You know that comparative sports cliche that ends with the answer, ‘well, it’s probably somewhere in the middle’?
That’s the answer if you’re asking yourself which is the REAL Lions team after yesterday’s 34-24 home opening win against the (hapless because of Ponder) Vikings.
The first half was a thirty minute review of the entire 2012 season.
March the field. Check.
Settle for field goals. Check.
Forget that Adian Peterson is a Viking. Check.
Inexplicably let someone like Jerome Simpson abuse an abysmal secondary. Check.
Commit irresponsible penalities inflicting all sorts of self wounds. Check.
Then in the second, some discerning and discplined, high functioning team showed up. ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BOTH.
Which is the real Lions team? Well, let’s keep in mind Christian Ponder is a bottom five NFL starting QB, and it’s hard to believe the Lions can maintain the strict good behavior for a lengthy period of time, but I *think* this Lions team CAN be a little closer to the team in the second half than the first. Because…
Yes, yes, yes, Reggie Bush is the most explosive Lions runner since 1999. I really hadn’t seen that Reg-gie, Reg-gie since USC. I was a big Bush fan and I followed nearly every Saints game he ever played. He never ran like this. I believe it’s because like a veteran hitter reducing his K’s in favor of walks, Bush understands the holes in front of him like never before. And with the speed he still has, because he’s right, he’s fresh even after 7 seasons, we got to see USC Bush yesterday.
The offensive line that I thought would cost Stafford pain and injury played VERY well, considering my expectations. It was aided by Stafford’s quick reads. Savvy play from the young, 5th year veteran QB to help his line.
And when the Lions have the lead, the defensive line can play to its #1 strength, rush the damn quarterback. And when the QB is Ponder, good things happen for Detroit.
My Friday prediction was the Lions eek one out in spite of themselves. I get half credit for that. Onto to Arizona, where Larry Fitzgerald has been reborn thanks to Palmer (don’t laugh) + Arians. Fitzgerald could do to the Lions next week, what Anquan Boldin did to GB yesterday.
Other notes (which were my tweets if you kindly followed yesterday)…
– Free agency and Father Time, and lousy drafts, have finally caught the Steelers. Now we’ll see the mettle of Mike Tomlin.
– ‘Dear NFL defenses, you practiced defending the read option ALL spring and summer, and now we’re not going to run out. Love, the 49ers.’ Of course not, because Kaepernick can throw his ass off. With that backfield (Gore + Hunter), Davis and Boldin are enough on offense.
– Oh, helllloooo Terrelle Pryor. When in doubt, give the running quarterback a chance. Look, it was a disaster, but the Vikings even tried it in last year’s playoffs with Joe Webb. He wasn’t a dominant college player at a major university though.
– EJ Manuel didn’t make it to the Eagles to play with Chip Kelly 😦
– I’m the only one to have said this: Cardinals, underrated. Rams, overrated. I’m sticking with that. LMK if that division winds up undefeated against the rest of the NFL. So far, Sea over Car and SF over GB (2-0).
– Oh? You played against Peyton Manning? I have Bush and Megatron and lost FOUR scores. Pity me. No, not really.
– If the Jets only win game all year, history won’t forget the name Lavonte David. The Jets aren’t surprising…the Buccaneers turned it over twice, had 13 penalties, Freeman complete under 50% of his passes, but, but, but…the Jets defense has potential to be as good as it was Rex’s first two years. Milliner will eventually be much better than the 154 yard day Vincent Jackson hung on him.
If you heard Cam Newton in the post game yesterday, the mature words are there, even after a difficult home loss to Seattle. If he marries that attitude with the play of Year 1, he’ll be OK. Here’s more on his evolution.
Teddy Bridgewater may still be the betting favorite for the Heisman. I’d like to wager my life savings and every penny moving forward that I make against that. No Heisman winner in the BCS era has ever come from a non-BCS school. The only BCS school that L’ville plays all year is next week, Kentucky. This isn’t to knock his NFL draft status, but there’s no way Bridgewater is winning the Heisman with that schedule, not even with the cartoonish stats he’s going to put up. But, want some unfamiliar names who could join the race? Jared Goff of Cal, especially if they upset OSU this week. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, maybe he figured it out, and he has a chance for many signature moments and wins. OK. St.’s JW Walsh can throw up some silly numbers in the Big 12.