The Lions Traveled to Seattle in the Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs
Detroit is back into the playoffs, and they did just that. They backed in. Detroit had some help from the New York Giants to even get this far. With the challenge of playing in Seattle against the 12th man, Detroit came up short, by a lot. The offense couldn’t get the running game going, along with receivers dropping balls. The defense was shredded on the run, while pass coverage was hit and miss. Check out how it all went down below.
Matt Stafford didn’t look that great. He was able to avoid pressure on one play and rush for a gain of two yards, that was very impressive. His numbers though, not so much. He ended up going 18/32 for 205 yards. He threw some bad passes, but some of the incompletions were because of wide receivers dropping the ball.
Zach Zenner was once again the workhorse when it came to running the ball. He ended up getting 11 carries for 34 yards as the Lions had two starting offensive linemen out again in Riley Reiff and Travis Swanson. Zenner helped more in the air, catching six balls for 54 yards. The big question that nobody has seemed to answer for the past few weeks is the lack of Michael Burton. The fullback has been inactive for a few weeks while Joique Bell has been active, but never sees the field. Having Burton out there would have helped with blocking and could have yielded more running opportunities.
Catching the ball was a problem for Detroit, as it usually is for the receiving corps. Golden Tate, Eric Ebron and Anquan Boldin all had drops throughout the game. Luckily the only receiver to never drop one was Marvin Jones (that counted),who had four catches for 81 yards. Ebron had two catches for 23 yards, along with two drops. Boldin had two catches for 24 yards, while Tate had just 25 yards in three catches.
Riley Reiff and Travis Swanson were out again this week, and with backup right tackle Corey Robinson on IR as well, Cornelius Lucas had to step in. The running game was ineffective when we needed it to be. Stafford was sacked three times, two of the times were late in the game and in desperation mode. The offensive line did the best it could do with two backups in, and considering they only allowed one sack during normal play, that wasn’t the worst possible scenario.
The defensive line was able to create some pass rush, but trying to stop the pass and the run? That is asking for too much. Ziggy Ansah had his best game of the year, getting nine tackles, two sacks and four QB hits. Haloti Ngata also stepped up, got three tackles and a sack and A’Shawn Robinson had seven tackles. While they got to Wilson three times, they let Thomas Rawls have a good game, getting 161 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown. It was exciting for Detroit to create pressure, but it takes the air out of them if they can’t stop a running play.
Linebackers were partially to blame for the amount of rushing yards. Jimmy Graham had only three catches for 37 yards, so he wasn’t much of a factor for them. Tahir Whitehead had a team leading 13 tackles, while Josh Bynes had seven and DeAndre Levy had three.
The secondary for Detroit was inconsistent. At times they were doing well enough for the defensive line to get to Wilson, but at times where the ball came to them they made some mistakes. Tavon Wilson and Nevin Lawson were the ones making mistakes, getting flags and allowing tough catches to be caught. Wilson and Lawson both had seven tackles. Darius Slay had two tackles as he was tested for some of the game, doing well at some times, but allowed Doug Baldwin to have big plays when they mattered most.
Special Teams was almost perfect on the day. Sam Martin had five punts for 232 yards, two ending inside the 20. Matt Prater made both of his field goals, both from over 50 yards as the longest was from 53 out. Andre Roberts had four kick returns for 76 yards, but fumbled a punt return that he luckily was able to recover.
Wildcard: What It Means
The season is over. Detroit backed into the playoffs and ended the year on a four game losing streak with a 9-7 record. On the positive side, Detroit is getting better. With a new rookie class coming in, and it being a impressive class for positions this team needs, Detroit can draft some good players. Then free agents could be enticed to come to Detroit since they went to the playoffs and with healthy players returning, Detroit is on it’s way up.
Jim Bob Cooter isn’t going anywhere. His playcalling tonight wasn’t the best and if anyone thinks he could be a head coach they might be on something. Teryl Austin is somewhat in the same boat, but he actually has some interviews to do so he could leave. Him leaving could be a good thing, but don’t get your hopes up on him going anywhere else.
Wildcard: What To Think About
Injuries plagued this team as the season went on. Detroit had Ziggy Ansah, DeAndre Levy and Theo Riddick constantly on the injury report and missed many games this year. With Riley Reiff and Travis Swanson getting hurt late in the season as well, that didn’t help much when we needed to win important games. Hopefully the team can recover well in the offseason and stay healthy in 2017.
Detroit would be hosting a playoff game if they had played some better games in the regular season. Tennessee, and against Chicago early in the season were two games where Detroit should have won, but just gave up the opportunity. It goes to show that every game matters in this league, and if they did better in just one of those games, we would have hosted New York and have won the NFC North Championship