The Detroit Lions did the unthinkable over the weekend. They stunned the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, 26-10, to essentially save their season.
Now at 1-2, the Lions may be the most mysterious team in the NFL.
They got embarrassed by a rookie quarterback in Week 1, they didn’t show up until it was too late against San Francisco, then they beat the Patriots? What is going on here?
For starters, they had their first 100-yard rusher in five years thanks to Kerryon Johnson’s big day. It wasn’t just the running game, though.
Up front, Detroit outplayed New England on both sides of the ball. The Pats couldn’t run it and when Brady had time, there was nobody open. He threw for just 133 yards. Tom freaking Brady!
Matthew Stafford, on the other hand, feasted on the New England secondary for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Check out this dime in the second half to Marvin Jones.
So, was this game an anomaly based on Patricia’s first-hand knowledge of the Patriots’ system/players/tendencies, or are the Lions getting better?
The stats would tell you it’s a trend. Offensively, they were abysmal in Week 1. Predictable play-calling, bad throws from Stafford and a lack of creativity had people calling for Jim Bob Cooter’s head.
They responded with a much better performance in Week 2 but again failed to get anything going when it mattered. Still, they had a chance to win it at the end, even if it was a small one.
Finally, on Sunday night, the Lions showed up in the first half — getting an early lead and milking the clock. I know that’s a phrase you might not be familiar with since it’s something that Detroit has not been able to do since Barry Sanders.
Kerryon Johnson looks like the real deal and if they continue to feature him, all that investment in the offensive line may finally pay off.
Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a nifty stat for you, courtesy of Lion Lowdown creator, Logan Lomorandier.
The Lions have been relying solely on Matthew Stafford for a very long time. If they can finally establish a complementary ground game, the entire team, Stafford included, will continue to benefit and win games.
If they can’t keep the running game going, well, you’ve seen what happens over the past twenty years.