If you're like me, the past two games have probably sucked all the emotion out of you. Outside, the sun has shined a little less bright, your dinner has tasted a little more bland and your go-to pair of jeans just hasn't been as comfortable as they used to be. I could come to you this week and make you relive all of the terrible moments that have put us in this funk, but what would be the point of that? Instead, let's lie to ourselves and pretend the glass is half-full, even if for just a day. Here are some good plays from last week, and the only ones I choose to remember.
Mikel Leshoure has been a red-zone extraordinaire this season. He has 7 touchdowns in 2012, all of which have come inside the opponents' 20-yard line. On Sunday, he proved his value once again:
The play is designed for Leshoure to hit the hole between Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims. Sims fakes a block on the defensive tackle, then heads to the second level to take on the linebacker. Meanwhile, a pulling Stephen Peterman is supposed to take on the tackle Sims lets go. Here's how it looks:
The left side of the line does their job fantastically. Jeff Backus gets inside leverage on the linebacker, Brandon Pettigrew does a satisfactory job on the defensive end and Peterman takes out the tackle with his "wham" block. But there's a problem. Raiola could not get to the inside of his man, and the designed hole is not there. Fortunately, we see Sims with perfect leverage on the linebacker (No. 58). Sims also is in between Raiola's man and Leshoure. Therefore, Mikel finds the lane to his left and scores a fairly easy touchdown. This was a great play by every lineman (excluding Raiola). But bonus points go to the guards for their outstanding blocks and Leshoure for finding the hole when his first read was gone.
But Leshoure wasn't the only Lions running back who had a good play. Joique Bell had the Lions' most explosive running play of the season. That's right, TWO good running plays! Boy, things are sure looking up, huh? /PlasticSmile
This looks complicated, but it's really quite simple. Again, the Lions decide to pull a guard, this time Sims, to the other side of the line. The challenge of this play is for Peterman to get inside of the defensive tackle on the right side of the screen. Luckily, the tackle darts inside at the snap, giving Peterman all the leverage he needs. If he hadn't, Gosder Cherilus would have likely chip-blocked him as help. Instead, Gosder headed straight for the second level towards the linebacker (No. 50). Sims headed to take out the other linebacker. How'd they do?
Cherilus half-whiffs on his block, allowing the linebacker to get inside him. But Sims absolutely destroys his linebacker, eventually delivering him to the ground. Also, notice how Tony Scheffler has gotten to the inside of the cornerback, shielding him away from the play.
The man Cherilus was blocking dives in desperation, but Gosder had gotten just enough of him to keep him from making the play. And look at Scheffler! He has moved on from the corner and cunningly taken on the safety. The corner has a small chance at making the play still, but Bell athletically breaks the tackle and is off to the races. Helmet stickers for Sims, Bell and Scheffler.
And what better way to end Optimism Fest 2012 than with, perhaps the biggest reason for high hopes going forward, the defensive tackles? Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley have been taking over games on defense, and on no play was that more evident than on a draw in the middle of the second quarter.
The play was a simple draw up the middle. The hope was that the pass look would be enough to slow the defensive linemen and freeze the linebackers. However, there was a major flaw to this play: both defensive tackles were single-teamed. The center thinks about helping with Fairley (camera left) but heads to the second level anyway. Big mistake:
As you can see, Suh easily swims past his man, while Fairley has already pushed his man three feet into the backfield before Vick Ballard has even touched the ball. Fairley: strength. Suh: athleticism. Me: bliss.
Ballard is in full panic mode when he finally gets the ball and can only see a face full of Suh. He jumps to the left, hoping to find a lane there. But he doesn't have much room, as Fairley forced his man so far back.
Not only does Fairley make it hard for Ballard to cut to the left, but when he does, Fairley shoves the lineman out of the way and takes away any lane. This forces Ballard back to the right, where Suh easily eats him up for a 4-yard loss.
So there you have it! The Lions are awesome, and will be awesome forever! No problems at all. Have a happy day!
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