The title to this post isn't a typo. You're not going crazy or seeing things. And Hell isn't freezing over. The Detroit Lions did actually beat the Denver Broncos by a score of 44-7. Talk about something being completely unexpected. I predicted a Lions win, but never in a million years would've thought it would be a win by 37 points. In all aspects of this game the Lions dominated the Broncos. The offense was great all day, and the defense was just amazing. All of that and more led to this 44-7 thrashing of Denver.
Starting the game off just as we’d see many more times throughout the day, Denver went three and out on its opening drive. Quickly getting the ball in Detroit’s offense’s hands, Mike Martz decided to establish the run rather than the pass. After all, Denver does have a lousy rush defense, so using Kevin Jones a lot made sense. It especially made sense after it worked. Jones ran down the field for solid gains a few times to set up an eventual 43-yard field goal by Jason Hanson.
Following the field goal, Detroit’s coaches made a questionable decision when they had the Lions kick an onside. It wasn’t a normal onside per say, as Jason Hanson kicked it in what was supposed to be a surprising way, but Denver recovered anyways. Even with the great field position, the Broncos still had trouble moving the ball, but did get far enough down the field to attempt a field goal. Attempt was the key word as Jason Elam hit the upright from 48 yards out, keeping the lead in Detroit’s favor.
Detroit went to the passing game when they got the ball back to mix things up a bit on offense. Again, Detroit was moving the ball, but a loss of 8 on a reverse and a holding penalty quickly backed up the Lions. Luckily, Jon Kitna found Calvin Johnson for a gain of 20 yards, putting the Lions in field goal range. Jason Hanson connected again on the field goal attempt, this time from 53 yards out, to give Detroit a 6-0 lead.
The next drive would be the end of Denver’s hopes of winning as Jay Cutler got injured. On the second play of the drive, Cutler was sacked by Shaun Rogers and hurt his leg on the play. The injury caused him to miss the rest of the game, meaning it was up to backup Patrick Ramsey to get something going. Initially, Ramsey did have some success, but the drive quickly stalled and it was once again Lions ball.
On this next drive, Detroit used a combination of both the run and the pass, and it proved to work well as it eventually resulted in a touchdown. First, Kevin Jones got four carries to get Detroit down the field a bit, and then Jon Kitna hit Roy Williams, Shaun McDonald, and Mike Furrey to get even more yardage. A facemask by a Broncos defender on Jon Kitna on third down helped the Lions out a lot, keeping the drive alive when it otherwise would’ve been fourth and long. The drive did continue, though, and soon after the penalty Kitna found Furrey for a gain of 15 and the touchdown, making it 13-0 Lions.
After another three and out by Denver, the Lions got the ball back with just under 3 minutes to go in the half. Thanks to a few intermediate range passes by Jon Kitna, Jason Hanson had another shot at a field goal and again converted. He was good from 38 yards out this time to put Detroit on top 16-0 at the half.
With both offenses coming out flat to begin the second half, it would be the Detroit defense that made a big play to fully push the momentum in the Lions’ favor. After a Nick Harris punt pinned Denver inside its own 10-yard line, Patrick Ramsey dropped back to pass and was sacked by Corey Smith. During the sack, Ramsey lost control of the ball and Dewayne White picked it up and went 3 yards into the endzone for the touchdown. White has been great all season long and continued it on that play by having the awareness to scoop up the ball to score, giving Detroit a 23-0 lead.
Needing to rebound to get something going in its favor, Denver put together a nice drive when they got the ball back. It went 59 yards and covered nearly 4 minutes. Only problem is that the drive ended on the 4-yard line when the Broncos were unable to get a touchdown on 4th and goal. Getting the ball back, Detroit decided to go for it all very quickly. On the first play of the drive Jon Kitna found Sean McHugh for a gain of 46 yards. Then on the very next play, Kitna hit Shaun McDonald for a relatively short pass that turned into a touchdown. McDonald caught the ball and then took off, running 49 yards altogether for the TD.
At this point in the game, the chances of Denver winning were very slim with the way things had gone already. Still, though, Detroit was looking for that one play to end the game. As I put it for Samsung’s "Defining Moment of the Weekend," Shaun Rogers came up with that play.
While I’m on the subject of the Samsung Defining Moment of the Weekend, make sure to head on over to the website set up for all of the submitted entries to vote for my paragraph. There’s no doubt that Rogers defined the Lions game on Sunday with that INT return, so if you could, just take a second or two to vote for my entry. Also, if you want, you can submit your own entry to be voted on. This is a thing that runs for the rest of the season I believe, so if you have something to say, go ahead and submit your own entry. Thanks in advance.
Getting back to the game, the Shaun Rogers interception return made the score 37-0 in favor of the Lions. At this point, it was time to let the backups get a chance to play, and that is exactly what the Lions coaches did. J.T. O’Sullivan came in to replace Jon Kitna, but he did it much quicker than most would’ve expected. On the very next play that followed the Rogers INT, Alex Lewis forced and recovered a fumble after tight end Tony Scheffler caught a pass. Lewis got up and ran the ball into the endzone for a touchdown, but a Denver challenge would have the call overturned as he was already down when he initially recovered. Still, the fumble gave Detroit another chance to score, and T.J. Duckett would be the player that made 44 points possible. Duckett got the ball on 4 straight handoffs, with the last one going for a 3-yard touchdown, making it 44-0 Lions.
Denver would wreck the shutout with a garbage touchdown and nearly added another before a fumble right at the goal line, but when the starters exited, it was a shutout. Detroit played an amazing game both offensively and defensively, and may have proved that they are for real with the 44-7 victory. I won’t voice an opinion on the subject in fear of jinxing things, but for right now, they’re 6-2 and are near the top of the NFC. I don’t know the last time I’ve felt this good about the Lions, so I’m going to enjoy every second of it.
Detroit will now take its 6-2 record on the road to Arizona next Sunday. The Lions will battle Kurt Warner (Mike Martz knows him pretty well) and the Cardinals, looking for its first win in Arizona in quite some time. Kickoff is set for 4:15 on FOX. If you don’t get the game wherever you live or just want to discuss it in real time, make sure to stop by the open thread as I will be providing live updates throughout the game. Until then, Go Lions!