It had to happen that way, didn’t it? I thought that to myself as I stood in the dining room shaking and heart beating out of my chest. Of course this particular time, it was for good reason. The Detroit Lions managed to pick up their first win of the season against the Indianapolis Colts 39-35. This game had every emotion packed into it. In between those emotions, I had some thoughts on the game. Here are those thoughts.
A win is a win, but it wasn’t pretty.
The positive side of this is that the Lions are 1-0 and got themselves a win over a team that very little analysts believed they would beat. The negative is that this game began to play out like a movie that all Lions fans have seen before. Notably, the movie called “2015 Week 1 in San Diego.” Yes, this was different because they won, but it doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence going forward.
The Lions ran the ball well. No joke.
After finishing 32nd in rushing in 2015, pretty much everyone expected a bit of a rise. But this was so much more. No one stood out in particular; everyone did. Ameer Abdullah ran for 63 yards and posted 57 and a touchdown through the air. Riddick chipped in with 45 on the ground and 63 through the air, not to mention two touchdowns.
Nobody would have believe me if I told them that those two would combine for 40 fantasy points in Week 1. Of course, nobody would believe that Dwayne Washington would score his first touchdown in Week 1 either. All of these things happened.
Offensive line looked not so bad either
It wasn’t a perfect effort, but considering the Lions had the rushing results showed above and Matthew Stafford only got sacked once, I’d say they were better than expected and about as good as one could hope this young line could be. This must continue.
A balanced up tempo offense? What a novel idea
Who would have thought that 16 games of screaming “go up tempo!!” at your TV in 2015 would actually begin to pay off someday? Well it appears as though maybe it has. It’s only one game, so I’m not ready to answer that yet, but in the early going, it actually appears as though the Lions have that fast and balanced offense that Lions fans have been clamoring for for years. Imagine a world where this continues to happen.
Matthew Stafford: Still legit
But perhaps this time he was a little more legit than usual. Stafford went 31-39 for 340 yards and three touchdowns. He looked like the veteran quarterback that you’d expect a former No. 1 pick to be in his eighth season. More so, Stafford continues to look more and more like a leader every year. Volunteering to block, rallying his guys, harping on his guys and leading the team to victory. All the things you dream of. They may be happening.
Defense is still in the preseason
Or at least it seemed that way. Despite the loss, Andrew Luck went off on the Lions with 385 yards and four touchdowns. He made many fantasy players’ day. You can argue that Andrew Luck is an above average quarterback and that the Lions won’t see a guy like him every week, but you can also argue that everyone looked out of place, especially the linebacking corps. DeAndre Levy needs to shake off the rust and Tahir Whitehead, or “ty-year” as the announcers continued to call him, looked great in some spots, but horrible in others. With Aaron Rodgers and company just two weeks away, this must be cleaned up.
Matt Prater almost killed everyone
Who didn’t have a mini heart attack when Matt Prater missed the extra point? I know I did. I had every memory of every stupid Lions loss rush through my head. We’ve seen this before. Everyone knew what was coming next. Then the unhappiness just never came, and Prater made up for the miss with the game winning 43-yard field goal. A simple request to Matt on behalf of every Lions fan in the world: Please don’t do that again.
Around the division
Every NFC North team had a hard day at the office. The Vikings offense was terrible and the team was gifted their first win by a worse Titans team. The Packers almost lost to a surging Jaguars team that scares me now. Lastly the Bears lost to the Texans. Everyone rejoice. For a division that’s also considered to be the best, it should be interesting to see where things go from here.
What do you think Lions fans? What are your thoughts on this game? Did you lose any hair? did you grow some for some reason? Be sure to leave your comments below or come chat with me on Twitter @POD_Payton.