Offense Finds A Spark Behind Jim Bob Cooter, Leads To A Win.
The Lions returned home after an embarrassing loss to the Bears to take on the Eagles. The first half had a good impression by Jim Bob Cooter and everything looked like it took a complete 180. Then the second half happened and the Eagles were allowed back in the game. Detroit was lucky to force two turnovers late and get a game winning field goal and comeback to win for the Lions. Lets’s breakdown what happened.
Jim Bob Cooter’s Offense
Matthew Stafford had a good day today. He ended 19/25 for 180 yards and three touchdowns. He did fumble the ball and it cost Detroit points, but he made good throws and scrambled to avoid the sack as many times as he could. While he didn’t have the yards, he scored three times and that helped.
Rushing the ball is still a problem with only two running backs for Detroit. Theo Riddick had 11 carries for 49 yards and Zach Zenner had seven carries for nine yards. Golden Tate helped the rushing game somewhat, getting three carries for six yards. Detroit needed his help with Washington and Abdullah out with injuries. Overall it was a poor performance once again.
Receivers were a mixed bag. Andre Roberts had a drop, which increases the total to 10, a league leading stat which is something we shouldn’t be happy to lead. Jim Bob Cooter said Golden Tate would have a big game, and he did improve, but nothing too special. Tate ended with three catches for 39 yards along with those three carries. Anquan Boldin had four catches for 48 yards. Marvin Jones had four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. Theo Riddick lead the team with six catches for 33 yards and two touchdowns.
The offensive line was once again not impressive. Laken Tomlinson was benched for Graham Glasgow and the team ended up with only 81 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Also Stafford was sacked three times. You really can’t win games with your quarterback getting hit and your rushing attack being irrelevant, Detroit was able to barely escape with it today.
Teryl Austin’s Defense
The defensive line wasn’t able to do much. Haloti Ngata left the game with a shoulder injury, which lead more from the depth guys. The Eagles had over 100 yards on the ground and part of it was because the defensive tackles couldn’t wrap up. They did have three sacks, but couldn’t do anything else. Devin Taylor lead the line with three tackles and one sack. Kerry Hyder went his first game this season without a sack, which was disappointing to see since he was the starter with Wallace Gilberry out.
The linebacking core also struggled. Tahir Whitehead had 12 tackles and had two pass deflections. His coverage skills weren’t horrible, but like the defensive line, nobody could tackle. The Eagles had many broken tackles this game and it was because of poor tackling by the entire defense.
The pass defense was inconsistent. When they were in zone, the Eagles were able to get easy yards and complete passes. In man, Detroit was making stops and shutting down drives. Darius Slay was the MVP of the game though, forcing a fumble on a third down late in the fourth. It lead to a game winning field goal by Matt Prater. Then in the two minute drive for the Eagles on the first play, Wentz threw it deep and it was picked off by Slay, for Wentz’s first career interception. Slay overall looked good with three tackles and two pass deflections to go along with it. Glover Quin who had four tackles. Tavon Wilson returned to action and had five tackles.
Special Teams did it’s job. Sam Martin had three punts for 159 yards, one ending inside the 20 as another came close but Don Carey couldn’t keep the ball in play. Matt Prater made his only field goal attempt from 29 yards out. Andre Roberts had two kick returns for 33 yards, he still doesn’t understand that when you are in the endzone you shouldn’t return the kick. Especially when you can’t get passed the 25 yard line.
Week Five: What It Means
Golden Tate was lined up as a running back and did more jet sweep plays this week than ever before this season. It could mean that Jim Bob Cooter is going to use Tate in more than one way. Tate has been used like this before, but this is the first appearance of it in 2016.
Graham Glasgow was in at left guard over Laken Tomlinson as the game went on. No word on an injury as it looked like Detroit is finally tired of Laken Tomlinson suffering and affecting the offense as a whole. Glasgow could start next week if he performs well.
Detroit couldn’t tackle for the life of them: defensive lineman, linebackers or defensive backs. Everyone had issues and it cost the team many plays. Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles were able to run through the line and escape the defenders, shaking them off. Detroit will be practicing that heavily next week.
Week Five What to Think About
This was another comeback win for Detroit and this shouldn’t have been one. Detroit was dominating in the first half and once again, came out quiet in the second half. They went from 199 yards to under 75. Detroit went from allowing just 10 points, to 13 and giving up plays by poor tackling.
The refs picked up another flag against the Lions. An illegal receiver downfield was called and after the booth reviewed the play to see if it was a catch, they got rid of it. This was the same crew that picked up the flag in Dallas in 2014, and the fact that they did it again against the Lions is insane. Detroit hasn’t been the only team to be picked on by the refs this year, just ask the Browns.
Detroit forced it’s third turnover this year. Detroit needs to start forcing more in order to win some games. The fumble recovery helped them greatly and without it, Detroit may not have won this game. Turnovers easily help win games and it showed here.
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