Calvin’s third touchdown reception from Stafford, coming on a 4th down with 3:12 in the 4th quarter to put the Lions ahead 26-25
A familiar series of events took place today at Ford Field. Penalties, untimely turnovers and a close but not close enough feeling. The only difference is the Lions were finally on the winning end.
As expected, the Lions’ offense got off to a slow start but started to pick up steam as the game progressed. There were far too many one yard gains on first downs which left the Lions in a lot of second and long situations. Kevin Smith gave the running game a big boost in the second half when he spelled Jahvid Best. Smith is a more patient runner right now and he knows how to let a play develop. Best is moving a thousand miles a minute when he gets the ball and sometimes he needs to just slow down and be patient. Burleson fumbled for the second time in as many games, but his fumbles are coming in situations where he is trying to maximize yardage. The offensive line did a great job of giving Stafford time and once Stafford shook off the rust he was brilliant. Stafford has the arm strength to squeeze the ball into windows that most quarterbacks can’t. He threw his receivers open with regularity today and it was especially evident on his touchdown throw to Pettigrew and the third touchdown for CJ.
The defensive front dominated the game against the run and the pass which took away the Redskins’ ability to work the deep ball on a regular basis. The Lions’ front four has played their way into the conversation as one of the best in the league. The Lions dominance in the trenches gave the secondary opportunities to make plays on the football. Alphonso Smith is looking like the steal of the year with his fourth interception on the year and had a pick-six slip out of his grasp earlier in the game. The linebackers played significantly better this week as they were bolstered by the return of DeAndre Levy who played a solid game. The defense didn’t let the Redskins sustain a single long drive, both of the Skins’ offensive touchdowns came on a short field.
Special Teams: Stefan Logan was awesome again and he is making highlight reel plays week in and week out. The Redskins had a couple of short punts because they were trying to kick away from Logan and ended up pushing the ball out of bounds. The kick coverage units had no answer for Washington’s Brandon Banks on kick returns and punt returns and got bailed out of surrendering a touchdown by a costly Washington penalty, only to give one up later in the game. The hard count on the field goal attempt got the Lions a free first down which they converted into seven points and significant momentum.
The Lions still had issues with penalties, but a lot fewer procedural penalties. The Lions finally put together a complete game and played inspired football led by their young cornerstones Ndamukong Suh, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.