Found October 13, 2013 on Football and Futbol:
TEAMS: Detroit Lions
(Detroit Lions Facebook Page) The first half of this game was anything but impressive for the Detroit Lions. Missed opportunities and a lack of execution were the key themes for them whether it was dropped passes or the defense giving up some pretty costly plays on bad communication. The Cleveland Browns were looking like a bunch of champions out there. They were advancing the ball well on offense, preventing the Lions’ ferocious pass rush from getting to Brandon Weeden for the most part, and containing Matthew Stafford and the high powered offense to a controllable seven points. Weeden finished the half strong with two touchdown passes and headed into the locker room with his Browns ahead of the Lions by a score of 17-7. The Lions’ defense struggled early on with getting to the quarterback. Weeden was surprisingly airing the ball around and making the secondary of Detroit look like a bunch of disoriented college players. The second half of this game however, was a very glorifying comeback victory for the Lions. They scored an astounding 24 unanswered points while the defense prevented a single score from Cleveland. Key points to the victory: Mental Toughness: Detroit and Stafford had to bounce back from a terrible first half. The run game was a non factor and balls were hitting the ground after they were slipping out of the receivers’ shaky hands. What could have been a severe blow that the offense recovered from was a tipped interception. Stafford and the Lions were putting together a very impressive drive in the third quarter when he threw a ball to Patrick Edwards that was tipped and intercepted in the redzone. The defense did a great job at halting Weeden and his offense to put the ball right back into Stafford’s hands despite having him scorch them all throughout the field in the first half; they rebounded and adjusted to Cleveland’s offense very well in the second half and were stingy enough to prevent them from scoring at all. Stafford and company didn’t let the pick phase them and ending up adding 17 more points after that to help lead a well forged comeback. Players Not Named Calvin Johnson Stepped up: While Calvin Johnson was limited, Reggie Bush wasn’t. Bush had 135 all-purpose yards and average 4.6 yards a carry with a touchdown. He was very helpful with moving the chains and making the third downs much more manageable. Bush had a crowd-silencing rush for 39 yards in the second half which helped him eventually catch a perfectly thrown spiral from Stafford for a score. This was certainly a fiery spark for the Detroit offense considering the running game wasn’t a legitimate factor throughout the first half. Rookie tight-end Joseph Fauria had an astounding three touchdown catches in today’s exciting victory. He was a mismatch near the endzone all day and Stafford surely capitalized on that. Stafford’s college roommate Kris Durham did some damage too. He did have some bad drops, but finished with 83 yards receiving and was a contributor in progressing the offense late in the game. Stafford had a very strong performance and spread the ball around impressively to finish this game with four touchdown passes and 248 passing yards. He kept his composure well and led his team as a great leader should. Crucial Defensive Pressure: Yes, the Lions’ defensive line wasn’t very impressive today, especially in the first half, but they did enough to win without a doubt. Ndamukong Suh and fellow quarterback killers got in Weeden’s face and forced him to make two bad decisions which resulted in two interceptions by linebacker DeAndre Levy. One of Levy’s interceptions late in the game came in the fourth quarter and helped allow the Lions’ to score a game-sealing touchdown. Special Teams Limited Travis Benjamin: When a team like Cleveland has a quarterback in Weeden who does not appear to be all that spectacular, they rely on big plays from other players like Travis Benjamin. Benjamin has the explosiveness as a special team player to take the ball into the endzone at any moment. More importantly, even if he doesn’t score he can give a mediocre quarterback like Weeden good enough field position to help him find the endzone. Punter Sam Martin did a fantastic job at punting the ball deep, giving it great hang time, and angling it at great points to stall Benjamin and allow the Special teams unit to neutralize him, which hurt Cleveland as a team and gave Detroit another edge for the victory. Detroit played a well football game today and everyone played a team game. Other players stepped up with an ailing Johnson and made plays that put points on the scoreboard. The defense wasn’t very explosive today, but they made key plays when it counted the most. Martin and the special teams unit made the scary punt returner Benjamin appear average today. The Lions hung in there tough and battled a hungry Browns team to conquer them with a glorifying victory that put them back into a tie for first place with the Chicago Bears in the NFC North division.
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