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- 1 score on 1 chance (1 touchdown)
I didn't even realize this until I sat down to write this post, but the Lions spent only one play in the red zone against Cincinnati. That play came at the end of the game when Kevin Smith ran into the end zone for a touchdown. The TD was set up by a prayer that was brought down by Calvin Johnson. Had that pass not been completed, chances are the Lions would have gone an entire game without a single red zone appearance. Obviously that wasn't a big problem when Matthew Stafford threw the touchdown pass to Calvin, but the fact that they barely even got close to the 20 for most of the game says a lot about how much the offense struggled and also how good Cincinnati's defense was.
- 2 scores on 2 chances (2 field goals)
The defense played an exceptional game when it came to the red zone. Not only did Cincinnati only get into the red zone twice, but the defense held the Bengals to field goals both times. One possession for the Bengals produced a 36-yard touchdown pass to Chad Ochocinco, possibly taking away an added red zone appearance, but even so, twice Cincinnati was driving and Detroit forced a turnover. The first was Will James' interception and the second was when Dewayne White recovered a fumble. It's not a guarantee that those possessions would have ended somewhere inside the 20, but the fact that the Lions' defense didn't let them get that far is great.
For the offense, what they need to work on hasn't really changed. They need more appearances inside the 20 if they want to win games. Spending all of one play in the red zone is just pathetic, especially when that one play came at the end of the game once things had already basically been decided.
For the defense, all I can say is to keep up the good work. One of the biggest improvements this season has been the defense's play in the red zone. Of course, one of the general problems that hasn't completely gone away is letting opposing offenses into the red zone too often, but that wasn't the case against Cincinnati. It's good to see the defense improve both in keeping opposing teams out of the end zone once they get inside the 20 and more recently keeping them out of the red zone altogether.