Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 10/17/11

The Detroit Lions have played their last two games in the friendly confines of Ford Field. Their current record of five wins and one loss is second only to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. The contest in Detroit was a swinging pendulum throughout Sunday afternoon.

The numerous false starts were an aberration for the 49ers thus far this season. They were a team that had the tag of not beating themselves. Jim Harbaugh has instilled some discipline with the club that previously had a culture of losing within the organization. His fiery nature has inspired quarterback Alex Smith. Before this season, Smith was often put into the same category as JaMarcus Russell as a first pick bust. Harbaugh is one of the few head coaches who can relate to a starting quarterback on a personal level. He has chosen to take a supportive rather than demeaning role.

Jahvid Best was not able to make the big runs that he was against the Chicago Bears. He only accumulated thirty-seven yards in twelve carries. These statistics that were similar to Adrian Peterson are a concern for fans in the Motor City. So, these lack of plays changed the game.  Fox analyst Daryl Johnston wondered aloud how the team would hold leads in future games if they weren’t able to run the ball consistently. Best is a phenomenal pass catcher out of the backfield, but head coach Jim Schwartz should focus on a sidekick who could pound the ball between the tackles for reliable yardage.

Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn Jr. demonstrated why they were such high picks in the first round. The former had nine receptions for about nine yards per catch and the former was able to garner a couple of passes from Smith to accompany his returning duties. Running back Frank Gore is the unquestionable key to the offense and he did not disappoint by gaining one hundred forty-one yards on the ground. Naysayers comment that he is on the downside of his career and it certainly may be the case. However, numbers don’t lie. Only the people that interpret them do.

Once again the lack of plays will be a point of emphasis in this paragraph. Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh had no solo tackles in this contest and only came up with two assists. As I have mentioned previously, his presence sets up success for others simply by demanding double teams. His passion was on display when he ripped off the helmet of a San Francisco offensive lineman near the goal line. Some refer to him as the best defensive player in the league. If this is the case, then his statistics should be better in crunch time.

Matthew Stafford put the ball in the air fifty times for the Lions on Sunday. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson once again cemented himself as the cream of the crop at his position with over one hundred yards and seven receptions. He is a freak of nature who should be utilized at every opportunity.

 

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