Sunday, September 27, 2009

On Tap: Washington at Detroit

Earlier, I predicted on my facebook account status message that Washington would hang in and beat Detroit by a slight margin, 20-17. After reading all the press clips about Washington, it's apparent the team is either in a state of or on the verge of disarray. Jim Zorn, the head coach and former Lions QB coach for Scott Mitchell and Charlie Batch ca. late '90s, is on the hot seat. QB Jason Campbell is under a lot of pressure to win. Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder is as impulsive an owner as Brett Favre is a football player.

If Detroit pulls one out today, Washington may never recover. Oh, and last week, they beat the St. Louis Rams 9-7.

Oh what the hell. Detroit ends it losing streak today!

Washington 17
Detroit 21

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well, When You Give Up 27 Unanswered Points...

They showed some promise. Matthew Stafford threw his first touchdown pass ever to Calvin Johnson. The Lions were leading 10-0. Then the game happened, and Detroit had no answers.

Nobody had an answer for Adrian Peterson. Or Brett Favre. And when a team scores 27 without any response, the game is lost.

Is there anything to take away from today's game? What, that the margin of defeat was four points fewer today? Sure, except the offense only put up less than half of what they scored last week.

Stafford is still making errant throws. His career TD/INT ratio stands at 1/5. At least he got the ball to TE Brandon Pettigrew today.

Alas, this one's more deflating than last week. It probably has something to do with the season being underway.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ubiquitously Yours, Jai-Lee Dearing

Jai-Lee Dearing has mastered the trick all magicians before him have failed: to be in two places at once.

Apparently while being interviewed on WCHB 1200 AM radio, Dearing was also involved in an online discussion with the Detroit Free Press' Stephen Henderson and fielding questions from freep readers. At least that's what he wanted people to believe.

The interview ran over longer than Dearing had anticipated, and his campaign manager, Mike Carroll, was actually the one fielding questions online. Carroll said that his answers were consistent with the candidate's, noting “Jai-Lee and I are of one mind. They’re his answers,” but now acknowledges he should have signed in under his own name.

I wonder if the new city charter will allow Carroll to sit in and vote on matters if Dearing can't make it to council.

On Tap: Vikings at Lions

Brett Favre returns to Detroit, this time as a Minnesota Viking. Favre is 23-9 against the Lions.

Say what you want about Favre, I was a supporter of his last year. The Green Bay Packers forced him into a making a decision he wasn't ready to make. Because he chose to retire, Green Bay drafted two quarterbacks in 2008 to back up Aaron Rodgers. Favre suddenly decided he wanted to play again right before training camp. The Packers were committed to Rogers and the media hounded Favre for being selfish (which he partly was).

Once he landed in New York, things started off promising. The Jets were at one point 8-3, and had a realistic shot of clinching the AFC East Title. A 1-4 collapse down the stretch cost Head Coach Eric Mangini his job and Favre opted to leave football once more. During the season, Mangini had called out Favre in the locker room in front of other players which caused a rift that the Jets never recovered from.

After months of speculation, hemming, and hawing, Favre decided to return to football, this time with the Minnesota Vikings. While there were initial concerns about his own health, especially in his biceps, he was apparently well enough to forge ahead and return to the NFC North. His signing instantly put the Vikings at the top of the division.

Even though I got tired of Favre at this point, Minnesota apparently didn't. Favre got a chance last week to light up his former coach, Mangini, which I'm sure he did with glee.

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As for Sunday, this game is going to the Vikings. Much like last week, I believe the Lions will make a serious attempt at making it a game. But the Vikings, who aren't as good as the Saints, will still be a couple of steps ahead of the Lions.

End result:

Minnesota 38
Detroit 24

Welcome to Detroit, Matt Stafford

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lions 27, Saints 45

I just watched the rest of the game and left the house when it was all over. For a moment it looked as though the Lions were going to keep it close. They were down 38-27 in the third. But the Saints piled it on, and Head Coach Jim Schwartz wasn't happy with today's performance.

I started listening to 97.1 after the game to hear some fan reactions. It was mostly negative. One caller in particular said the "Matthew Stafford bust era has begun." Apparently, he annoyed the host so much that they got into a pissing match over the radio and made both themselves look like fools. I say anytime you get the talk show host fuming like that, it always looks worse on him than the caller.

So what do we take from this game? How about the negative first.

  • As typical of last season, they were blown out.
  • Drew Brees threw six touchdowns, tying a club record. He also threw over 300 yards.
  • The defense gave up 260 yards in the first half alone.
  • Matt Stafford threw three interceptions, and was 16-for-37 passing with 207 yards.
  • Eric King gave up three touchdowns covering three different receivers.
  • Brandon Pettigrew was non-existent.
  • Plain and simple: they lost. Expect more of this throughout the remainder of the season.
And what the hell was with New Orleans still running the ball when the game's outcome was decided? How about a kneel-down? Detroit wasn't coming back. I didn't see how many timeouts Detroit had left, but I know it wasn't three, since Schwartz challenged a call that Reggie Bush hadn't fumbled and lost.

Is there something positive to take from the game? I'll try.

  • 27 - the points the Lions put up. That is more their highest score in all of 2008 (they scored 25 at least twice).
  • 1 - interception by Anthony Henry. He has tied the team total for interceptions from 2008.
  • 1 - blown call by the referees, taking away a Calvin Johnson TD. Not that it mattered, Stafford ended running the ball in. It just hurt my brother-in-law's Fantasy Football score.
  • 4 - quarters the Lions were in before collapsing. Last year, it was over in the first and second quarters.
  • Dennis Northcutt's punt return that set up a Kevin Smith TD.
I don't deny for one second I'm scraping from the bottom of the barrel. And Jim Schwartz was right to be angry at this team. They set out goals and none were accomplished. Oh, and where was all the blitzing we were promised from Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham?

If I don't see the Vikings next week, it will be because the game was blacked out. I may be doing myself a favor. Brett Favre is back to torment Detroit twice.

Just like old times.

Sidenote: apparently I orginally posted that Philip Buchanon was injured in the game. He wasn't; he had been scratched from the lineup prior to opening kickoff.

Halftime

This looks bad. But, it looks as expected. The score: Detroit 10, New Orleans 28. Here we go.

  • Failure to capitalize of Anthony Henry's (29) interception gave the Saints another opportunity to score, which they did. Another TD strike from Drew Brees to Tight End Jeremy Shockey made the score what it is now.
  • The Lions get the ball again and fail to convert. Matthew Stafford (9) throws his first career interception.
  • With less than a minute to go, the Saints MOVE the ball downfield. They come close to another TD but are stopped by great pass coverage from the secondary. Jon Carney's field goal attempt is BLOCKED. Great play, but would've been much more helpful had there still been time to put together a drive.
  • There is no excuse for giving up 28 points in one half. Game is a lost cause in terms of victory. I still think the Lions will make a game of it and score some more points before it's over.

In other news, New York Jets rookie QB Matt Sanchez threw his first career TD to Chansi Stuckey (spelling?). Matt Cassel is inactive for Kansas City. Didn't know Favre would be facing his old head coach today, Eric Mangini.

Let the third quarter begin.

Late To Game, Late To Blog

Was listening on the radio and heard the Saints were already up 14-0. Ugh. Brees has been picking on Lions CB Eric King (29). Heard Philip Buchanon went down. Ow.

Some other thoughts:

  • Nice punt return by Dennis Northcutt (86) setting up touchdown drive. Stafford does a FB-fake, pitches it to Kevin Smith (34) for the Lions' first TD. Detroit: 10, New Orleans: 14.
  • Anthony Henry's (32) interception comes off of a Drew Brees' flea flicker bomb. Henry had just tied the Lions' interception total for all of 2008.
  • We fail to capitalize off Henry's interception. Saints move the ball inside the Lions' 10. Defense hasn't been aggressive like Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham promised. Need to blitz! Quick pass to Reggie Bush moves Saints closer to TD. Lions stop Mike Bell from scoring, making it 3rd Down. Brees fakes hand-off; TD Jeremy Shockey, the Saints' Tight End. Flag on the play......Unsportsman-like Conduct on Lions' S Louis Delmas (26). Rookie mistake. To be enforced on the kickoff.

More to come...

On Tap: Detroit at New Orleans

The Matt Stafford era begins in Detroit today. Well, technically it begins in New Orleans. Wherever the hell you want to call it, Stafford will make his first official start as the Lions' quarterback. Coach Jim Schwartz declared a week ago that Stafford met all the criteria and won the job outright.

I'm supportive of the decision, despite my preference for Daunte Culpepper to start. I was not a fan of Culpepper when the team signed him last year, but today I have much more respect for him now then I ever did at any point in his career. Culpepper was offered a chance to compete for the starting position. He lost thirty six pounds between last December and training camp in July. He showed his arm strength was still there and he retained some of the speed.

He came back knowing if he did win the starting job, he would not be holding it for long. Culpepper was the stop-gap, Stafford was the future. After all was said and done, Head Coach Jim Schwartz opted for Matthew Stafford, a man who earned the position. Both earned it, really. It just came down to not if, but how soon would Stafford be lining up behind center.

All Culpepper wanted was one more chance to resurrect his career. Sadly, it won't happen in Detroit, unless Stafford is seriously injured. Otherwise, he will be watching Stafford on the sidelines as he struggles, even if it means the Lions go 0-6, 0-8, or even 0-10.

But on a positive note, Culpepper has at least earned another opportunity to resurrect his career. Just in another town for another team. Until then, he remains in my mind, a class act and a great veteran to guide Stafford.

Now on to the game.

The Saints' offense is probably the most powerful in all the NFL. Detroit's defense still has too many holes to stop both their run game and passing attack. The only hope for Detroit is for the offense to click on cylinders at all times. As long as the keep New Orleans' offense off the field, the Lions have a shot of keeping it close.

A preview of things to come, I believe this game will be over as early as the late third quarter or into the fourth. Considering that last year, most games ended in the first and second quarters, this is actually a step up. Remember, the Lions are relying heavily this year on rookies. Stafford at QB, Brandon Pettigrew at Tight End, and Louis Delmas at Cornerback.

Expect promise.

Expect miscues.

Expect fun!

The outcome:

Lions 17
Saints 30.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Freep's Oneita Jackson Weighs In On Rashida

I recently posted about State Rep. Rashida Tlaib's trouble with a recall movement that's been underway by Adolph Mongo and Matty Moroun.

Oneita Jackson, a writer/blogger whose column O Street appears in the online and print editions fot the Detroit Free Press, just posted a new blog online about Tlaib's recent visit to the Corktown Residents Council. According to Jackson, the people there seemed pretty enthusiastic to see her speaking.

Perhaps the most memorable comment relating to the recall/international bridge issue was Tlaib declaring, "It could be because I’m Palestinian, but I have a problem with people occupying land,"

That's putting it bluntly.

Read it here.