I'll try and just get to the most aggravating parts of this game (this team) and I'll try and do it quickly (I probably won't as I'm quite frustrated). I will mention that I just finished watching this game (I live overseas and watch via NFL Gamepass) and need to vent as this site is the greatest resource to Lion fans. I have to say that while this game was frustrating, I still think the Niner game was more frustrating as we played well enough to win that one. We didn't deserve to be in this one and this will go down, I think, as one of Jim Schwartz's worst losses... especially being back in Tennessee (not that that really matters). So many of you guys have a more comprehensive understanding of the game with the X's & O's so please forgive me if I call out a player and I'm in the wrong. I'm just going off what I think seems right. So... here it goes...
- John Wendling - I was a huge supporter of him while on special teams but from the three games I've watched this year... should he even be a Safety in this league??? He seems to be out of position, taking awful angles, and just flat out clueless on every play. I know other people have called him out but he seems to be getting worse with each week that passes and he was atrocious in the Niner game.
- The rest of the secondary - Chris Houston seemed to play a solid game (I could be wrong) but the rest of our now infamous "banged-up secondary" is absolute trash. I get so frustrated with us continuing to take other teams cast-offs and make them our starters. We're basically trying to plug a gash in the Titanic with bubble gum. While Washington made a fantastic play for the Titans, Jacob Lacey seemed to give up on the play. He seemed to think that he batted it away and almost looked like he was en route back to the line of scrimmage before he knew that he just cost us 6. And of course, Wendling flies by in the back of the play about twenty minutes too late! I'll just throw this out there too while I'm ranting... I have never liked Spievey... I don't know if I have a reason other than from what I can see on TV... he's a horrible tackler. Also, I know it's being written off as a "rookie mistake" but I sure think we would've won it had Bentley not made that boneheaded overtime error. He doesn't seem to be a great help to our already embarrassing secondary.
- Stafford - I love this guy and am so happy he's OUR QB but he is killing us in that "dead zone" area of the field. If I'm not mistaken, Hanson has attempted 7 or 8 field goals in just two games from between the 25 and 40. This seems unaccebtable for our "ridiculously potent" offense. Staff seems to be putting way too much "juice" on his throws. We have one of the most insanely talented receivers the league has ever seen and in three games he has about half as many "thrown to" as I THINK he should. This is not Stafford's fault completely. Stafford has overthrown Calvin several times but Linehan just isn't using Calvin as much as he should. I know defensive coverage's aren't allowing for it but I still think Linehan could be more creative in his play calling. They use that end around to Nate all the time... why not let Nate throw one to Calvin???
- Pettigrew - He had such a nice season last year and I found myself criticizing him anyway all year. I always felt like his numbers should've been so much higher (not to mention Stafford's) if he could catch the damn ball. So in addition to an offensive penalty today (I believe), he also had four drops (according to my count) and of course got the ball ripped away from him for a disastrous turnover. Does this beast really have the makings of "an elite" TE? He seems to drop 1 out of 4 passes.
- D Line/Defense as a whole - Are they really as "feared" as the talking heads make them out to be? It appears with each week that passes, the answer is ... NO! They played pretty damn well in the Niner game but looked over matched today and have done little to impress me this year. I haven't heard KVB's name once this year nor have I heard much on Willie Young. Is Lawrence Jackson even a Lion anymore? If so, I wouldn't know. Avril is looking more and more like a "one year wonder". The defense as a whole has been pretty bad and I'm embarrassed that we gave up 44 to the Titans (granted a lot of those we're special team and Pettigrew) but we also got lucky as Baronas missed those two field goals. I was so frustrated after we made Matt Flynn look like Joe Montana last year... I thought we'd correct those errors but they seem to be as bad, if not worse this year. We made Jake Locker look like Steve Young. We're getting in a nasty habit of making mediocre OB's look like pro-bowlers!!!
- Special Teams - Well, I guess this just comes with being a Lion fan. Nothing new... year in year out... killing us.
Anyway, that's all I can think of off the top of my head. This was an awful game to watch. Our lack of consistency through the first three quarters of ball games IS A PROBLEM. And if it's not corrected soon I don't know that we'll win more than 7 games. We have a helluva tough schedule and division and we look like garbage.
Oh, and two more items I'd like to address that aren't necessarily about the Lions in specific.
1. Why are the replacement officials getting so much crap every week? I realize they're making tons of errors and that sucks but it seems like they're making errors equally on both ends of the ball. THEY'RE NOT PROFESSIONALS!!! Shouldn't we be criticizing the league for NOT TAKING CARE of what they need to in efforts to avoid this and get the pros back? I guess I just feel bad for them because they're trying their best and they're clearly not capable of running at professional speed. Sort of like Wendling...
2. Why are almost all games started with the winner of the coin toss electing TO RECEIVE the ball? This has ALWAYS been confusing to me. I guess it's to build momentum if you're at home and crush it for the opposition when you're on the road? It just seems to me that getting the ball to start the second half IS ALWAYS better whether you're winning or losing. It has never made sense to me but I've never really heard anyone REALLY explain what the logic behind getting the ball first is...
Any comments are much appreciated as I'm trying to learn more about the X's & O's of the game.
Thanks to all you Lions Fans for always keeping me informed and entertained from overseas!