Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Three Days Late "Live" Blog: Lions at Vikings

Let it be known that I really don't want to watch this game again. Which means it's very unlikely that anyone would want to read this. But if you are a person, and you do want to read this, congratulations: you are as broken as I am...or you are Vikings fan. If you are a Vikings fan, go away. I currently don't like you.

First Quarter:

14:56 - Logan is running scared out there. He doesn't look like he has any confidence in himself.

14:50 - Dominic Raiola pushed three feet into the backfield on the first play. Oh boy.

13:30 - Two first downs in a row on solid catches from Calvin and Pettigrew. Proooogress.

13:05 - Aaaaaaand there it is: the "young player mistake." A crackback block by Broyles pretty much ends the drive where it started.

9:33 - Nick. Fairley. Throws the guard to the side and makes a solid tackle of Peterson well into the backfield. Dude is a beast.

9:00 - The Lions are in a simple zone coverage, two-deep. Safeties just got split, with most of the fault on Coleman. Inexcusable to let anyone get by him.

8:32 - As noted on twitter, the next play the Lions have 14 men on the field. When it rains, it rains urine. (that's how the saying goes, right?)

7:52 - More this year than any I remember, I see the Lions defense talking to each other before the snap in clear confusion. On this touchdown pass, Houston is trying to get everyone's attention. First, he yells something at Jonte Green, then tries to get Silva's attention. Silva doesn't really respond, then blitzes at the snap. Houston is not completely ready at the snap and is basically picked by both corners on the play. There's no route to his receiver, who is wide open. Easy touchdown. This is a great example of how the ever-changing secondary isn't able to develop any sort of chemistry, and it's killing the team.

7:44 - Stafford inaccurate early. On target on one of first four targets.

7:38 - ...which leads to his interception. Stafford fails to step into his throw and it comes out wobbly. Pettigrew is open and a good, strong throw gives the Lions a first down. But there's pressure coming from Stafford's left, and instead of stepping into his throw to his right, he throws flat-footed. He doesn't get the strength needed on the pass, and doesn't throw a spiral, which slows down the pass just enough for Greenway to get a shot at it.

7:31 - No idea why Ponder decided to catch his own pass, but I'm glad he did. Great play by Avril, though.

4:19 - Nothing interesting to say on the Lions three-and-out, other than all the plays looked doomed from the start.

3:30 - Great coverage on Nick Fairley's sack. The ball was supposed to come out quickly, but Jonte Green and Justin Durant did a great job covering the inside slant. Great pursuit and effort from Fairley to prevent Ponder from getting outside of the pocket.

2:54 - There is nothing in the world more frustrating than a special teams penalty on a punt that is likely to be fair caught. I'm sure this play didn't really have any bearing on Alphonso Smith being released this week, but it probably didn't help much.

1:00 - Stafford with a couple of great throws to Titus Young for first downs. Stepped into both throws...

Second Quarter:

14:45 - I complain about the announcers quite a bit (and I'm going to again later), but I can't let this comment go. It's one of the most ignorant, misinformed things I've ever heard.
"On that last play, you see Matthew Stafford break contain. I think a very underrated part of his game -- we all look at his arm talent, his arm strength -- he can move around very well, in addition." 
No. Just no. Stafford's (lack of) mobility is his greatest flaw.

13:00 - Stafford with time and a pocket; dangerous.

11:43 - Happy feet Stafford strikes again. His first option is gone, and he panics. But, as you can see, the pocket is still intact.

Jared Allen is double teamed and not a worry at this point. Both defensive tackles are being held up nicely. In fact, the only defender not accounted for is the left defensive end. So what does Stafford do? Roll right into him.

If Stafford has a little more patience, and just stays where he is, Titus could run his route back to the outside, or maybe Broyles breaks free. But when he rolls to the right, he just ends up shortening the play. If Stafford really felt like the pocket was closing down, he should have shot the gap between Jared Allen and the tackles. There was plenty of room there.

5:25 - Good job by the defense to hold them to a field goal, but overall, a pretty horrific drive. Vikings moved 80 yards down field, with rushes of 15, 20 (scramble) and 14 yards. Considering the Vikings were backed up a their own 15 yard line to start the drive, Lions could have really used a three-and-out to get good field position for once.

2:35 - Lions offense stalls after another bad penalty. Rinse. Repeat.

2:23 - Suh just abused his the guard and forced an incompletion. Man, I'd like to see more of that from him.

1:55 - Well, there ya go. Suh again in the backfield quickly on a screen pass. The guard is supposed to let Suh through, but not that quickly. He almost picks up the sack, which would have been ridiculous on a screen play.

1:30 - Announcer complaint #2: After the obvious non-interception-that-was-called-an-interception-because-the-refs-just-looked-at-each-other-until-someone-had-the-balls-to-finally-make-a-call, the announcer had the audacity to say that was a "good job" by the refs. Now, I understand his point that because they called it an interception, they were allowed to review it and get it right. Whereas, if it were called incomplete, they would not be able to review it and call it a touchdown. But there are a few things wrong with that line of thinking. One: the refs job is not to swallow the whistle, knowing that review can fix their mistakes. Their job is to get it right on the field, and it was embarrassing to call that play a touchdown. Secondly, if that was called incomplete, but was actually an interception, they WOULD be able to review it (and would've, considering it was inside of two minutes left in the half). Granted, Minnesota would not have earned a touchdown on the play, but they still would have given possession to Minnesota. If that was a "good job" by the refs, the bar is set incredibly low.

0:57 - Wow. Stephen Tulloch shot the gap with incredible speed to take Peterson down in the backfield and force a punt. With the Vikings on the doorstep of field goal range, this was a huge play.

Third Quarter:

13:40 - Jerome Simpson celebrates every single catch he makes. I dare you to find a counterexample.

12:42 - Lions send a blitz and Fairley almost gets Ponder to the ground again. Durant, waiting to see if Peterson runs a route, eventually heads to Ponder and lays a licking on him, forcing an inaccurate throw.

11:19 - Leshoure misses the hole on a crucial first down, backed up on their own seven yard line:

The hole is pretty clear and right in front of Leshoure. But Mikel decides to break it outside, giving Allen enough time to bring him down from the back side. Leshoure wasn't likely to pick up a huge amount if he hit the hole, as a free linebacker was waiting for him. However, he would've almost certainly picked up three or four yards, and that's huge when you're backed up. Instead, no gain.

10:43 - "I don't always drop passes, but when I do, I prefer it TO BE TOTALLY DEVASTATING" - Brandon Pettigrew, the most frustrating man in the world.

8:45 - Man, what a devastating third down conversion for the Lions defense. The blitz works, sending an unblocked linebacker right into Ponder's lap, but he gets rid of it in time. Levy is in perfect coverage on Kyle Rudolph and even gets a hand on the pass, but Rudolph manages to somehow hold on.

7:20 - Chris Houston gets turned the wrong way, Ricardo Silva slips, first and goal Vikings. Uggghh.

6:15 - Suh in the backfield again. I can see why Jim Schwartz was all over him on Monday's press conference.

4:10 - Stafford with time and a pocket: deadly.

2:55 - Great throw by Stafford on the Pettigrew touchdown, and I cannot help but be a little angry. Stafford, again, needlessly threw off his back foot. Talent overcomes poor mechanics. Next time, Gadget. Next tiiiiiiiiiiime.

2:54 - It's sad how little confidence the Lions have both in kick returns and kick coverage.

0:00 - Kyle Rudolph just killing the Lions. Seems to pick up every single third down the Vikings desperately need.

Fourth Quarter:

14:15 - If that's not holding, I don't know what football is.

DeAndre Levy just missed knocking this pass down. Still, if the holding is correctly called, the Vikings are facing a crucial third and five-ish instead of dancing in the endzone.

12:20 - I said this on twitter, but that was literally the best play I've ever seen Stafford make out of the pocket. He finds the correct hole to step up into, escapes pressure, keeps his eyes down field, and hits Johnson for a big gain.

11:32 - Great job by the offense. Nice, quick drive. Mixed the run and the pass, and got seven. Back in this game.

10:11 - And the Lions force a quick three-and-out! AND GET A GOOD RETURN OUT OF LOGAN! 52 yards away from a tie game.

9:53 - This was probably the biggest play of the game that was mostly overlooked. On the pitch to Leshoure, Backus is blocking Greenway from the inside to the outside. Leshoure tries to wrap around him. Because Backus cannot contain Greenway from the outside, he decides to grab a hold of them. Flag. Lions already going in the wrong direction.

The problem on that play was two fold: One, Leshoure needs to recognize that Backus hasn't sealed the edge, and there's no way he's going to get around Greenway on his own. He should have made a cut to the inside. However, Backus absolutely cannot get called for a holding at this point in the game. Take the two yard loss, if you have to. But, mostly, this one is on Leshoure.

8:06 - Peterson's long touchdown was just a case of nobody getting off their block, and Suh being too aggressive in his pass rush. I don't like Adrian Peterson.

7:54 - CALVIN JOHNSON, YOU....ugh...I can't yell at you. I love you too much. Just please don't do that again.

7:44 - So the last three non-special teams plays were: Peterson 61-yard touchdown, Megatron fumble, Peterson 21-yard run. Fantastic.

1:55 - Lions dink and dunk their way into the endzone, but, more importantly, burn three minutes off the clock. At least Megatron got in the end zone to shut up Madden Curse believers for a week.

1:52 - I hated this onside kick when they tried it in San Francisco, and I hate it now. Please just try a normal onside kick. It worked once already this year.

1:40 - The only way the game could have ended on a worse play would be if Suh was the one with the personal foul penalty. It would've caused a huge fight, an annoying rant from the announcers, and thousands of wasted words from vindictive football writers. Sammie Lee Hill barely touched Ponder, but had no business touching him at all, so...whatever. Lets go home.


  1. These are worth reading, painful as they might be, to help us as fans evaluate on a more detailed level what is working or not working and what needs to be done going forward either for this season or beyond. Thanks.