FanPost

Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons: Play-by-Play Analysis

Disclaimer:  I went into this weekend thinking that after the game I just wanted to post a quick recap and give my general thoughts on the Lions versus the Falcons.  So with that in mind, I grabbed a pen and paper and started scratching some notes while I was watching the game.  And then I kept going... and going.  I ended up with so many that I decided to post them as a play-by-play analysis.  The plan was for these to be integrated thoughts -both as I watched the game live and also the DVR'd version for the second time, but time is not allowing me to get to the tape again any time soon.  So instead of trashing what I had already written or posting it a week after the game, I'll give you what I wrote on Saturday.  I meant to get much more in-depth with both lines and some of the peripheral details, but not happening right now.  So the analysis is not as detailed as I would like, especially on defense.  Anyway, I hope that you will at least find this entertaining. Warning: This post is very long, so if you're not into that... please skip.

Before I get to the play-by-play, a few general thoughts... Wow, can this local broadcast be any worse?  I mean, c'mon.  This is an NFL team here.  I could have taken better video with my Blackberry.  For most of the first half there was no score, down, game clock or play clock on the screen, just a fuzzy view of a football game.  And don't get me started on the hurky-jerky slo-mo playbacks.  In the wise words of Charlie Brown... good grief.  Also, maybe this is simply a pet peeve, but am I the only one that noticed that the Lions logo and endzone font was nowhere near Honolulu blue?  It was more like navy blue.  Anyway, that annoyed me.  That said, the new unis looked great in action and it was awesome to be watching live football again.  So without further adieu, my play-by-play analysis (my comments in Bold):

1st Quarter expand [+]

Atlanta Falcons at 15:00

4-J.Hanson kicks 60 yards from DET 30 to ATL 10. 27-T.Brown to ATL 20 for 10 yards (33-C.Roberson).

Here we go!

1-10-ATL 20

(14:56) 2-M.Ryan pass incomplete deep right to 12-M.Jenkins.

Look who's starting at defensive tackle... Cohen and Hill.  Interesting.  Looks like a whole new team with the new unis and players.  Completely different from last year... and that's a good thing.  Love seeing Foote, Sims and Peterson back there... gives me goosebumps!

2-10-ATL 20

(14:50) 2-M.Ryan pass incomplete short right to 32-J.Norwood. PENALTY on DET-98-L.Cohen, Defensive Offside, 5 yards, enforced at ATL 20 - No Play.

Hmmm... penalty, familiar territory.

2-5-ATL 25

(14:48) 33-M.Turner right tackle to ATL 32 for 7 yards (67-J.Hunter; 32-A.Henry). PENALTY on ATL-12-M.Jenkins, Illegal Block Above the Waist, 10 yards, enforced at ATL 32.

Jason Hunter is in fact starting over Avril... that's disappointing.  Hopefully, he comes into the game early and often.

2-8-ATL 22

(14:23) 33-M.Turner left tackle to ATL 26 for 4 yards (35-L.Hicks; 55-L.Foote).

3-4-ATL 26

(13:45) 2-M.Ryan pass short right to 88-T.Gonzalez to ATL 33 for 7 yards (50-E.Sims).

1-10-ATL 33

(13:06) 33-M.Turner right tackle to ATL 32 for -1 yards (98-L.Cohen; 99-D.White).

2-11-ATL 32

(12:30) 2-M.Ryan pass short left to 12-M.Jenkins to ATL 34 for 2 yards (31-P.Buchanon).

3-9-ATL 34

(11:51) (Shotgun) 2-M.Ryan pass incomplete short left to 32-J.Norwood.

4-9-ATL 34

(11:44) 9-M.Koenen punts 24 yards to DET 42, Center-46-M.Schneck, downed by ATL-27-T.Brown.

That interesting... Buchanon to return punts.  I guess I never heard this mentioned before.  He had a knack for it a few years ago.  Too bad he fair caught it.

Detroit Lions at 11:34

1-10-DET 42

(11:34) 34-Kv.Smith right tackle to DET 49 for 7 yards (54-S.Nicholas).

Smith looks faster, shiftier this year.  I think he's leaner, yet stronger and appears very decisive.  I know that he's only run once, but still...

 

Also, Felton is starting over Terrelle Smith.  I hope that means something.

2-3-DET 49

(11:01) 34-Kv.Smith left tackle to ATL 47 for 4 yards (53-M.Peterson; 55-J.Abraham).

1-10-ATL 47

(10:25) 11-D.Culpepper pass short right to 34-Kv.Smith ran ob at ATL 36 for 11 yards (23-C.Houston). Penalty on ATL-20-B.Grimes, Defensive Holding, declined.

Nice looking play.  Culpepper definitely looks good movement-wise.  Looks strong and confident.  I may have underestimated his drive to get back to form.  Actually, I hope I did.

1-10-ATL 36

(9:59) 34-Kv.Smith up the middle to ATL 35 for 1 yard (98-J.Anderson).

O-Line got beat off the line a bit on that one.

2-9-ATL 35

(9:19) 11-D.Culpepper pass incomplete deep left to 12-D.Williams. PENALTY on ATL-54-S.Nicholas, Illegal Contact, 5 yards, enforced at ATL 35 - No Play.

1-10-ATL 30

(9:11) 36-A.Cason left tackle to ATL 29 for 1 yard (98-J.Anderson; 26-E.Coleman).

Really... Cason already?  I hope they give Smith a carry or two more.

2-9-ATL 29

(8:33) 11-D.Culpepper scrambles right end ran ob at ATL 27 for 2 yards (54-S.Nicholas).

Again, Culpepper looks very good.  Very fluid, not like when with Miami or Oakland.  I like what I see from him so far in regards to pocket awareness and fluidity in the pocket.  He's definitely slimmed down and looks in about the best shape I've seen him in... maybe ever.

3-7-ATL 27

(8:04) (Shotgun) 11-D.Culpepper pass short right to 34-Kv.Smith to ATL 11 for 16 yards (28-T.DeCoud; 93-T.Johnson).

1-10-ATL 11

(7:21) 36-A.Cason right tackle to ATL 10 for 1 yard (53-M.Peterson).

2-9-ATL 10

(6:43) 11-D.Culpepper scrambles right end to ATL 2 for 8 yards (53-M.Peterson).

3-1-ATL 2

(5:57) 11-D.Culpepper sacked at ATL 8 for -6 yards (93-T.Johnson).

Well, there's the first big gaffe on the offensive line.  I thought they played well until that play.  This is a perfect example of how Raiola can get beat by a big defensive tackle.  They've gotta find a way to protect this situation. 

4-7-ATL 8

(5:36) 4-J.Hanson 26 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, Holder-2-N.Harris. Penalty on ATL-20-B.Grimes, Defensive Offside, declined.

Mr. Automatic... gotta love him!

ATL 0    DET 3    Plays: 11    Possession: 6:01

Atlanta Falcons at 05:33

4-J.Hanson kicks 61 yards from DET 30 to ATL 9. 27-T.Brown to ATL 23 for 14 yards (52-D.Bing; 42-C.Lowry).

1-10-ATL 23

(5:27) 33-M.Turner up the middle to ATL 25 for 2 yards (55-L.Foote).

2-8-ATL 25

(4:45) 33-M.Turner right tackle to ATL 36 for 11 yards (32-A.Henry; 67-J.Hunter).

 

Sammy Hill has been pretty quiet and to be honest, looks like he's dogged it a play or two.  In the wise words of Marinelli... "I'll have to go back and check the tape".

1-10-ATL 36

(4:10) 2-M.Ryan pass short left to 84-R.White to ATL 47 for 11 yards (31-P.Buchanon) [99-D.White].

1-10-ATL 47

(3:45) 84-R.White left end pushed ob at ATL 47 for no gain (31-P.Buchanon).

Buchanon looks really good tonight.  He and Henry are definite upgrades.  I know that's a bold statement after only a few plays, but I fully believe that.  So much quicker to the ball and appear to be much better tacklers.

2-10-ATL 47

(3:13) 2-M.Ryan pass short right to 84-R.White to DET 47 for 6 yards (24-K.Pearson).

Just don't have enough time to take everything in on defense.  Can't wait to watch this on DVR!!!

3-4-DET 47

(2:32) (Shotgun) 2-M.Ryan pass short middle to 86-B.Finneran to DET 40 for 7 yards (50-E.Sims).

Ernie on the tackle.  Is it just me or has he been kind of quiet tonight?  Thought he'd come out and crack someone right away.

1-10-DET 40

(1:59) 33-M.Turner right tackle for 40 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Argh!  Boy, that play had all the makings of being one from last year's team... missed tackles, players out of position, the whole nine yards.  Schwartz will have a field day with this one in the film room.

1-J.Elam extra point is GOOD, Center-46-M.Schneck, Holder-9-M.Koenen.

ATL 7    DET 3    Plays: 7    Possession: 3:43

Detroit Lions at 01:50

9-M.Koenen kicks 59 yards from ATL 30 to DET 11. 36-A.Cason to DET 30 for 19 yards (71-K.Biermann).

I just don't like Cason as a returner.  I'm actually disappointed that they are still trying him here.  And from the looks of it, he's fairly high on the depth chart if he's returning them in the first quarter.  He's too "boxy" - if that's a word - you know, like short and compact.  He doesn't seem to have enough agility and shiftiness.  He's too stiff.

1-10-DET 30

(1:44) 36-A.Cason right end to DET 35 for 5 yards (95-J.Babineaux).

Cason looks better as a runner than a returner.  But still... I like him as a receiver out of the backfield versus a first down back.  He's also good on screens and draws, where he has space to work with.  Just not sold on him between or off tackles.  Was hoping to see Smith for another series, but I think the staff knows they have a good player in him.  Better to protect him.

2-5-DET 35

(1:12) 36-A.Cason right tackle to DET 38 for 3 yards (71-K.Biermann).

3-2-DET 38

(:38) 11-D.Culpepper pass short right to 45-J.Felton to DET 45 for 7 yards (50-C.Lofton).

I like this play a lot.  I think Felton will prove to be more of a multi-dimension fullback, rather than just a blocker.  Maybe he will get a few carries tonight.

END QUARTER 1

2nd Quarter expand [+]

Detroit Lions continues ...

1-10-DET 45

(15:00) 36-A.Cason right end to DET 49 for 4 yards (95-J.Babineaux).

2-6-DET 49

(14:22) 11-D.Culpepper pass incomplete short right to 83-K.Colbert (20-B.Grimes).

3-6-DET 49

(14:16) (Shotgun) 11-D.Culpepper scrambles left end pushed ob at ATL 49 for 2 yards (50-C.Lofton).

Culpepper definitely showing he's got some of that mobility back.  I know... getting redundant.

4-4-ATL 49

(13:46) 2-N.Harris punts 37 yards to ATL 12, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, fair catch by 14-E.Weems.

Atlanta Falcons at 13:38

1-10-ATL 12

(13:38) 32-J.Norwood left end to ATL 13 for 1 yard (31-P.Buchanon). PENALTY on ATL-70-M.Butterworth, Offensive Holding, 6 yards, enforced at ATL 12 - No Play.

1-16-ATL 6

(13:08) 8-C.Redman pass short right to 87-J.Peelle to ATL 9 for 3 yards (59-J.Peterson). Penalty on ATL-84-R.White, Illegal Shift, declined.

2-13-ATL 9

(12:43) 8-C.Redman pass short left to 80-M.Booker to ATL 17 for 8 yards (29-E.King, 59-J.Peterson).

Peterson's made a few nice plays in a row.  Haven't seen him do any lining up at end yet... unless I missed it... hard to tell with such absolute crap for video.  They'll probably save that for the regular season, though.  The Gun won't give away his best secrets yet!

3-5-ATL 17

(12:04) (Shotgun) 8-C.Redman pass short right to 80-M.Booker to ATL 20 for 3 yards (32-A.Henry) [50-E.Sims].

For the most part, the defense seems to be keeping the passing game in front of them.  I like that.

4-2-ATL 20

(11:22) 9-M.Koenen punts 50 yards to DET 30, Center-46-M.Schneck. 12-D.Williams to DET 34 for 4 yards (48-R.Shiver).

There's Williams in the return game.  I was expecting him to take all the first and second quarter returns.  I'd love to see him show something tonight.

Detroit Lions at 11:10

1-10-DET 34

(11:10) 36-A.Cason up the middle to DET 34 for no gain (71-K.Biermann).

2-10-DET 34

(10:32) 11-D.Culpepper pass short middle to 44-T.Smith to DET 36 for 2 yards (54-S.Nicholas). PENALTY on DET-66-S.Peterman, Personal Foul, 15 yards, enforced at DET 36.

3-23-DET 21

(10:13) (Shotgun) 11-D.Culpepper pass short left to 89-W.Heller to DET 26 for 5 yards (22-C.Jackson).

Culpepper is checking down far too often.  I haven't really seen him take any chances yet.  It's the preseason, take a risk or two.  This dink-and-dunk crap is going to make for a lot of three and outs during the regular season.

4-18-DET 26

(9:34) 2-N.Harris punts 54 yards to ATL 20, Center-48-D.Muhlbach. 14-E.Weems pushed ob at DET 46 for 34 yards (2-N.Harris). DET-53-C.Spencer was injured during the play. He is Out.

Atlanta Falcons at 09:21

1-10-DET 46

(9:21) 8-C.Redman pass incomplete short left to 81-R.Ferguson (99-D.White).

2-10-DET 46

(9:17) 32-J.Norwood up the middle to DET 44 for 2 yards (99-D.White).

You know, if White goes down with an injury, we are in big, big trouble.  He's a good player.  Not sure he gets enough credit sometimes.

3-8-DET 44

(8:37) (Shotgun) 8-C.Redman pass short left to 84-R.White to DET 32 for 12 yards (59-J.Peterson).

1-10-DET 32

(7:55) 32-J.Norwood right end pushed ob at DET 29 for 3 yards (32-A.Henry).

Henry right there again.  Nice play.  Liking the corners right now.  I think Henry needs to stay right where he is.  It would help if Pearson can flash a little at safety.

2-7-DET 29

(7:28) 32-J.Norwood right tackle to DET 28 for 1 yard (98-L.Cohen, 59-J.Peterson).

3-6-DET 28

(6:46) (Shotgun) 8-C.Redman pass incomplete short middle to 87-J.Peelle.

The defensive tackles are getting a decent push up front.  The ends are... for the most part... not putting enough pressure on.  I can see that Cohen looks bigger and stronger... from what I can remember from him last year.  I'd say in the short time I've keyed on the defensive line tonight, he's looked the best.  If anything, he's consistently at the line of scrimmage or further back.

4-6-DET 28

(6:41) 1-J.Elam 46 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-46-M.Schneck, Holder-9-M.Koenen.

ATL 10    DET 3    Plays: 7    Possession: 2:43

Detroit Lions at 06:38

9-M.Koenen kicks 67 yards from ATL 30 to DET 3. 12-D.Williams to DET 31 for 28 yards (52-C.Wire).

1-10-DET 31

(6:31) Det #9-M. Stafford in at QB. 9-M.Stafford pass incomplete deep left to 83-K.Colbert.

NFL... meet Matthew Stafford.  C'mon kid take control of that huddle!

 

Well, okay.  His ball came out like a rocket and he looks comfortable and decisive.  Keary Colbert needs to learn how to anticipate Stafford's ball better than that.  He needs to know it's coming quick.  Should have been an easy reception and a good gain.

Timeout #1 by DET at 06:25.

Ooops.  I think the playclock was running down before Raiola called out the defensive reads.  Either way, they need to clean it up out there.

2-10-DET 31

(6:24) (Shotgun) 9-M.Stafford pass short left to 12-D.Williams to DET 41 for 10 yards (22-C.Jackson).

Nice.  First pro completion.  Clean, crisp throw.  His passes have a real snap to them.

1-10-DET 41

(5:53) 36-A.Cason left end to DET 42 for 1 yard (97-T.Lewis).

2-9-DET 42

(5:18) 9-M.Stafford pass short right to 36-A.Cason pushed ob at DET 47 for 5 yards (21-C.Owens).

3-4-DET 47

(4:49) (Shotgun) 9-M.Stafford pass incomplete short left to 83-K.Colbert [90-L.Sidbury].

Mr. Colbert is going to find himself on the waiver wire tomorrow.  Stafford should be 4 for 4.

4-4-DET 47

(4:42) 2-N.Harris punts 50 yards to ATL 3, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, downed by DET-58-Sp.Smith. PENALTY on DET, Illegal Formation, 5 yards, enforced at DET 47 - No Play.

4-9-DET 42

(4:30) 2-N.Harris punts 44 yards to ATL 14, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, fair catch by 14-E.Weems. Penalty on ATL, Defensive Offside, declined.

Atlanta Falcons at 04:23

1-10-ATL 14

(4:23) PENALTY on DET-92-C.Avril, Defensive Offside, 5 yards, enforced at ATL 14 - No Play.

C'mon, Cliffy.  This is your big moment.  I was bummed to see that Avril was not out there with the first unit at all and that Hunter starter over him.  That's a little discouraging.  He can make up for it here, but a penalty is not a good start to the night.

1-5-ATL 19

(4:23) 32-J.Norwood left tackle to ATL 27 for 8 yards (33-C.Roberson, 54-D.Levy).

Tell you what, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Roberson get a roster spot.  He's an aggressive player that seems to have a nose for the ball.  Word from camp is that he's playing well and is a sure tackler.  That appears to be the case again tonight.

1-10-ATL 27

(3:48) 8-C.Redman pass incomplete short right to 87-J.Peelle. Ball thrown away.

2-10-ATL 27

(3:41) 8-C.Redman pass incomplete short middle to 80-M.Booker (52-D.Bing).

3-10-ATL 27

(3:36) (Shotgun) 8-C.Redman pass short left to 32-J.Norwood to ATL 30 for 3 yards (33-C.Roberson).

There's Roberson again.  Seems to always be around the ball.

4-7-ATL 30

(2:56) 9-M.Koenen punts 54 yards to DET 16, Center-46-M.Schneck. 12-D.Williams to DET 16 for no gain (41-A.Harris; 21-C.Owens).

Detroit Lions at 02:45

1-10-DET 16

(2:45) 9-M.Stafford pass short right to 89-W.Heller to DET 19 for 3 yards (21-C.Owens; 35-W.Middleton).

2-7-DET 19

(2:09) (Shotgun) 9-M.Stafford pass deep right to 83-K.Colbert pushed ob at DET 47 for 28 yards (29-J.Fudge).

Wow.  Beautiful pass... on a freakin' rope.  Colbert actually made a nice catch on that one.  Stafford looks very comfortable and confident out there.  His decision making is very quick.

Two-Minute Warning

1-10-DET 47

(2:00) 36-A.Cason right tackle to ATL 45 for 8 yards (29-J.Fudge).

Decent run by Cason.  For a fast guy though... he sure can look slow running.  Maybe it's just me, but he just doesn't seem to have much of a burst.

2-2-ATL 45

(1:36) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 9-M.Stafford pass incomplete deep right to 83-K.Colbert.

3-2-ATL 45

(1:31) 9-M.Stafford pass incomplete deep right to 83-K.Colbert (21-C.Owens).

Colbert needs to sit down.  Get someone out there that can catch.  Where's Sipowicz?

4-2-ATL 45

(1:26) 2-N.Harris punts 27 yards to ATL 18, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, fair catch by 14-E.Weems.

Atlanta Falcons at 01:18

1-10-ATL 18

(1:18) 32-J.Norwood left end to ATL 21 for 3 yards (92-C.Avril).

2-7-ATL 21

(:38) 32-J.Norwood right tackle to ATL 30 for 9 yards (24-K.Pearson).

END QUARTER 2

3rd Quarter expand [+]

Detroit Lions at 15:00

9-M.Koenen kicks 67 yards from ATL 30 to DET 3. 21-A.Brown to DET 35 for 32 yards (9-M.Koenen).

1-10-DET 35

(14:52) 25-A.Ervin left tackle to DET 35 for no gain (21-C.Owens; 42-E.Brock).

Offensive line starting to leak a little.  Getting bogged down a bit.  That one sagged on the left side a bit.  It's right after the half... everyone should be refreshed.

2-10-DET 35

(14:14) (Shotgun) 21-A.Brown right tackle to DET 39 for 4 yards (21-C.Owens).

3-6-DET 39

(13:36) (Shotgun) 9-M.Stafford pass short right intended for 47-D.Gronkowski INTERCEPTED by 51-T.Gilbert [52-C.Wire] at DET 42. 51-T.Gilbert for 42 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Welcome to the NFL, rookie!  That was an ugly pick-six right there.  He has to realize that this isn't college anymore.  These guys are faster and smarter than in the SEC.  The pass was a classic off balance no-no.  He's a gunslinger, so we are going to see a few of these from time to time.  Let's just hope he can learn when to take chances and when that ball belongs in the tenth row.  I'm sure he'd love to have that one back.  Offensive line got beat soundly on that play.

Detroit Lions at 13:26

9-M.Koenen kicks 73 yards from ATL 30 to DET -3. 21-A.Brown, Touchback.

1-10-DET 20

(13:26) 25-A.Ervin right tackle to DET 24 for 4 yards (61-V.Walker).

I'm liking Allen Ervin right now.  Slap a #34 on him and you'd think it's Kevin Smith out there.  They have a very similar running style.

2-6-DET 24

(12:53) 9-M.Stafford pass incomplete short left to 18-E.Fowler (38-A.Tiller).

3-6-DET 24

(12:47) (Shotgun) 9-M.Stafford pass short middle to 25-A.Ervin to DET 46 for 22 yards (52-C.Wire).

1-10-DET 46

(12:09) PENALTY on DET-12-D.Williams, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at DET 46 - No Play.

C'mon rook.  Can't do that.  From the training camp reports, you gotta show something out there today.  With all the injuries, here's your chance to shine at receiver.  False starting is not the way to make a roster.

1-15-DET 41

(11:46) 9-M.Stafford pass deep right to 18-E.Fowler to ATL 38 for 21 yards (41-A.Harris).

Beautiful.  Man, he's got an arm.  I'm not going to tell you who his release reminds me of... okay, I will.  Dan Marino.  I know... it's his first preseason game, but still.  Very quick, very crisp.  It's got a real snap to it and the result is a blazing fast, super tight spiral.  I'd like to see a little finesse pass on this drive to show he can tone it down some, though.

1-10-ATL 38

(11:01) 17-A.Jennings right end to ATL 29 for 9 yards (51-T.Gilbert).

Jennings can move!  Wildcat offense anyone?

2-1-ATL 29

(10:22) 25-A.Ervin up the middle to ATL 30 for -1 yards (49-J.Winborn).

3-2-ATL 30

(9:36) 9-M.Stafford scrambles up the middle to ATL 25 for 5 yards (93-T.Johnson).

Alright, now that is how to win over the fans!  Tough, gritty run and I love the fact that he threw his arm out for a first down and had a huge smile on his face at the end... even with some dude's fat ass in his face.  Love it!

1-10-ATL 25

(8:56) 9-M.Stafford pass incomplete short middle to 18-E.Fowler.

2-10-ATL 25

(8:51) 9-M.Stafford pass deep right to 12-D.Williams for 25 yards, TOUCHDOWN [42-E.Brock].

Yeah, baby!  What a perfect throw and an excellent catch by Williams.  Since the false start, Williams - although he hasn't gotten a lot thrown to him - has been running good routes and I've seen him make a couple good blocks as well.  But this is how to get your name on the map.  I can't say enough about how impressive Stafford has been.  I know his stats won't show it and the pick-six was bad, but he has played very, very well so far.  I won't make any predictions, but I feel pretty good about him right now.

4-J.Hanson extra point is GOOD, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, Holder-2-N.Harris.

ATL 16    DET 10    Plays: 9    Possession: 4:42

Atlanta Falcons at 08:44

4-J.Hanson kicks 61 yards from DET 30 to ATL 9. 18-C.Williams to ATL 33 for 24 yards (18-E.Fowler).

1-10-ATL 33

(8:37) Atl #3-DJ Shockley in at QB. 44-J.Snelling right tackle to ATL 36 for 3 yards (92-C.Avril).

2-7-ATL 36

(7:58) 3-D.Shockley pass incomplete short left to 14-E.Weems.

3-7-ATL 36

(7:51) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley pass short left to 14-E.Weems to ATL 46 for 10 yards (33-C.Roberson, 24-K.Pearson). PENALTY on DET-91-C.Darby, Personal Foul, 15 yards, enforced at ATL 46. Penalty on DET-97-I.Alama-Francis, Defensive Offside, declined.

1-10-DET 39

(7:37) 3-D.Shockley pass incomplete deep right to 81-R.Ferguson (29-E.King). PENALTY on DET-29-E.King, Defensive Pass Interference, 38 yards, enforced at DET 39 - No Play. Penalty on DET-91-C.Darby, Defensive Offside, declined.

That was simply a horrible play by Eric King.  He got flat-out beat by his receiver and then didn't look back for the ball.  With the way Henry and Buchanon played tonight, I'd say he's got very little shot at starting.  I hope this was just a bad play.  He'll have to explain himself in the film room tomorrow.  This drive is exactly what Schwartz doesn't want to see... lack of focus and execution.

1-1-DET 1

(7:30) 44-J.Snelling right tackle for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.

They deserved to get scored on after that series.  U-G-L-Y!

1-J.Elam extra point is GOOD, Center-46-M.Schneck, Holder-9-M.Koenen.

ATL 23    DET 10    Plays: 4    Possession: 1:20

Detroit Lions at 07:24

9-M.Koenen kicks 65 yards from ATL 30 to DET 5. 21-A.Brown to DET 20 for 15 yards (45-R.James). ATL-81-R.Ferguson was injured during the play.

1-10-DET 20

(7:12) 25-A.Ervin left tackle to DET 22 for 2 yards (90-L.Sidbury; 94-P.Jerry).

2-8-DET 22

(6:42) 5-D.Stanton pass short right to 25-A.Ervin to DET 36 for 14 yards (97-T.Lewis). FUMBLES (97-T.Lewis), RECOVERED by ATL-38-A.Tiller at DET 44. 38-A.Tiller to DET 44 for no gain (47-D.Gronkowski). Detroit challenged the fumble ruling, and the play was REVERSED. 5-D.Stanton pass short right to 25-A.Ervin to DET 34 for 12 yards (97-T.Lewis).

1-10-DET 34

(6:22) 5-D.Stanton pass short left intended for 12-D.Williams INTERCEPTED by 49-J.Winborn at DET 47. 49-J.Winborn pushed ob at DET 12 for 35 yards (72-E.Salaam). Penalty on ATL-38-A.Tiller, Defensive Pass Interference, offsetting, enforced at DET 34 - No Play. Penalty on DET-44-T.Smith, Personal Foul, offsetting.

Oh boy, Drew.  That makes Stafford's pick look good.  You are sooooo lucky you got a break with the penalty.  I don't even think he saw the defender and he stared down his receiver too hard.  He just looks so skittish in the pocket.

1-10-DET 34

(6:10) 25-A.Ervin up the middle to DET 41 for 7 yards (41-A.Harris, 42-E.Brock).

Again, nice run by Ervin.  Liking this guy a lot.  Jansen is very noticeable at the right tackle position as well.  Gosder played well tonight, but Jansen is still probably just as good.  Although he is playing against the second team defense.

2-3-DET 41

(5:34) 25-A.Ervin right tackle to DET 39 for -2 yards (49-J.Winborn; 42-E.Brock).

Yikes on the run blocking.  Hasn't been great tonight.

3-5-DET 39

(4:58) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton scrambles up the middle to DET 47 for 8 yards (41-A.Harris).

I've come to the conclusion that Stanton hates the pocket.  He can get away with it because of his athleticism, but he's far willing to take off.  I think he's just gonna be that type of player.  I think Detroit should legitimately install a Wildcat-type package for Stanton.  His mobility is no doubt an asset and I think there is a place for him here.  I'm not usually one for gimmicks and fad schemes, but if you have a weapon, why not use it.  Just sayin'...

1-10-DET 47

(4:20) (Shotgun) 25-A.Ervin up the middle to ATL 38 for 15 yards (41-A.Harris).

Slick run.  I can see what Killer's been talking about with the running backs.  I like Ervin better than Cason to this point tonight.

1-10-ATL 38

(3:46) 21-A.Brown right tackle pushed ob at ATL 32 for 6 yards (42-E.Brock).

Aaron Brown is very, very fast.  Can't wait to see this guy return kicks.

2-4-ATL 32

(3:23) 21-A.Brown up the middle for 32 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Wow, what a run!  Man, this dude is quick and fast!  There's a roster spot for guys like this.  Again, can't wait to see what he can do on KR/PR.  Reminds me of a slightly bigger Darren Sproles.  Seems to have very good vision and has very fluid cuts.  Fantastic play.  I wonder if it was designed as a cutback or if Brown simply saw the lane was closed and reversed field?  If I had to guess, I'd say it was designed.

4-J.Hanson extra point is GOOD, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, Holder-2-N.Harris.

ATL 23    DET 17    Plays: 8    Possession: 4:10

Atlanta Falcons at 03:14

4-J.Hanson kicks 58 yards from DET 30 to ATL 12. 18-C.Williams to ATL 31 for 19 yards (46-C.Butler).

1-10-ATL 31

(3:07) 3-D.Shockley pass incomplete short right to 89-B.Hartsock (39-S.Schweigert).

2-10-ATL 31

(3:01) 44-J.Snelling left tackle to ATL 35 for 4 yards (58-Sp.Smith; 97-I.Alama-Francis). PENALTY on ATL-74-W.Svitek, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at ATL 31 - No Play.

2-20-ATL 21

(2:39) 3-D.Shockley pass incomplete short middle to 18-C.Williams.

3-20-ATL 21

(2:31) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley pass short left to 27-T.Brown to ATL 27 for 6 yards (33-C.Roberson).

4-14-ATL 27

(1:52) 9-M.Koenen punts 47 yards to DET 26, Center-46-M.Schneck, fair catch by 12-D.Williams.

Williams should have tried to return that one.  Nothing really from the return game tonight.

Detroit Lions at 01:44

1-10-DET 26

(1:44) 25-A.Ervin up the middle to DET 23 for -3 yards (42-E.Brock).

2-13-DET 23

(1:08) 5-D.Stanton scrambles up the middle to 50 for 27 yards (42-E.Brock).

Woo, nice run Drew!  He's definitely a weapon, but he simply can't stay in the pocket.  I think Stanton is even more athletic than most give him credit for.  I prefer my quarterbacks to be able to stay in the pocket and throw, but there has got to be a way to get Stanton into the game once and awhile.

1-10-

(:24) 25-A.Ervin right tackle to ATL 48 for 2 yards (21-C.Owens).

END QUARTER 3

4th Quarter expand [+]

Detroit Lions continues ...

2-8-ATL 48

(15:00) 21-A.Brown right end to ATL 42 for 6 yards (52-C.Wire; 97-T.Lewis).

These shorter, positive yard runs are almost as important as the big runs.  I think size and durability are the knocks on Brown and he's doing a lot to dismiss those here tonight.

3-2-ATL 42

(14:28) 21-A.Brown right tackle to ATL 43 for -1 yards (52-C.Wire, 97-T.Lewis).

4-3-ATL 43

(13:46) 2-N.Harris punts 30 yards to ATL 13, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, fair catch by 18-C.Williams.

Atlanta Falcons at 13:38

1-10-ATL 13

(13:38) 27-T.Brown right tackle to ATL 12 for -1 yards (39-S.Schweigert).

2-11-ATL 12

(13:04) 3-D.Shockley pass incomplete short right to 18-C.Williams.

3-11-ATL 12

(12:59) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley pass short middle to 14-E.Weems to ATL 27 for 15 yards (54-D.Levy, 52-D.Bing).

1-10-ATL 27

(12:19) 27-T.Brown left tackle to ATL 29 for 2 yards (39-S.Schweigert).

Stu again on the tackle.  I'll be curious if Delmas is out again next week how quickly Schweigert gets into the game.  I personally think he's done really well tonight.  I always root for the local products.

2-8-ATL 29

(11:40) 27-T.Brown right tackle to ATL 38 for 9 yards (38-R.Robinson, 42-C.Lowry).

1-10-ATL 38

(11:01) 27-T.Brown left tackle to ATL 39 for 1 yard (54-D.Levy, 42-C.Lowry).

Just thinking of this as I see Levy in on the tackle, Levy has looked in control making the defensive reads on the field.  At least I'm pretty sure he's making them... I've seen him several times calling out the reads and such.  I think he's played pretty well.

2-9-ATL 39

(10:24) 27-T.Brown up the middle to ATL 42 for 3 yards (71-S.Smith, 58-Sp.Smith).

Shaun Smith is a big dude.  Looks like he's still trying to get familiar with the plays according to the massive cheat sheet on his wristband.  Will be interested to see if he moves up on the depth chart in the coming weeks as he gets more familiar with the offense.  I'm guessing he'll stay at the nose behind Grady, though.  I think Cohen will start.

3-6-ATL 42

(9:44) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley pass incomplete short right to 14-E.Weems (41-W.James).

4-6-ATL 42

(9:40) 9-M.Koenen punts 49 yards to DET 9, Center-48-R.Shiver. 30-D.Wynn pushed ob at DET 20 for 11 yards (45-R.James).

Detroit Lions at 09:29

1-10-DET 20

(9:29) 5-D.Stanton pass short left to 47-D.Gronkowski to DET 23 for 3 yards (96-W.Evans; 45-R.James).

Gronkowski has been pretty quiet tonight.  He needs to make the most of his opportunity with Pettigrew and Fitzsimmons out.  Once they come back, he'll be an afterthought.

2-7-DET 23

(9:02) 21-A.Brown left tackle to DET 23 for no gain (41-A.Harris; 97-T.Lewis).

3-7-DET 23

(8:21) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass incomplete short left. PENALTY on DET-5-D.Stanton, Intentional Grounding, 10 yards, enforced at DET 23.

Looks like a serious miscommunication there.  I think Brown was supposed to be on the left side of the field for a screen.  Still not sure why Stanton just threw it at the ground though?  That's the thing with Stanton... he doesn't have decision making skills when it comes to his reads.  Instead of moving through a progression or looking downfield, he got jittery and made a bonehead play.  Actually, I'm surprised he didn't take off and run that time.

4-17-DET 13

(8:16) 2-N.Harris punts 60 yards to ATL 27, Center-48-D.Muhlbach. 18-C.Williams to ATL 46 for 19 yards (61-S.Conover; 52-D.Bing).

Atlanta Falcons at 08:00

1-10-ATL 46

(8:00) ATL #4 - J. Wilson in at QB 27-T.Brown right end to ATL 47 for 1 yard (52-D.Bing).

Bing looks like a hitter.  He might actually have the edge on a linebacker spot because of his special teams ability.

2-9-ATL 47

(7:23) 4-J.Wilson pass short left to 36-V.Haynes to DET 42 for 11 yards (39-S.Schweigert; 38-R.Robinson).

Schwiegert is showing something tonight.  He's been very decisive and quick to the ball.  Playing with a chip on his shoulder and I like that.  I'm not so sure he's a longshot for the roster.  I'm not seeing much from Hicks and the rest of the safeties.  Actually, I think Schwiegert has played the best from that position tonight.  Maybe he and Kalvin Pearson have been about equal.

1-10-DET 42

(6:46) 27-T.Brown right end to DET 36 for 6 yards (38-R.Robinson).

2-4-DET 36

(6:04) 27-T.Brown right tackle to DET 37 for -1 yards (60-O.Harris).

3-5-DET 37

(5:26) (Shotgun) 4-J.Wilson pass short left to 15-A.Kelly pushed ob at DET 30 for 7 yards (30-D.Wynn).

1-10-DET 30

(5:00) 27-T.Brown right end to DET 27 for 3 yards (38-R.Robinson).

2-7-DET 27

(4:18) 4-J.Wilson pass short right to 82-K.Zinger to DET 23 for 4 yards (41-W.James).

3-3-DET 23

(3:38) (Shotgun) 44-J.Snelling left tackle to DET 23 for no gain (69-R.Kees).

4-3-DET 23

(2:59) 1-J.Elam 41 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-48-R.Shiver, Holder-9-M.Koenen.

ATL 26    DET 17    Plays: 9    Possession: 5:05

Detroit Lions at 02:55

9-M.Koenen kicks 68 yards from ATL 30 to DET 2. 17-A.Jennings to DET 16 for 14 yards (18-C.Williams).

1-10-DET 16

(2:50) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass short left to 14-D.Boldin to DET 25 for 9 yards (45-R.James; 52-C.Wire).

2-1-DET 25

(2:25) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton scrambles right end ran ob at DET 31 for 6 yards (24-V.Hutchins).

1-10-DET 31

(2:22) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass short middle to 46-C.Butler to ATL 45 for 24 yards (42-E.Brock).

Timeout #1 by DET at 02:15.

1-10-ATL 45

(2:15) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass short right to 21-A.Brown for 45 yards, TOUCHDOWN. PENALTY on DET-21-A.Brown, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced between downs.

Alright!  Man, Aaron Brown is fast!  He is going to be the talk of the town tomorrow and the backflip was pretty cool.  Actually, it shows his athleticism... screw the penalty.  I think it was worth it.  This guy might be something special... definitely a steal in the sixth round for sure.  Most sixth rounders don't make an impact, so at the very least I think the Lions did well with that pick.  I still think he's going to be our standout KR/PR this year.  Let's give a little love to Stanton on this play was well.

4-J.Hanson extra point is GOOD, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, Holder-2-N.Harris.

ATL 26    DET 24    Plays: 4    Possession: 0:50

Atlanta Falcons at 02:05

4-J.Hanson kicks 65 yards from DET 15 to ATL 20. 18-C.Williams to ATL 29 for 9 yards (52-D.Bing).

1-10-ATL 29

(2:02) 27-T.Brown right tackle to ATL 27 for -2 yards (39-S.Schweigert).

There's Schwiegert again.  He's still the hitter he was when he came into the league.

Two-Minute Warning

2-12-ATL 27

(1:58) 27-T.Brown right end to ATL 25 for -2 yards (54-D.Levy).

Timeout #2 by DET at 01:52.

3-14-ATL 25

(1:52) (Shotgun) 4-J.Wilson up the middle to ATL 26 for 1 yard (69-R.Kees).

Nice play by Kees.  I think the interior played very well and help Kees get the sack.  They might get a shot at winning this thing.

Timeout #3 by DET at 01:47.

4-13-ATL 26

(1:47) 9-M.Koenen punts 51 yards to DET 23, Center-48-R.Shiver. 30-D.Wynn to DET 27 for 4 yards (29-J.Fudge).

Wynn is trying too hard.  He's got good athleticism it seems, but needs to use his vision instead of trying to get fancy.

Detroit Lions at 01:36

1-10-DET 27

(1:36) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass short left to 10-B.McMullen to DET 35 for 8 yards (38-A.Tiller).

2-2-DET 35

(1:12) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass incomplete short right to 21-A.Brown.

3-2-DET 35

(1:09) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass short left to 21-A.Brown pushed ob at DET 41 for 6 yards (38-A.Tiller).

1-10-DET 41

(1:04) (Shotgun) PENALTY on ATL-90-L.Sidbury, Defensive Offside, 5 yards, enforced at DET 41 - No Play.

1-5-DET 46

(1:04) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass short right to 14-D.Boldin to ATL 47 for 7 yards (37-G.Sharpe; 24-V.Hutchins).

Demir Boldin looks nothing like his brother... he is a lot smaller.  Nice pass by Stanton.  They might just pull this thing off!

1-10-ATL 47

(:47) (No Huddle) 5-D.Stanton spiked the ball to stop the clock.

Stanton is taking control here.  He could be the hero of the day.

2-10-ATL 47

(:47) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton pass incomplete deep right to 15-B.Sippio.

3-10-ATL 47

(:43) (Shotgun) 5-D.Stanton up the middle to ATL 29 for 18 yards (52-C.Wire).

There he goes again.  Bring on Hanson for the win!

1-10-ATL 29

(:21) (No Huddle) 5-D.Stanton spiked the ball to stop the clock.

Good job, Drew.  You're a gamer, no doubts there.

2-10-ATL 29

(:03) 4-J.Hanson 47 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-48-D.Muhlbach, Holder-2-N.Harris.

How can you be a Lion's fan and not LOVE Jason Hanson?  Great game, exciting win.  Definitely a different feel to this year's team.  They hung in there to win it.  Lots to be excited about, but lots of question marks and things to clean up as well.

ATL 26    DET 27    Plays: 9    Possession: 1:36

Conclusion:

Great game.  Not sure how much you can really take from it aside from some of the individual play.  There were a lot of impact players missing from the lineup tonight, so it's tough to rate the team play as a whole.  I think Schwartz has a much better grasp on head coaching than Marinelli ever did and I thought that the team came in quite prepared.  Some of my concerns are lessened, but some are still there.  To steal a page from Peter King... here are my Ten Things I Think I Think about the Lion's first game:

  1. I think all three quarterbacks played well for their parts.  Culpepper looked in charge and appears to have his mobility back.  He checked down a little too much, but that's nitpicking a bit.  Stafford looked really sharp.  The pick-six was ugly, but he's going to throw those.  His arm, release and decision making are definitely as good as advertised.  Stanton was fun to watch.  I'm pretty convinced he'll never be a classic pocket passer, but he has value and I hope the Lions find a way to use him before he eventually leaves Detroit.
  2. I think we are in good shape with the running game.  Smith should be the first legitimate answer to our running game since Barry left.  And I think we found a few hidden gems in Ervin and Brown.  I like both of those two.  Brown will be the talk of the town this coming week.
  3. I think I understand the need to bring in all of these receivers.  With all of the top guys out, there's really not much depth.  Aside from Williams, I doubt any of the receivers that played tonight make the final roster.
  4. I think that the offensive line is better than last year.  Pass protection looks to be better than the run blocking, though.  I thought the first unit looked fairly consistent... no penalties and no huge gaffes aside from the red zone sack on Culpepper.  I'm not quite as concerned now.  I know this... I think we can stop all the "Stafford will get killed back there" talk as of tonight.
  5. I think the defensive end, not the tackle position is the one with the most dire need.  White is a good, not great player and if he gets hurt we are in real trouble.  Avril is a not-so-ready-for-primetime player right now.  He showed flashes, but as of right now, can't be counted on as even a starter, let alone a double-digit sack leader.
  6. I think we need Kevin Carter badly!
  7. I think I'm in love with our linebacker corps.  Our defense will be much better this year and you can clearly see that.  This group will be the anchor.  They are not a top ten defense, but clearly they are better than last year and Sims, Peterson and Foote are the biggest reason why.
  8. I think that my mind is greatly eased by the play of Buchanon and Henry.  I think they are a huge upgrades and I think that Henry should most definitely stay at corner.  Someone needs to step up in that other starting safety role soon.  I think Pearson will start, but I really liked Schwiegert tonight.
  9. I think Jason Hanson belongs in the Hall of Fame - first ballot.
  10. I think that I really enjoyed this game and can't wait for next Saturday to see Shaun Smith hit Brady Quinn in the face again!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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