Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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

These aren't getting any easier to do...

First Quarter

15:00 - For those still complaining about the Lions taking the ball instead of deferring, I've got one question for you: do you really think the defense is better than the offense?

13:44 - I think we all know by now that Mikel Leshoure doesn't have great hands, but maybe put a little touch on it, Stafford?

13:32 - Nick Harris with a 50-yard punt with enough hang time to draw a fair catch. This will be his best punt of the rest of his career.

13:00 - Andrew Luck staring down his favorite target, Reggie Wayne, he's covered tightly by Chris Houston. Luck panics, and finds himself covered in Suh.

8:57 - On the Lions' third down play, if Stafford wasn't feeling the pressure (after Gosder Cherilus got beat terribly) he could have waited as Mike Thomas was breaking open over the middle (with a little help from a Pettigrew pick). Instead, he forced a pass to Calvin Johnson, who wasn't ready for the pass.

8:49 - *grumblegrumblewhycouldn'tyoudothatlastweekgrumblegrumble*

8:14 - This incomplete pass by Luck could have very well been a fumble. It's a shame we never got a slow-mo replay to see if the ball was loose in Luck's hands when he started moving his arm forward. Good awareness by Levy to pick up the ball and run, just in case.

8:00 - Speedy receivers are this defense's kryptonite. The reason? They can take advantage of our terrible safeties and the terrible angles they take.

6:29 - Good defensive call on third-and-11, as Delmas blitzes untouched, but Drayton Florence gets beaten badly and Luck delivers a great ball off his back foot. Disappointing defensive drive, as they were successful on four of six plays. But those two plays were killer.

5:34 - Great patience and elusiveness by Joique Bell on the screen. Also, Peterman as a lead blocker on a screen is hilarious. He runs frantically looking to his left and right, while choosing not to block anyone.

4:47 - Jesus, Tony Scheffler. Unbelievable.

4:40 - Side note, if I'm not mistaken, Ryan Broyles tore his ACL on his only catch of the day. After the catch, he got up immediately (with a slight limp) and played the next play. Love this guy.

4:00 - I love that the Lions hustled to the line to prevent a review of the Scheffler catch, but it'd be nice to run a play that isn't a complete waste.

1:48 - Yes, it was an excellent grab by Pettigrew. But that's what we were expecting of him when we drafted him in the first round. Do it consistently, now.

1:18 - Holy crap, look at the job the defensive line does on this run:

Party in the backfield, everyone's invited.
0:29 - Justin Durant with a beautiful read on the third down pass. Haven't seen a lot of linebackers make plays in the passing game this season. Gotta catch it though, man.

Second Quarter

13:36 - Third-and-1, Logan as the half back, Leshoure as the full back. Pretty obvious play call. It worked, though.

12:50 - OUTSTANDING play from Stafford. His initial read to Scheffler is not open and pressure is coming. He looks to Pettigrew, who doesn't appear to be open. But Stafford throws him open. Just look at how "covered" Pettigrew is when Stafford releases the ball:

Stafford's throw to the inside allows Pettigrew to break open and get the first down and more.

12:12 - Calvin. Johnson.

11:27 - Leshoure has been incredibly valuable in the red zone. It's nice to say that about anybody not named Calvin Johnson.

11:16 - This screen works because the linebackers are terribly confused by everything. First, the play action gets the linebackers close to the line of scrimmage. When they realize it's a pass, they turn their heads and run back at full speed.

Both Levy and Tulloch are wildly out of position and both have their heads turned away from the play, so they cannot recognize the screen. Yet Levy still has a chance at making the play. Instead, he takes a bad angle and it's a foot race.

9:47 - Really tough pass to defend, especially considering Levy is not much of a pass defender. He's in good position, but the pass is nearly perfect and the safety has no chance to get there in time.

8:55 - Mike Thomas. The only player in the world who can make me think -- even if it's for just a millisecond -- "I miss Titus Young."

8:25 - These offside penalties are like gnats. They're pesky, but easily ignorable. That is, until you finally swing at one of those gnats and accidentally smash your flat-screen TV. In this case, your flat-screen is an interception.

8:16 - Great interception by Florence, who had been having a terrible game up to this point. But perhaps one of the biggest bone-headed block in the backs I've ever seen. Jacob Lacey pushes Luck INTO Florence, allowing Andrew to force him out of bounds and picking up a 10-yard penalty in the process. Florence probably scores without the block.

8:08 - PD (Pettigrew Drop).

6:23 - Lions defensive tackles are just dominating the game. Suh and Fairley nearly force the three-and-out on their own. On second down, Suh evades his lineman and forces the run inside, where Fairley has pushed his guy back four yards. This allows Suh to catch up and make the tackle. On third down, both have a chance to sack Luck, but they miss. Still, their pursuit forced a bad throw.

5:06 - I'm not entirely sure that Stafford isn't trying to throw this ball away, but if he isn't, that is the greatest touch I've ever seen on a pass.

3:51 - PD

1:50 - Don't know what in the world Luck saw with that throw, but I'll take it.

1:06 - Stafford was throwing this ball to Pettigrew the entire way. Unfortunately, he didn't see Robert Mathis drop into coverage. Terrible mistake to make in Colts territory.

Third Quarter

12:05 - A rare missed tackle by Delmas allows Ballard to skip into the endzone. Delmas hesitated initially, giving himself a tougher angle to take him down. Rough way to start the half.

6:46 - Suh beating double teams, making a tackle for loss. No big deal.

5:45 - Mike Thomas drop #3. This does not bode well.

5:36 - I LOVE the middle screen. But the defensive tackle read this perfectly. Shame.

4:59 - Calvin Johnson's arm gets tugged hard, but no call. Megatron gets no respect.

3:56 - Logan is actually a pretty good punt returner...assuming he catches the ball.

0:02 - Third-and-12: Wait and wait in the pocket until Johnson breaks open. I like that play call.

Fourth Quarter

12:50 - Random question: is there a logical reason why horse-collar tackles are illegal but pulling a guy's hair from behind is legal? Seems to me both present the same injury threat.

11:34 - Avril with a HUGE strip sack. If Suh gets that ball, game over.

10:28 - This is why film review is so much fun. On Joique Bell's huge run, Rob Sims laid a HUGE block. Gosder almost blew it by barely getting enough of the other linebacker, but it did the trick:

If you look closely, you can actually see the linebacker's spirit leaving his body upon contact. Little known fact: all Colt players' spirits look like a 3rd grader's drawing of an angel.

9:36 - Stafford with a pass behind Johnson. If they connect there, game over.

6:49 - Great defensive series by the Lions here. After allowing the Colts a few passes underneath, burning a lot of clock, Florence breaks up a first-down pass, Vanden Bosch forces an incompletion, and Don Carey doesn't drop a pass thrown right to him. 99 times out of 100, the game is now over.

5:40 - Lions gain a first down off of two rushes. 999 out of 1000, the game is over now.

4:18 - I wrote about this clock management yesterday, but long story short: it was pretty stupid of the Lions to throw it twice here. If the Lions chose to run it three times instead, the ball game comes down to an onside kick, at worst.

4:14 - If Stafford doesn't throw it behind Calvin on third down, game over.

3:29 - Look at this screen grab for a second.

Study it. Look at the down-and-distance. Look at the field position. Look at the score and the time remaining. No professional team should lose the game at this point. None.

3:12 - If Florence doesn't drop that interception, game over.

2:39 - Ugh. If I watch this play one more time, I'm going to do something horribly regrettable. Nothing to break down, Florence just absolutely cannot lose track of the man behind him. Completely inexcusable. All the Lions had to do here was keep allowing Luck to complete passes over the middle and bleed clock. Instead, they allowed a big play which let the Colts score quickly without using a timeout.

2:29 - Very smart play to test the Colts pass defense on second down here. Running three times is the wrong call. Getting a first down is much more important than making the Colts use their final timeouts. And waiting until third down to throw the ball is a bit too predictable. The play call pays off and the Lions get a pass interference call. Now the Lions have a free down that cannot be stopped by a timeout nor the two minute warning.

1:14 - NOW, running the ball three times was the right call.

1:07 - If Nick Harris can pin the Colts inside their own 20 yard line FROM THE 50 YARD LINE, game over.

0:45 - I have no idea how, in the prevent defense, you allow a 26 yard pass downfield to the number one receiver. Delmas was late to react, Lacey didn't drop back far enough. Killer.

0:18 - If Lo-Jack makes that sack, game over.

0:14 - Hey, Don Carey made an excellent play in crunch-time. Maybe there is hope for us yet!

0:08 - If Jacob Lacey makes that pick, game over. (granted that would have been a pretty tough interception)

0:04 - Those sideline shots of Stafford break my heart. Seriously. He has stepped his game up in the past three weeks. He deserves better.

0:00 - In case you're wondering, no, it doesn't feel any better the second time around. Lacey was way out of position. Here's how the play design looked:

Lions are in zone coverage with Lacey's designation highlighted. Here's how the play progressed:

A man comes into Lacey's zone and Jacob correctly side-steps with him a few feet. Meanwhile, he does not notice the underneath route developing. Soon after, Lacey stops, still in the correct spot and allows the other receiver to release into another man's zone. HOWEVAAA...

As Luck scrambles, Lacey drifts to his right, leaving his zone. I have no idea why he does this. Obviously he does not see the inside route, but even if he didn't, he should have stayed in his zone to prevent Luck from running the ball in. Instead, there was a huge hole in the zone, and it was an easy score.

Fun stuff.

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