The NFC North leading Detroit Lions come into todayâ€™s big game bruised but fully capable of winning this game.Â The Panthers of Carolina have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and this is as great of an opportunity that Joey will have to do anything as Garciaâ€™s improving health creeps over his shoulder.
With Mike Williams and Kevin Johnson, followed by Pollard and Fitzsimmons, it is not as if the passing game of the Lions is deplorable, and truthfully many teams would love those weapons.Â
I have already said that it is time for Joey to get the hook, but this will be his best opportunity to salvage something.Â Joey has never fulfilled expectations, and I certainly do not expect him to today.Â I do think that our defense does a great job yet again and puts us in position and we win.
The Lions got the ball to start the game and Bly took it to the 22.Â Joey moved the team well and made some good decisions.Â Unfortunately a penalty on Backus and a sack on a Bryson failure to pick up a blitzer made the Lions punt.Â The Panthers started at their own 9.
The voracious Lions defense had the Panthers deep on their first drive. Playing to the crowd, they wanted to take it to them quick.Â They did, however, march right down the field, but the hard-hitting Lions punished them the whole way until finally Earl Holmes caused a fumble and Holt returned it to the Panther 34.
The Lions came out needing to put points on the board, but Joey was unable yet again to move the team.Â Hanson had a field goal attempt that was tipped and the hapless offense left the field yet again failing to score with a gift from the defense.
The Lions defense again, however, stopped the Panthers with the help of an appreciative crowd and it was 3 and out.Â R.W. McQuarters went back for the Panther punt and he moved out of the way to let the punt go into the end zone.Â Dreâ€™ Bly made a bad decision, and the Lions began the next drive at their own 3.
The Lions offense, however, exercised in futility watched Kevin Jones make a nice run, but then on the next play our terrible QB play continued as Joey fumbled and the Panthers got the ball at the Lion 12.Â
The Lionsâ€™ defense however had a valiant effort, but they couldnâ€™t deny the Panthers. They scored a TD.Â The PAT was good, and the Panthers had a 7-0 lead with 54 seconds left in the 1st quarter.
The Lions last drive of the 1st quarter and 1st drive of the 2nd quarter were one and the same.Â Sadly, the new quarter did not mean a new offense.Â They continued whatever it is you call this futile attempt of an offense.Â Instead of the west coast offense, we should call it the wet noodle offense.Â Pathetic!Â The myriad of mistakes and miscues would have been humorous if it was not our team.Â The Lions punt team once again did a good job and the Panthers began drive #1 of the 2nd quarter at their own 12.
Again the crowd roared to attention to help out this hard working and under appreciated defense, and they did not disappoint.Â Boss Bailey got an interception and ran it back 34-yards for a TD.Â The PAT was good and with the help of the crowd, it was the Panthers 7 and the Lions Defense 7, with 14:17 left in the 2nd quarter.
The Panthers however responded right back.Â On the first play Delhomme hit Smith for an 80-yard TD.Â The PAT was good and with 14:00 left in the 2nd quarter, the score was the Panthers 14 and the Lions defense 7.
R.W. McQuarters had a great run back and the Lions began at their own 36.Â
After yet more mistakes by the Lionsâ€™ offense, the Lions were faced with a 2nd and 24.Â They ran Bryson up the middle and the crowd, rightfully so, booed.Â On 3rd and a mile, they ran a short screen, and yet again the crowd went nuts.Â The pathetic and under performing play calling continued as we had to re-do 4th down 3 times for stupid holding penalties.Â Finally we actually got a punt away without a penalty, and the Panthers began their next drive at their own 41.
The Panthersâ€™ next drive saw them drive momentarily until the hungry Lions defense once again bit them.Â Kenoy Kennedy got an interception and returned it 64 yards for the TD.Â The PAT was good and with 8:28 left in the 2nd quarter, it was the Lions defense 14 and the Panthers 14.
The Lions defense stifled the Panthers again, and the Lions took the ball over on offense (to a chorus of boos) from their own 33.Â Well, the under expecting crowd got what is thought.Â Another penalty by Backus, some bad play calling, and Joey fumbling while Mike Williams was in single coverage.Â The Panthers however could do nothing as they tried a 52-yard field goal and Shaun â€œBig Babyâ€ Rogers blocked that.Â
With 1:48 left in the 2nd quarter, the Lions tried a pass on 1st down to Pollard. It was a bad pass, and he couldnâ€™t get it. Sadly, Joey missed a wide-open and deep Kevin Johnson.Â On 2nd down, Backus missed his assignment, and Joey was sacked.Â On 3rd down, they ran Bryson up the middle for a dumb call and 3 yards.Â Carolina took a time out so the Lions could punt (and they could get the ball and go for a score), and to give the Panthers some time.Â At least the fans for the second week in a row got to see an aggressive and successful coach better utilize the time clock.Â The Panthers, however, were unable to do anything against the Lions and the half ended.
The panthers began the 2nd half at their own 10, and after 3 plays they remained there thanks to the Lions defense.Â After the punt however, the Lions offense got the ball to the Panther 41, where they faced a 4th and 3.Â Needing some kind of spark, Mooch went for it and I agreed with him.Â High pass to Kevin Johnson was not completed, but the ref did call interference.Â Sadly, Joey locked into his receiver and telegraphed his pass yet again.Â With the penalty, and no thanks to Joey, the Lions had a 1st and 10 at the 35.Â Joey held the ball rather than throwing it away the next play and we lost 11 on Kyle Kosierâ€™s failure to block his man.Â Joey, then, threw the worst pass I have seen in a long time. Wait, since last game.Â The Panthers had a great opportunity to score, but Dreâ€™ Bly intercepted Delhomme and the Lions defense saved the day yet again.Â Discord was evident on the team as the Lions came back on the field for offense.
The Panther defense continued to leave Mike Williams in single coverage knowing that a run was coming, and Joey failed to audible and worst yet, the coaches failed to go after it.Â Finally after being available all day, they did go to Williams for a nice gain, but he fumbled and the Panthers once again got the ball from the atrophic Lions offense.Â
The crowd stood and thundered as the Lions defense was once again called on to save the day, and they did.Â Helped by a thunderous crowd and great physical play.Â The Lions offense was greeted by a warm chorus of boos as they got the ball at their own 36.Â They once again played terrible as they tried to march the ball down the field.Â The play calling was suspect at best, as they tried to run the ball when it was simply not there.Â I cannot comprehend why you try to run it when you canâ€™t?Â I realize that Joey is your QB, but you have to take what they give you.Â The Lions were able to get to the 41 of the Panthers after two quick completed passes. However, they went back to the ground game and got stopped.Â Facing a 4th and 1 at their own 40, Mooch went for it.Â He had Joey throw on a short square out to Fitzsimmons and it was good for a 1st.Â On 1st and 10 at the 36, the Lions got a 12 man penalty (coaching blunder), and they got moved back to their own 41 for a 1st and 15.Â Joey, again however, and the offense sputtered and Hanson came in and hit a successful 52-yard field goal.Â So, with :40 left in the 3rd quarter, it was the Lions defense leading 17-14.Â Had the defense not given them the ball where they did, they certainly couldnâ€™t have got that field goal.
The Panther offense again was unable to do anything to the fired up Lions defense, and once again the Lions defense got the ball back for the writhing and flopping offense.Â Led by a true NFL QB, the Panthers were able to move the ball against the tight fisted but exhausted defense.Â You have to give them some credit; they had been on the field most of the game.Â They got as far as the Lions 3, but on a crucial 3rd and 3 they could not get the 1st.Â Panthers head coach Fox faced a crucial 4th and 1 and they went for it.Â I thought that was a critical error.Â The crowd roared and Delhomme sneaked, but was unable to convert.Â The Lions defense was once again able to be the hero of the day.Â So, here came the Lions offense led by the QB better known as he who must not be named at his own 4.Â
Harrington came out in a power I formation and gave the ball to Jones for 5.Â Finally on 2nd down, Joey found Pollard for a short pass, but Pollard was able to make it an 86-yard pass play to the Panther 5.Â On 1st down and goal at the 5, Jones ran for no gain.Â On 2nd down, Joey threw a pass to Jones for a loss of 4.Â On 3rd down, Joey was sacked completely missing a wide-open Mike Williams for the TD.Â Hanson came in, and hit the 25-yard field goal.Â It was good, and the Lionsâ€™ Defense and Hanson had the lead 20-14 with 5:08 left.
With 3:13 remaining, the Panthers stood at their own 21.Â Under the leadership of Delhomme, they marched down the field with seemingly ease.Â On the drive, Delhomme took off on a scramble, but when he was sliding he was hammered by Kenoy Kennedy and was knocked from the game.Â After the 15-yard penalty on Kennedy for hammering Delhomme, in came Chris Weinke.Â Weinke hadnâ€™t played since 2002, but he was plenty good on this drive, capping it with a TD toss to Proehl.Â The PAT was good and the Panthers had a 21-20 lead over your (lay downs) Lions.
R.W. Mcquarters raised the hopes of the faithful with a great return to the Detroit 49.Â Unfortunately for Lions fans, Joey was still the QB so the drive stifled and the Lions lost.
Special Teams: C