Schwartz’s squad is getting snakebitten by costly penalties
It’s getting to the point where I don’t even need to write new post game articles anymore, I can just take a previous week’s article and change the opponent’s name. Once again the Lions fought hard, once again they suffered some major injuries, once again they had a ton of penalties and once again they had the ball with a chance to take the lead and they came up short.
The Lions’ special teams continue to be a weapon as Stefan Logan had a number of huge returns and the punt team took advantage of a fumble by the punter. Logan is becoming such a weapon that the Giants spent most of the day kicking away from him.
The penalties are getting ridiculous week after week, but I do have to say that the refs need to start calling them more down the middle. On Shaun Hill’s injury that was a blatant violation of the “Tom Brady Rule” of not launching at a quarterback’s legs. On the unsportsmanlike conduct on Cliff Avril when the Lions were backed up on their own goaline the refs threw a flag of Avril for pushing a Giant. However, the Giant that Avril pushed facemasked Avril and that went unflagged. Steve Smith had a number of offensive pass interference calls that went unflagged as well. The Lions are getting flagged because they are committing penalties, but those same infractions are happening on the other side, but they go unpunished.
The Lions’ defense is going to continue to have trouble defending the run until the linebackers start playing better and there isn’t a position group on the team that has been more snakebitten.DeAndre Levy has played in one game this season due to injury, Jordan Dizon is on IR, Landon Johnson is injured and Zack Follett suffered a very serious head/neck injury today. Hopefully Zack is doing well.
The defensive front is playing at a high level and the secondary is playing a lot better than expected. CB Alphonso Smith has been one of GM Martin Mayhew’s greatest finds. Smith was matched up against Hakeen Nicks almost exclusively today and shut him down. Louis Delmas is getting back into a groove and Chris Houston is playing well too.
The Lions need to do two things during the bye week, the first is get healthy. Shaun Hill is done for a month at least, so Stafford will be operating without his backup when the Lions reconvene in two weeks. CJ, Levy, Peterman, Delmas, Landon Johnson and Best are all dinged up and could use the time off to recover.
The other is get back to the drawing board on the running game. The Lions’ offense is far too one dimensional and it is making it difficult for the defense to stay fresh when they are always on the field. Scott Linehan calls too many finese and trick type running plays and they are unsuccessful. The Lions have a good enough offensive line to run traditional running plays and have success with them. When Kevin Smith was in the game the Lions ran more traditional running plays and moved the ball on the ground. When Best is in the game they call all sorts of misdirection plays and delayed handoffs and the defense shuts them down. If the Lions’ offense is going to reach their potential they need to run the ball effectively.