A Big Win Against The Saints Gives Detroit More Control In Playoff Hopes!
Detroit has a tough road ahead after the Thanksgiving game. Their first test was the New Orleans Saints and they passed that test better than expected. The offense was strong behind Matthew Stafford and the defense was able to step up and make some key plays with two starting players out at the weakest position on the defense at the linebacker spot. Special Teams helped too with the kicking ability by Matt Prater. Detroit has eight wins at week 13, something not many expected.
Matthew Stafford looked elite today. There, it has been said and he proved it today. While he has been playing great this year, he played great when the team needed him to be instead of not showing up. He used his legs many times today to keep plays alive and he just looked like a playoff quarterback. Stafford finished 30/42 for 341 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two carries for 20 yards as he was able to avoid pressure and create plays with pressure coming in.
Running the ball was an issue again today against the Saints. Zach Zenner lead the team in carries with nine for 40 yards as he would come in for a injured Dwayne Washington. Speaking of Washington, he ended with seven carries for 21 yards before leaving the game with an injury. Theo Riddick couldn’t produce much with two yards on four carries.
No Marvin Jones, no problem for the Lions offense. TJ Jones was signed, brought up and did well. He almost caused an interception, but he ended the game with three catches for 49 yards. Golden Tate was the main receiver with eight catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. Ebron, Roberts and Boldin all had four catches: Ebron with 38 yards, Roberts had 35, while Boldin had 40. Theo Riddick had five catches as well, but for a little: 15 yards and a touchdown.
The offensive line was average again today. They allowed Matthew Stafford to get sacked two times, and didn’t create many holes or chances for the running game. They did give him time in majority of passing plays though, which was crucial in winning this game.
Haloti Ngata was a factor on the defensive line. While they were only able to get to Drew Brees once, they held the running game in check. The Saints had only 50 rushing yards on 12 carries. Ngata did only have one tackle and one pass deflection, but he came close to sacking Brees and he tipped a field goal that still went in. Devin Taylor had the only sack of the game for the line. Ziggy was held without a sack once again, only getting two total tackles.
No Levy, no Whitehead, no problem. As shocking as that is, the linebacking core did its job today with two starters out. Josh Bynes had a team leading eight tackles, one for loss and one pass deflection. Antwione Williams had two tackles, while Thurston Armbrister had one.
The secondary did great today, but had some help by the Saints. The Saints did drop some catchable passes, but the secondary had good coverage for majority of the game. Glover Quin had five tackles, two pass deflections and a big interception to halt the Saints. Darius Slay had three tackles and one pass deflection. Nevin Lawson had seven tackles and Quandre Diggs had one tackle, but would leave the game and not return. Tavon Wilson had four tackles and an interception while Miles Killebrew had three tackles and had an interception to close the game out.
Special Teams was solid today. Sam Martin had two punts for 85 yards, one ending inside the 20. Matt Prater was five for five on field goals, his longest from 52 yards out. Andre Roberts had two kick returns for 49 yards.
Week 13: What It Means
Detroit can win by just kicking field goals and making extra points. Detroit got 17 points from Matt Prater today, get rid of those and the Lions lose this game. People were saying that Detroit needed to score touchdowns and not kick field goals, yet those five field goals and two extra points were how the Lions got points on the board.
Three interceptions by the Lions are the most in one game this season. This defense is improving as the season goes on and once Whitehead and Levy come back, they can be even more dangerous. Detroit can start relying on the defense more if they need too and Caldwell showed confidence in that as on a 4th and one late in the game he chose to punt the ball rather than go for it or kick the field goal.
Week 13: What to Think About
Detroit got into the redzone five times and could only get a touchdown in one of those chances. Detroit can kick field goals no problem, but playing against tougher teams you need to get a touchdown and get those extra four points. Kicking field goals won’t always win you the game.
This is the first win by the Lions this year by more than seven points. Also it was the first time they had the lead in the fourth quarter. Finally Detroit was able to get a quality win, and giving its fans a breather as they did not induce a heart attack for the first time this year.
Detroit winning this game was huge for the team as the Green Bay Packers took down the Houston Texans, so a loss would have given the Packers more life. Minnesota losing did help Detroit, and Chicago won but have no hopes for playoffs. Also Detroit will have eight wins and at worst case scenario they will have a .500 record.