Peterman embarrassed by Letroy Guion. End drive. 

3:42 - Ricardo Silva with a solid tackle in the open field. Safeties have been okay at tackling as long as they aren't trying to take down Peterson.

3:11 - Not a lot of contact on the pass interference. Looks like Jerome Simpson dives for the ball right after the hand-battling, creating the illusion that Bill Bentley shoved him. But if Bentley turns his head, no illusion. 

1:56 - Very strange/awesome moment on this third down. The camera cuts to this guy in the crowd. 

Dressed more appropriately for a Black Keys concert, this guy is clearly distraught and for some reason is screaming "WHAT THE FUCK?!?" Why is he screaming this? Because the Lions are losing? Because he lost his awesome, retro NES controller iPhone cover? I don't know, but it's awesome. 

Oh, and Chris Houston is my hero. 

Second Quarter:
14:30 - Miscommunication between Backus and Pettigrew sends a defender into the backfield, resulting in a five yard loss on first down. Another drive killer, thanks offensive line!

13:10 - This is my favorite moment in FOX broadcasting history. After forcing a false-start, the crowd is so loud that I can't hear the sideline reporter. Sideline reporting is the most useless aspect of a football broadcast and no one would miss it if it was gone. It's clearly just an excuse to hire "pretty" women or overweight men. 

13:04 - The Lions defense summed up in two pictures:

That's both safeties missing badly on Peterson. This play got the Vikings out of a deep hole early.

10:00 - A devastating PI call on Bentley. Again, there isn't much contact, and Simpson, once again, created the illusion that Bentley shoved him. If Bill turns his head, Simpson is likely called for offensive pass interference. The refs are being tricked*** into seeing pass interference because Simpson is drawing it, but also because Bentley is making himself vulnerable.

2:34 - Do penalties get more ridiculous than this? Burleson gets suplexed as the DB is trying to bring him to the ground. But how exactly is he supposed to tackle him? He's trying to prevent him from gaining any extra yards, and the easiest way to bring him down is to pull him exactly backwards. Amazingly terrible call/rule.

1:50 - Jesus, what a way to end the drive. Stafford holds onto the ball too long and takes an unnecessary sack on first down. Megatron drops a touchdown after a good defensive play. Then Pettigrew plays like Pettigrew and drops an easy touchdown on third down. Putrid end to the Lions best drive of the day.

:58 - Hey there, Cliff Avril, nice to see you. An almost-interception on first down, then two plays later, you abused the right tackle and picked up a half-sack. Please, keep doing stuff like this. I like it.

Third Quarter
13:30 - Lions quickly go three-and-out to start the second half. That couldn't have gone worse...

13:10 - ...kill me. That was absolutely inexcusable. Osgood whiffs on a free shot. The returner made no move, Osgood just whiffed. Not only should he have made the tackle, but he should have laid the dude OUT. Of course, he teammates don't help him out with Joique Bell, Erik Coleman and Don Muhlbach joining the Missed Tackle Parade. 

12:28 - Burleson with a HUGE catch. He's easily been the Lions most consistent player this year and is extremely underrated.

11:21 - [Charlie Brown] ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH [/Charlie Brown]
Lions fail to pick up third and one with absolutely no push by the o-line on a rushing play. Fourth and one from the Vikings 40 yard line, have to go for it. Did not. Coaching disappointment +1.

8:45 - Levy with back-to-back solid tackles. Drink?

7:03 - Lions go three-and-out after Stephan Logan gets them good field position. Titus Young with the drop this time. Offense is really killing the team right now.

5:45 - Lions force a three-and-out with consistent pressure on Ponder. Defensive line starting to bring it.

4:45 - In danger of going three-and-out again, Stafford throws a dart to Pettigrew on third down for a crucial first down. 

4:25 - Leshoure hits the second level for the first time all game, and fumbles. *ulti-sigh*

2:16 - Peterson starting to gash the Lions tired defense. It would be nice if the offense could hold onto the ball for more than four plays at a time. 

Fourth Quarter
14:55 - Very rare miss by Tulloch, but it's a bad one. Could have forced a punt, but Peterson broke it, and picked up five more yards, to boot.

13:19 - Lions bailed out by another missed field goal, but this was not a good defensive drive. Vikings took six minutes off the clock and picked up several first downs when the Lions defense had a chance to get off the field.

9:51 - This is my biggest pet peeve of football fans. It's fourth and five, the Lions need to score on this possession and the crowd is going insane. SHUT. UP. I know you're excited and I know this is a big play for your favorite team, but stop acting like a four year old and learn to control your emotions. The Lions need it to be quiet. The Vikings are showing blitz, and this would have been a great opportunity for Stafford to change protection or call a hot route. This is made infinitely more difficult with a loud crowd. With no opportunity to audible, Stafford takes a sack before any of the route develops. Smarten up, home crowd.

7:40 - Suh takes down Peterson with one hand. No big deal. Now if he could only get off blocks as easily.

2:58 - Very interesting touchdown drive for the Lions. On at least three occasions, Stafford is looking down field and can't find anyone open. He properly throws it away or scrambles for yards. Once Stafford starts taking the check-downs the Vikings are offering, Detroit starts to easily drive down the field. Obviously, the Vikings are allowing that stuff late in the game, but perhaps this strategy would've been successful earlier in the game, as well.

2:53 - This is a brilliant play call by the Vikings. An incomplete pass here is not as devastating as most people think. Timeouts are much more valuable on defense than they are on offense (you can save 40 seconds on defense, while you can only save the amount of time between plays (15-20 seconds) on offense). So if this pass is knocked away, the Lions will have one more timeout for the offense (+20 seconds). But if it's complete, the Vikings have two plays that can't be stopped by a timeout (-1:20). As it turns out, the Lions got the benefit of the two minute warning, as well, but still an excellent call. And being only second down, the Vikings could pretty much guarantee that Bentley would be man-to-man on Simpson. 

1:43 - Okay, I get it. The Vikings are only giving you dump-offs. But when you're 98 yards away with no timeouts and need a touchdown, 22 seconds for nine yards is not a good trade-off. Take a chance.

0:44 - I don't want to be mad at someone as awesome as Calvin Johnson, but COME ON Calvin Johnson. Can't afford drops on the final drive.

0:18 - Stafford: What...what....what are you doing? You escape pressure up the middle: good. You stop looking down field and look to scramble for yards: BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD. Even if there's plenty of room, you have no timeouts and your receivers are waaaaaaaaaay downfield. At the very best, you barely get a spike in time, and have an outside chance at a hail mary from midfield. Throw. The ball. Away.

0:00 - Stupid. Stafford escapes to his right to buy more time, even though he has plenty room where he is (and there is a lane to step up on his left, if he likes) and when pressure comes, instead of letting it go, he turns to find Jared Allen waiting and turtles. A fitting end to this game.

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