Lions get the big W 36-21 in the black hole!

Hondo S. Carpenter

Lions get the big W 36-21 in the black hole!

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The Lions came into the game with everyone talking about their high-powered offense, it was the defense that people had questions with. Well, if today’s game with the Raiders was any indication the thing-which-we-feared may not be as bad as presumed.

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The Lions controlled the Raiders (albeit the Raiders), and Shaun Rogers made it clear that no matter what you think of him he is a star athlete when he wants to be. The Lions defense pressured former Lion Josh McCown all day, but it will be more telling how good they really are next week against a much better OL from the Vikings. They had 3 sacks, but even though they want that number to be at least five, the encouraging fact was that two of them came from Kalimba Edwards.

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Shaun Rogers’s performance today had to make Lions fans encouraged that he is healthy, but it also had to frustrate them because he did the same last year against the Seattle Seahawks and then failed to show up the rest of the season. He had a crucial blocked field goal early that was huge and finished the day with only one tackle, but that stat is not indicative of his presence in the game. The Raiders made containing him priority number one and with so many resources (double and triple teams) committed to him it opened up opportunity for others and he looked very good.

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Kitna showed us early that his problem with holding the ball too long last season was not eradicated, but it certainly wasn’t as prevalent as last season. He had a sack with just over 11 minutes in the second quarter by holding it for what seemed like ages and threw a critical interception in the end zone that killed a great scoring drive. It only happened one other time and the Lions didn’t suffer from it.

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The Lions had a great chance to score late in the first half but again a critical error by Kitna cost them. With 1:20 left in the half he had a third down and a wide-open receiver, but he threw a bad ball and the Lions were unable to convert and had to settle for a field goal. These errors may not seem like a lot if you simply want to celebrate a win on the road to start a season, but they are things you have to look at and scrutinize if this team will reach the self-predicted goals that they set for themselves.  On the day he was 27 of 36 for 289 yards with three TD’s and two INT’s.

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Tatum Bell started for the Lions and ran for 87 yards on 15 carries. He had one TD and his longest run was for 24 yards. Duckett only got three carries for 4 yards.

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The receiving group confirmed what we all already knew in that it is the best part of the team. Rookie sensation Calvin Johnson got his first career TD and Roy Williams got another along with the star of the game Shaun McDonald. McDonald had 6 receptions for 90 yards with his score. CJ had 4 receptions and Furrey added 5.

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The interesting part was watching Roy give away his TD ball (which he always does to some Lion fan) and giving it to a very grateful lady wearing a CJ jersey.

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The Lions had 7 penalties for 50 yards, but another nice addition was that they had no fumbles. The Lions can walk away from this with a lot of positives. The OL was not where it needed to be and the Lions had virtually no running game. The runs they did get to succeed came out of a spread formation generally and that is something that is going to have to be addressed as the game gets a lot more competitive on a weekly basis against much better teams.

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Grades:

OL: 2 sacks are impressive but a lot of that credit goes to Kitna who showed more mobility than at any time last season. They essentially had only 74 yards when you take away the 17 Kitna got scrambling. Kitna was under a lot of heat all game and George Foster had 3 dumb false starts. The thing that you had to recognize however is that the Raiders have one of the best defenses in the NFL and the Lions got the W. Grade: B-

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WR’s: Played very well. They didn’t fold. Grade: A

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Kitna: Two INT’s but showed very good mobility and didn’t fold. Really only held the ball too long twice. Grade: B

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RB’s: Ineffective but the Raiders are one of the best against the run. Grade: C

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Defense: They showed something that we didn’t see all pre-season. They were very good and the ironic factor was that this was the first time all season they had played together. They only had 3 sacks but McCown was throwing fast and that figure isn’t indicative of the rush. McCown didn’t get a lot of time very often and the Lions had a good rotation of fresh bodies. They did give up 21 points, which is too many in the NFL but they got the stops unlike past years when they had to and it wasn’t the offense in a shoot out. They actually contributed to this win. Grade: B-

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Coaches’ Grade: A! Rod Marinelli has gotten these men to buy into what he believes, and they are a mirror to his steadfast commitment to pounding the rock. The DL played very well. The Raiders are not a top five team offensively so you can’t read too much into that, but their defense is and the Lions dropped 36. Special teams looked good and this staff gets the credit and the love.

Play of the game? The Raiders came storming back to take the lead 21-20 and the Lions didn’t fold like in the past. They simply scored 16 unanswered points for the win. That impressed me more than anything!

THANKS FOR READING SPARTAN NATION
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