Detroit Lions Recliner Report – Cincinnati Bengals 8

6:08 PM 20 Oct 2013

Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. The Detroit Lions 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field was undoubtedly disappointing, but there were plenty of positives to take away for today’s battle of the jungle cats.

Before I point out the positives in a tough loss, I should first point out that the most important play of the day was when QB Robert Griffin III completed a short pass to TE Jordan Reed giving the Washington Redskins a critical first and goal against the Chicago Bears in the waning moments of the fourth quarter. Redskins RB Ray Helu Jr. pounded the ball in for a TD cementing the Redskins 45-41 victory over the Bears allowing the Lions to maintain their share of first place in the ever competitive NFC North division.

I am no fan of the Washington Redskins, but after the disappointment to end the Lions game I quickly changed the channel to root on the Redskins – and they came through. Thank you for the little things Washington!

Back to the Lions game – WR Calvin Johnson didn’t show any lingering effects from the knee injury that has been hampering him the last few weeks. Johnson was targeted 15 times catching 9 passes for 155-yards and 2 TDs on the day. The Lions mega-superstar now has 35 career 100+ yard receiving games giving him the franchise record surpassing former Lions great WR Herman Moore.

QB Matthew Stafford put up some good numbers completing 28-of-51 passes for 355-yards and 3 TDs. Stafford is a young, experienced NFL QB with all the tools to be one of, if not thee best, Lions QB to ever don Detroit Honolulu Blue. For me, the biggest issue with Stafford is his inaccuracy and how he is always over throwing and throwing high to his receivers. I understand that those guys are pretty tall, but great QBs can hit their receivers in stride so the receiver has an opportunity to make a play after the catch. Young Matthew will be great when he cleans up the accuracy – until then – above average, but not great.

The Lions rookie dancing sensation TE Joe Fauria got his first NFL start doing very little with his opportunity. He was targeted four times only catching one pass for 15-yards. Welcome to the NFL Joe! Teams learn real quickly who to game-plan for and the Bengals did a good job of shutting out Fauria as a pass catcher, but they did an even better job of schooling the rookie in blocking. Fauria has a bright future, but he needs to spend more time focusing on blocking to strengthen his game if he wants to be seriously considered as an every week NFL starter.

The running back tandem of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell produced 25 carries for 77-yards and zero TDs. That is a very meager 3.1 yard average per rush. A lot of the bland rushing attack can be credited to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and his below pedestrian play calling. Week after week and game after game it seems to be the same disappointing un-creativity with Linehan. How he still has a job with the Lions is baffling to me. Head coach Jim Schwartz could cost himself a job by sticking by Linehan even when it is obvious to the world that Linehan is not getting the job done.

This guy should never cover the other tesms best player

This guy (LB Ashley Palmer) should never cover the opposing teams best offensive player.

On the same token, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham could be blamed for the same shortcomings as Linehan. Perhaps they went to the same coaching school of un-creativity? When a defense has maybe the weakest defensive player in LB Ashley Palmer covering the Bengals best offensive player in WR A.J. Green there is definitely a mismatch issue. Playing the CBs so soft they might as well be melted butter is infuriating to me. Every week it is the same thing, too. Pure talent can carry a team far, but coaches have to put players in the right positions to make plays to succeed. The coordinators on the Detroit Lions are definitely their kryptonite.

To find positives in a negative we only have to look to LBs Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy. The two consummate professionals combined for 20 tackles in the game. They are the fire that inspires, but even Tulloch and Levy need the other nine guys to show up and do their jobs.

Bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum – CB Chris Houston continues to get beat like a drum. I have written recently how Houston is better suited as a number 2 cornerback, but I think I was being overly kind. He is better suited for where he found himself – on the bench. Rookie CB Darius Slay replaced Houston as the left CB covering the Bengals top WR Green and faired a little better, but still struggled as well. Again, play calling is killing the Lions defense.

The biggest gaff of the game came on Detroit’s final punt when rookie punter Sam Martin shanked a punt for 27-yards giving the Bengals great field position at mid-field allowing them to kick the game winning field goal as time expired a couple of short plays later. Martin has been doing a solid job so far this season, but that punt cost the Lions at least a chance to win in overtime. To me, that was the most disappointing part of the game. Well, that and the officiating, but the one-sided officiating has become as expected as taxes.

The Lions will take on yet another first place team at Ford Field next Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. For the third week in a row they will be facing a team with a similar record. Many fans and commentators don’t believe the Lions are for real, but the Lions continue to play competitive football against quality teams. The Cowboys will be another tough test and then comes a much needed bye week where the Lions can get a break and heal up. They are in a good position to make a serious playoff push.

Forward down the field…Go Lions!

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By the numbers

1st Downs 18 22
Passing 1st downs
16 19
Rushing 1st downs
1 3
1st downs from Penalties
1 0
3rd down efficiency
4-10 13-19
4th down efficiency
0-0 0-0
Total Plays 53 76
Total Yards 421 434
Yards per play 7.9 5.7
Total Drives 10 10
Passing 364 357
Comp – Att
24-34 28-51
Yards per pass
10.7 7.0
Interceptions thrown
0 0
Sacks – Yards Lost
1-8 0-0
Rushing 57 77
Rushing Attempts
18 25
Yards per rush
3.2 3.1
Red Zone (Made-Att) 1-1 1-3
Penalties 6-50 4-30
Turnovers 0 0
Fumbles lost
0 0
Interceptions thrown
0 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 25:29 34:31

8 thoughts on “Detroit Lions Recliner Report – Cincinnati Bengals

  1. Reply T.Boggess Oct 20, 2013 6:19 PM

    Just need to reiterate, there is a defenseless receiver rule for a reason!!! Player safety!! Or is the NFL only concerned with those opposite Suh??? Great article btw!!

  2. Pingback: Calvin Johnson plays almost full game against Bengals | Silverdome Blues

  3. Dave Brown, TSB Senior Writer Reply Dave Brown, TSB Senior Writer Oct 21, 2013 8:18 AM

    On the defensive game plan, a few thing I found odd…
    Fairley had a lower snap count than I expected.
    Palmer had a higher snap count than I expected.

    Both of these things are bad in my opinion, and helped the Bengals offense move the ball.

  4. Derek Mack Reply dmac93065 Oct 21, 2013 8:24 PM

    Great read Jeff. I wanted to delve a bit more into team defense. Defensive inefficiency is the primary reason I’ve been hopeful for a new coaching staff. Schwartz was hired in large part because he was a supposed ‘defensive guru.’ While the team has cracked top 15 rankings early in seasons for things such as 3rd down percentage, this Schwartz led Lions ball club has consistently under-performed against the run, and in the all important scoring defense category. I look at the transformations Ray Horton & Rob Ryan have sparked in Cleveland and New Orleans in one off-season and wonder why after 5 years the Lions defense is still surrendering 20+ points per game? A team shouldn’t live and die by its offense scoring 30+ points per game. Just once, I’d like to see a stretch of games where this defense carries the team to wins, afterall there are 3 1st round picks, and a ton of mid round guys that defensive geniuses like Schwartz and Gunther should have coached into all-stars by now.

    • Jeffrey A. Moore, TSB Lead Writer Reply Jeffrey A. Moore, TSB Lead Writer Oct 21, 2013 9:59 PM

      I’ve never been one to defend the coaching staff and I am not about to start now. I agree with you wholeheartedly. The talent is on the roster and the coaches are failing to develop the young guys. I feel like we are so close that I don’t want to lose games just for the sake of changing the coaching staff though. kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.

  5. Pingback: Bucking the Losing in the First Round of the Playoffs Trend | Silverdome Blues

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