Another week, another roller coaster ride.
The Lions once led the Eagles by a score of 17-7 this afternoon before Philadelphia scored four straight touchdowns to take a 35-17 lead. With less than five minutes to go in the game, that is what the scoreboard read, making it seem as though the Lions had absolutely no chance of making things interesting. Just as they did last week at the end of the game, though, the Lions did make things interesting.
Thanks to Jahvid Best scoring his third touchdown of the game and Calvin Johnson making a catch for a TD (that actually counted) and a two-point conversion a few minutes later, the Lions cut the lead down to a field goal. Things got even more interesting when they recovered an onside kick, giving Detroit a chance to at the very least tie the game with a field goal.
Unfortunately, the rally stopped after the onside, because Shaun Hill threw four straight incompletions on the proceeding drive. He got banged up after taking a couple of big hits and just didn't make very good reads, allowing the Eagles to take over and seal their 35-32 victory.
The story of this game is, well, there are many stories. The first for the Lions is the play of Jahvid Best, who was absolutely tremendous. He ran the ball 17 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns and caught nine passes for 154 yards and one touchdown. Today, he showed why the Lions traded up to get him in the draft, as he was very explosive, making play after play after play.
The other stories on offense worth mentioning involve Shaun Hill, Brandon Pettigrew and Calvin Johnson. Hill actually ended up passing for 335 yards, completing 25 of 45 attempts for two touchdowns and two interceptions. Although his numbers weren't all that bad, Hill looked very unimpressive at times during this game, often relying too much on check-down passes and as mentioned earlier, not making great reads. Even so, he kept the Lions in the game and did put up big numbers, thanks in part to Pettigrew, who had seven catches for 108 yards and Johnson, who finally showed up at the end of the game and had four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the thing everybody will be talking about is how Mike Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson carved up the Lions. Detroit tried its best to put pressure on Vick and the Eagles by blitzing quite a bit, but it didn't work too often. Vick played great in his first start in years, passing for 284 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, McCoy also carved up the defense, rushing for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Needless to say, the defense looked awful more often than not today, exposing many of the concerns at linebacker and in the secondary we had going into the season.
At the end of the day, I guess we should be glad that the Lions made a game of it and had a chance to win or at least send the game into overtime. Of course, many will criticize Jim Schwartz's decision to go for it on 4th and 1 early in the fourth quarter when the Lions were in field goal range, but hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. I was okay with the decision to go for it, although I wasn't a fan of the actual play call of having Best run into the pile for a second straight time. Suspect play calling was a common theme with the offense, though.
Next week, the Lions head to Minnesota to face the Vikings, which lost again today and are also 0-2. Brett Favre struggled mightily, but he always plays well against the Lions, so it will be another big test for the defense.