Monday, October 29, 2012

That Was Weird

After two possessions on Sunday, my patience meter was on empty. The Lions offense had quickly punted the ball to open the game (something I guess we should just accept as an inevitability), and the defense had made a stop that was voided by a terrible special teams error. Ten minutes into the game, the Lions were down three, had already committed three penalties (one extending the drive), and were well on their way to a 2-5 record.

Then something happened. The defensive battle we all predicted never came. The field opened up, the offense clicked, and the scoreboard exploded with points.

But it took me awhile to break out of my cynical exoskeleton formed by six and a half games of frustratingly disappointing football. As the Lions fell behind by ten early, you'd be hard-pressed to find a smile on my face, even after Matthew Stafford connected on a bomb to Titus Young to bring the Lions within three. I had found myself shamelessly trapped by the "Same Old Lions" Thought Police.

But by the end of the game, the Lions' offensive dominance could not be ignored. That was not a good offensive game. It was great. It was overpowering. It was...elite.

Stafford finished with a passer rating of 101.7, his second-highest of the year and the highest the Seahawks have allowed all year by over 20 points (including games against Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers). The Lions finished 12-16 on third downs, the highest percentage the Seahawks have allowed since 2004. The Lions scored 28 points, which is the most the Seahawks have allowed all season.

Of course, yesterday's performance was without some familiar faults. They still had two three-and-outs in the first half. Stafford still threw a mind-numbing interception, killing a drive in Seattle territory ON FIRST DOWN. And a smattering of overthrows and dropped passes still lingered beneath the surface. 

But it was nice to know that all the parts could still potentially work together for the majority of a game. It was nice to see that the offense of 2011 hasn't been completely buried. It was nice to see Young make plays, and Pettigrew not fumble. It was nice to see the Lions convert red zone opportunities into touchdowns, not field goals. It was nice to see the Lions offense carry the defense for a change. 

And speaking of the defense, it appears the secondary injuries are finally starting to hurt this team. Aside from Ricardo Silva's one impressive interception, the secondary struggled all day. Russel Wilson completed 71.4% of his passes to the tune of a 96.8 passer rating. The Seahawks scored on their first three possessions of the game and punted only three times all game. Perhaps worst of all, when the Lions needed a stop, the defense allowed Seattle to march 87 yards for the go ahead score with under six minutes left. Wilson was 6-8 on that drive for 75 yards and a touchdown. It was not the defense's best effort against a mediocre offense. 

But that is all moot, because the offense finally put together a solid game. And while it doesn't cure the Lions issues for the future, it was really nice to see again.

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