Todays game was not only the closest game of the season for detroit, but also the best performance the team has shown all year long. While we didn't have the flashy comeback late in the game, what I like to call the Jon Kitna special, we played much more consistently on offense. I would take the consistent play over the ups and downs of Kitnas inconsistent play any day.
The Offense :
They played a well rounded game and were consistent in what they tried to do. I fealt like Dan Orlovsky made very few mistakes today, but the few that he did make seriously hurt the team. Mainly the safety. Dan Orlovsky has got to pay more attention. I know he is inexperienced and all but thats not even a mistake most rookies would make and he's been in the league several years.
The running game looked like it was going to be explosive early in the game when Kevin Smith broke a few nice runs and then the coaching staff basically neutered smith for the rest of the game replacing him with Rudi Johnson for the majority of the carries. I am not sure if he got hurt somehow or if they just made a bad call, but as good as he looked early on, I feel like he should have been given a larger role in the game.
The last thing that I noticed, which sort of bugged me is, Roy Williams got very few looks in this game. I understand that he has been acting out and dropping balls, but when the game is close and you need the big plays, you turn to your pro bowl receiver and give him a chance to make the plays. You don't continue to throw to the crappy TE that can't do anything with the ball if he even catches it to begin with. Especially once Calvin went down with the injury, you have to get the ball to Roy Williams.
The Defense :
The defense had the best game they have had in probably 3 season. They really showed up to the game and the numbers don't do them justice. They had several forced fumbles, an INT, 4 or 5 sacks, and although Frerotte had over 250 yards in the air and peterson ran for over 100, they kept them to only 12 points, 2 of which came from Orlovskys inexperience.
Their were several standout players on the defense today. Off the top of my head, Pearson, Bullocks, and especially Bodden all really stepped it up in todays game and helped to really shut down the Vikings offense in some clutch situations. I am very happy with whatever changes Rod made this week in regards to the defense and hope that they can keep up the pressure on the QB in the future and continue to keep up the level of intensity.
The defense had the best game I have seen from a Detroit defense in a very long time. Aside from a few big breaks for the Vikings offense, they did a great job with pressure and really made the difference in this game.
The offense on the other hand was lackluster at best. They have got to get the ball to the big play receivers and not the TE. They also need to give Kevin Smith the carries he deserves to prove how good he really is. Orlovsky made a good first impression aside from the safety and deserves a second chance in my mind. He got us very close to a win and didnt make many mistakes (I'm looking at you Mr. Jon "Interceptions are my friend" Kitna).
I am very happy with the changes in the defense and if we can get a little more production out of the offense, I think we can pull off a win against Houston next week. Looking at our schedule if we don't get a win next week, we may be looking at a winless season.