The Lions took the field in Denver desperately needing to reverse the negativity of the last two weeks, and they definitely achieved that goal today. This game was being billed as “Good vs Evil” by NFL.com, and I guess it’s only fitting that Evil dominated on Halloween weekend.
The Lions finally got back to basics with their offensive game plan and protected Stafford with a balanced running game and short quick throws to keep the defense off balance. That set the stage for play action passes and a healthy dose of deeper passes once the offense got into rhythm. The Denver defense gave the Lions a big assist by not covering Titus Young on the opening drive and letting the Lions get a free touchdown.
The Lions kept running the ball efficiently on first down as well as mixing in some short passes to keep themselves in manageable down and distance situations. That kept the offense on schedule and forced the defense to start cheating up to stop the run and defend the short passes. Once Denver adjusted defensively, the Lions took shots downfield and then their whole playbook was available.
The Lions defense stepped up the pressure on the helpless Tim Tebow, and had their most impressive game of the year. Honestly, there is no reason Tim Tebow should be starting games in the NFL right now. He lacks the most basic fundamentals, he can’t read a defense, he is horrifically inaccurate and he makes terrible decisions. The Lions embarrassed Tebow and the Broncos, but it was largely because they knew there was no way Tebow could beat them through the air. The defense did their part and then some racking up 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns.
There’s not much to take away from this game other than the bump up in the standings. The Denver Broncos are a Greek tragedy with Tebow in the game and the defense just doesn’t stand a chance when the offense can’t score points and consistently puts them in terrible field position. However, the Lions did get back to basics with a balanced attack on first and second downs to set up the deep passing game later. They also focused more heavily on the run and then pinned their ears back once they established a lead. When the Lions can put themselves in that situation, there are very few teams that can come back against that pass rush.
The Lions lost their two games this season because the coaching staff was not putting the players in the best position to win games. That changed today. I sincerely hope they remember this formula when they come back from their bye week, because they have a rematch with the Bears who have played themselves back into the playoff race.