At first, I was happy that the Lions hung in there with San Francisco. I rewatched some of the game and I’ve decided that I really shouldn’t be. In fact, I should be disappointed in the game. It was as if the Lion’s plan going in was to not embarrass themselves instead of going for the kill. The Lions got away from what they do and played conservative football. The 49ers are a better team than the Lions if they are allowed to dictate the style of play. If the Lions play the way the 49ers want them to, they can’t win. The only way the Lions could have beaten the 49ers is to force their strengths onto them.
IMO, the Lions needed to get the ball into the hands of their best player, Calvin Johnson. Yeah, Stafford targeted him a lot, but mostly on short and intermediate stuff. Not once did Stafford air it out to Calvin. I don’t care if he’s in double coverage, if nothing else is working the Lions need to let Calvin take over the game.
The 49er defense is good enough to put heavy coverage on Calvin and still beat the rest of the offense. Any other defense in the NFL would have paid the price for what they did and would have been forced into bringing attention away from Calvin. Even with two deep safeties and two men on Calvin at all times, the 49ers were able to manage the Lion run game and take away the other options. At that point, the only way the Lions were going to beat them would have been to just take the chance and air it out. I don’t care how good the 49ers D is, the best player on the field was Calvin Johnson and Detroit didn’t even try to exploit the advantages he brings.
So the Lions didn’t embarrass themselves, but an L is still an L no matter how close or bad it was. This isn’t the BCS where margin of victory means anything, only Ws and Ls count in the NFL. I would have been happier if the Lions at least tried to win this game instead of letting the 49ers have their way.