I wanted to give a shout-out to some unsung heroes of the game:
1. Larry Warford – watching Bush breaking runs to the second and third level, Warford was out front, consistently creating big holes for Bush to run through. He occupies a lot of real estate.
2. David Akers – 4 for 4, 16 points on the day. They all looked like no-doubters to me.
3. Brandon Pettigrew – caught all of his targets, and held onto them! A much-needed confidence boost for him, and a nice recognition by the coaches and Stafford of the mismatch defending him. He was finding the soft spots 7 or 8 yards upfield and got good positioning so Stafford could throw it where only he could catch it.
4. Tahir Whitehead – made some nice plays on special teams, including stripping Hester.
Closing Out Games
One thing I think the Lions need to work on is closing out the half better. They lost fumbles twice in situations where their first priority is to take care of the ball. If Bell hangs on, you run two more plays and either force Chicago to use its last timeouts or run the clock down to the two minute warning.
I’m also not a fan of the prevent defense they ran. You’ve been killing Chicago on both sides of the ball midway through the fourth quarter, picked off and sacked Cutler a bunch, and held them to 16 points on 21 minutes of possessing the ball. And given up no third down conversions. Zero. Then you give up 16 points in 7+ minutes. I understand WHY the prevent defense exists. It’s supposed to make your opponent fight the clock, and keep . But Chicago was still able to run a two-minute drill successfully and used none of their timeouts to do it. Either one of those onside kicks bounces differently and it could have resulted in one of the biggest comebacks in league history. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. That prevent defense could have flat-out ruined the Lions season.
I thought the same thing in the Redskins game. The Redskins ran a 2 minute drill that – if Shanahan had any guts to go for it on 4th and goal at the 3 – could very easily have led to a crushing loss too. Am I overreacting here?