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Lions Lose 9-6 On Last Second Field Goal

TEAMS 1 2 3 4 OT F
Seattle 0 6 0 3 - 9
Detroit 3 0 0 3 - 6
Visitor GAME STATS Home
264 Total Yds 251
17 First Downs 15
91 Rushing Yds 38
26-1 Rushes-Fumb 17-1
0 Rushing TD 0
173 Passing Yds 213
25-30-0 Comp-Att-TD 21-37-0
0 Interceptions 0
2-11 3rd Down Conv. 5-14
32:25 Time of Pos. 27:35
The start of the 2006 season has passed, and we are now getting right into the rivalries and important games all around the league.  The first game for the Detroit Lions is no different.  Coming into this season, fans everywhere are hoping for something better than what they've had to sit through for the last few years.  There are many new faces on the Detroit sideline, and that is the root for most of the optimism; the amount of changes that were made in the offseason.  A new head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, and quarterback are just a few of the differences from '05 to '06.  The biggest change most want to see however, is a better record.

Detroit's schedule has many tests throughout the year that will really tell us how good or bad they really are.  That first test came today as they matched up against a team that was in the Motor City back in February for Super Bowl XL, the Seattle Seahawks.  Filled with a MVP and many other Pro Bowlers, the Seahawks are not an easy team to open the season with.

Most of the experts had predicted Seattle to run over Detroit in a blowout, myself included.  But, I don't think anyone would've expected the outcome of today's game.  

Things got off to an exciting start for Detroit as they stopped Seattle's opening drive by blocking a 41 yard field goal.  You could tell the kick was blocked immediately as a huge rush of Lions got their hands in the air, and Shaun Rogers knocked it down.  With that momentum, the Lions were able to go down the field and kick a 44 yard field goal of their own by Jason Hanson.

With the lead, the Lions defense would step up to the task of slowing down Shaun Alexander and the rest of the Seahawks on offense.  When Seattle did get down into Detroit territory, the special teams came up big again.  For the second time on the day, the Lions blocked a Josh Brown field goal attempt.  The kick was from 53 yards out, so it had to be kicked lower than usual to get the distance, and Detroit capitalized on it.  This time it was James Hall who got his hand up in the right place.

Even with the blocked kick, Seattle got the ball right back after Kevin Jones fumbled the ball on only the second play of the drive.  The Seahawks took advantage of the turnover and tied up the game with a 20 yard field goal.  They almost got into the endzone for a touchdown, but the Lions defense stepped it up and held them short.

Not much else happened in the first half except for another Seattle field goal, this time from 51 yards out, to close off the second quarter.  Here's a contradictory statement, the first half of play can be summarized as being boringly-exciting.  The play got a little dry after so many punts and possessions just going back and forth, but it was exciting in the sense that the two teams were so close in score.

Photo ? Sean Yuille/Pride of Detroit
At this point, I was very happy with the Lions performance thusfar during the game. Detroit was keeping it close with the second best team in the league from the previous year, and were dominating them on defense. All it would take is a touchdown and they could be the leading team.

The second half was very similar with the first; minus the two blocked kicks. The two teams traded possessions and punted the ball away, neither striking that big play to go on top convincingly.

Detroit would get close many times to getting into field goal range as they moved it well, but always seemed to stall out on offense. They would eventually get more points on the board after a 37 yard Jason Hanson field goal, but couldn't seem to push it into the endzone. On the brightside, Detroit had tied it with one of the best teams in the NFL, and had all of the momentum.

The defense continued to lead this Lions team to what had seemed to be a path to victory. The biggest span of events to occur during this game happened around the five minute mark in the fourth quarter. The Detroit defense was on fire and backed up Seattle all the way to their own 9 yard line before a punt. Field position was in Detroit's favor by far as the Lions took over at the Seattle 43. All they had to do was get into field goal range to kick the game-winner. Instead, the Lions hurt their chances because of some costly mistakes, and then a questionable play call.

A holding call on Jeff Backus pushed Detroit back to their own 47 yard line. The Lions made up some of their ground and got down to the Seattle 37 for a crucial 3rd and 4 play. What transpired next just made me cringe. Shawn Bryson went out and down the sideline by himself and had the ball thrown in his direction. A reception would've easily got the first down, but instead, the pass fell to the ground simply because Bryson never looked back. A miscommunication had to have happened as Kitna and Bryson obviously weren't on the same page.

Photo ? Sean Yuille/Pride of Detroit
This is where the questionable play call came. Some say that Jason Hanson should've attempted what would've been a 54 yard field goal. That would've been a mistake as Hanson just doesn't have the power for that anymore. In warm-ups, he was trying to hit them from 50 yards out, and didn't convert once, so a field goal would be out of the question. What I would've like to have seen was for the Lions to just go for it. There was only 4 yards to go, and I'm sure a little out pattern in mid-range could've gotten you the first down. But, much to my dismay, the Lions punted it away. The punt went into the endzone, and only ended up getting 17 net yards.

Seattle dodged a bullet since Detroit had such great position to go down the field and score to win the game. That didn't happen, and the Seahawks ran the clock down and moved the ball into Detroit territory. By the way the play calling was going, it appeared that Seattle was just going to try and run the clock out and play for overtime, possibly because they didn't want to risk getting another field goal blocked.

On 3rd and 1, the Lions' hopes of victory were slashed. All Detroit needed to do was prevent any decent-sized gains, and then they would probably be going to OT. That just didn't happen. Maurice Morris cut to the outside and ran up the field 17 yards to get the ball into field goal range for Seattle, and setup the game-winning kick. Josh Brown didn't get it blocked again, and converted the 42 yarder for the victory.

The final score was 9-6. If you would've told me that the Lions would hold Seattle to just 9 points, then my figuring would've been that Detroit had won. The offense just couldn't get going enough to power the Lions to victory. You couldn't ask for a better effort than the defense showed. It was a great performance, and was the only thing that kept Detroit alive in this game.

As the disappointment has faded away, it is now time to get ready for the second game of the season at Chicago. The NFC North battle is a big one for both teams, but is going to be Rod Marinelli's first challenge on the road. The Lions need to rebound from this loss and get that coveted win. Chicago is coming off of a blowout of Green Bay, and will try and do the same thing in week 2.

Much more on this game throughout the week here at Pride of Detroit. There's plenty to talk about, and already I've gone on for quite a while, so look for a ton more throughout this week. Until then, don't get down too much Lions fans, there is always next week. It was a good showing, and with a few less mistakes, I may have been celebrating victory right now.