We all have moments of clarity from time to time. It's when the things around you become clear. The thoughts that are spinning in your head suddenly stop spinning. In football, it's when the game slows down. It's when an athlete gains an understanding of the game plan, playbook, and becomes aware of what it takes to win. The Detroit Lions had a moment of clarity Saturday night when they met the San Diego Chargers at Ford Field.
When I say the Detroit Lions, I mean all of them, collectively. Lets start with the coaches. We have heard Jim Schwartz say "Just wait until we start playing good." He has been around teams that were clicking on ALL cylinders and he knew the Lions weren't at that point. Saturday he saw a glimpse of what he has been working toward.
Scott Linehan called the perfect game and the Lions executed. Linehan has put together some good games but this was different. It's like he understood all the players' strengths and weaknesses. It's like he understood the opponents' strengths and weaknesses. In his moment of clarity, he put together a game-plan that utilized the talent of the Detroit Lions' offense at their best.
Within Linehan's moment, Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the offense had their own moment. Stafford was in complete control of the offense from start to finish. It was clear the offense was on the same page all day. The routes were run precisely and the catches were made. The offensive line had a hiccup or two but turned in a great overall performance.
On defense, Gunther Cunningham called a great game. The front four weren't getting great penetration but instead of worrying and jumping out of the game-plan Gunther did not waver. This allowed the Justin Durant and the linebackers to be free to stop the run game and they did with passion. It also allowed Chris Houston and the secondary to show they have had their own moment of clarity. There were passes completed against the secondary and the linebackers but they were there to make the tackles. The defense kept plugging away with confidence and San Diego started making mistakes. Detroit was able to capitalize.
Special teams looked like that got it too. No glaring mistakes, just solid football.
Schwartz' idea of what kind of team the Lions could be was realized. There were no personal fouls, very low penalties, and very few mistakes. This moment of clarity for the Detroit Lions allowed the talent to take over, and take over it did. If Jim Schwartz can keep this Lions team in this zone, they will be hard to beat. Who knows, maybe the other teams in the playoffs will have a moment of clarity and understand when it comes to the Lions, they haven't seen anything yet.
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