The Steel Curtain Stops the Detroit Lions’ Momentum
The Detroit Lions arrived at Heinz Field riding on a great momentum wave and fell prisoners to their own drama. As a Lions fan, I have to admit that beyond the thrill of cheering for the Honolulu Blue and Silver, Detroit is the team playing the most complicated yet exciting football so far. The Lions have remained a consistent team to date but they struggle to win games early and are relying solely on the outcome of other NFC teams for a playoff appearance. The execution against the Pittsburgh Steelers was flawless during the second quarter as the team adapted quickly and responded with 27 points. I still look at the second quarter highlights and marvel at the Lions; they were sending a clear winning message across the league. Who is there to blame for disastrous second half and not letting Matt Stafford execute? Stafford’s production was clearly sabotaged by poor play calling in an attempt to control the clock early.
The 2013 Lions season will be one to remember as it has been marked by offensive explosiveness and individual records. First there was Calvin Johnson’s 329-yard game, then Megatron caught touchdown No. 63 to pass Herman Moore as the Lions’ all-time receiver and now Matt Stafford becomes the all-time greatest passer in Detroit Lions’ history passing Bobby Layne. The Detroit Lions are without a doubt one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
How should I write the recap for Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh? Kudos to the Pittsburgh Steeler’s defensive coordinator for shutting down Calvin Johnson in the second half; the Steel Curtain adjusted perfectly and forced the Lions’ production to decrease dramatically after half time. My other game recap: terrible play calling prevents the Lions offensive potential to deliver a second half win with ease.
I hope the Lions’ have sufficient time on their hands to watch plenty of game film and learn from a rude awakening. Detroit gambled for a bit more possession and stopped throwing the ball to Johnson; in the end it proved to be costly decision. The play that ultimately backfired on the Lions was the decision to go for a fake field goal and make rookie Sam Martin the go to guy in a critical situation. I do not agree with Jim Schwartz’s decision to fake at such a crucial moment in the game; the Lions could have used some extra points on the board for a change in momentum and at least they could have forced the game into overtime. I believe If Schwartz really wanted to go for a touchdown on fourth down, the right call would have been to keep Stafford on the field and target Megatron. However, there was no need to score a touchdown, the Lions were winning. This of course, is my humble opinion as a Detroit Lions’ fan.
During the post game conference, Coach Schwartz defended the decision to go for the fake field goal stating that the Lions were not settling for the minimum. I thought he contradicted himself after seeing the team settle for the minimum and execute to 35 passing yards during the third and fourth quarters.