Woohhh. Sit back for a few moments and try to take this one in.
After a wild fourth quarter that saw a total of 46 points scored between the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans, the home team was able to edge out the visiting Lions by a score of 44-41.
Rob Bironas netted a 26-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime to give the Titans a 44-41 lead. With a chance to either tie or win the game, the Lions inexplicably decided to go for it instead of kick the field goal on the 7-yard line of Tennessee. Backup quarterback Shaun Hill was stopped on the fourth-and-1 attempt to clinch the game for the Titans.
Head coach Jim Schwartz called it a “miscommunication” and stated that the team was “trying to draw them offsides,” as center Dominic Raiola snapped the ball to an unprepared Hill.
The Titans scored five touchdowns all from at least 60 yards out, a first in a single game in NFL history .Two of those came on special teams, where Darius Reynaud and Tommie Campbell channeled their inner Frank Wycheck and Kevin Dyson. Reynaud threw a cross field lateral to Campbell to score the Titans first touchdown of the game in their updated version of the Music City Miracle from the 1999-2000 playoffs.
Although Detroit held Tennessee to just 59 yards rushing, Jake Locker nickled and dimed the Lions for 378 yards and two touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford suffered an apparent right leg injury, which led to Shaun Hill’s entry into the game late in the fourth quarter. Stafford finished with 278 yards on 33 of 42 passing and a touchdown.
The question now is: Where do the Lions go from here?
This was a contest that they needed to have to not only avoid starting out 1-2, but being sent to the bottom of the difficult NFC North (EDIT: Green Bay’s Monday Night loss also puts them at 1-2 and in a tie for third in the division).
Once again, their defense failed to show up allowing 437 net yards offense. Their special teams, as mentioned, allowed two touchdowns. That cannot happen for a team wishing to make the playoffs a second consecutive year.
Despite winning the battle of time of possession by nearly 13 minutes and outgaining the Titans by almost 150 yards of net offense, the Lions came up just short for a second straight week. As terrible as allowing five touchdowns for over 60 yards apiece is, the Lions also suffered 91 penalty yards compared to the Titans 32.
Simply put, through three weeks, these Detroit Lions are an extremely fundamentally flawed team. Their defense seems to have taken a step back from last season (and it was not great to begin with), but also, the Lions offense has yet to click on all cylinders. Even though Stafford has a 68.9 percent completion percentage in 2012, he has just three touchdown passes compared to four interceptions. He is also averaging a half yard per attempt less than in 2011.
With two road games after their week 5 bye against Philadelphia and Chicago, the Lions home game against division foe Minnesota Vikings next week essentially puts the Lions in a must win position in week 4. If they fail to come home with a win, there is a distinct possibility of this playoff Cinderella from 2011 starting out their 2012 season with a dismal record of 1-5.
Note: One of the lone bright sides for Detroit was the emergence of running back Mikel LeShoure. Making his first NFL start after missing 2011 with an Achilles’ tendon injury and missing the first two games of 2012 due to a suspension, LeShoure had 26 carries for 100 yards and a 1-yard touchdown. Running back Kevin Smith, the Lions start for the first two weeks, interestingly received no touches.
Prediction Review: Although I’m probably not alone here, I missed the mark on this one…badly. I had the Lions point total close with 38, but I did not quite see the Titans putting up 44 in a victory. Back to the drawing board.
NFC North Standings:
Chicago Bears (2-1)
Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
Detroit Lions (1-2)
Green Bay Packers (1-2)
About the Author
Written by Matt Austin