Detroit Lions who are coming off a tough road loss to the Green Bay Packers were able to pull it together in this road game and dance their way to victory and defeat the Cleveland Browns 31-17. Yes, the Detroit Lions truly did dance their way to victory in this one, if you don’t believe me take a look at tight end Joseph Fauria’s touchdown celebrations.
However, when ever the Lions win its never as black and white as it seems and trust me this time was no different.
In the first half, Lions started off strong with their first drive, scoring a touchdown with rookie tight end Joseph Fauria. However, I felt after that the Lions were horribly inconsistent, mainly to due to all the drop passes. It didn’t matter who Matthew Stafford threw it to in the first half, basically everyone had issues catching the ball in the first half. They also didn’t do a good job of using running back Reggie Bush in the first half.
Nonetheless due to some halftime adjustments, the Lions were able to get going in the second half. However the star of the show had to be rookie tight end Joseph Fauria who finished the game with three total touchdowns. Quarterback Matthew Stafford also played well, he only threw one interception and made a good point of getting everyone involved. Running back Reggie Bush got going in the second half as well, showing that he is a versatile player that can be used in the passing and running game.
I honestly feel that Lions offense is still the big question mark of this. They are talented there is no doubt about it, however they aren’t consistent. Kris Durham picked up the slack somewhat in this game but he also had a couple drop passes along with Patrick Edwards, Ryan Broyles and Calvin Johnson. As I said before, its great to have Calvin Johnson but other receivers have to step up consistently. Tight end Joseph Fauria has shown he can be a red-zone target but I look to see if Broyles, Durham, Pettigrew and Scheffler will be able to be consistently step up, if not the Lions will continue to have these struggles through the air.
Side Note: Running back Joique Bell left the game with an injury to the ribs, hopefully it’s nothing serious because he is a key part of the Lions offense.
Lions defense in my opinion were the heroes of this game. They held Cleveland Browns to just 17 points and the Browns did not score at all in the second half. They did a good job of containing the run game only allowing one big running play by Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin. They held Browns running backs Willis McGahee and Chris Ogbonnaya to only 61 yards rushing and made the Browns one-dimensional. The defensive line did a pretty good job of pressuring quarterback Brandon Weeden which opened up some plays for the back seven.
Which leads me to the Lions linebackers and secondary, the Lions secondary wasn’t the best in this game, they did allow some big plays and allowed Josh Gordon to get a 126 yards receiving. However in the second half they played better after some key adjustments were made but the hero of the defense has to be linebacker DeAndre Levy who looked like a defensive back out there. Levy finished the game with two key interceptions and led the defense with seven tackles.
Moving forward I still wonder about the consistency of the secondary when it comes to coverage but I continue to be impressed with the Detroit Lions front seven who continue to do a good job of pressuring the quarterback and containing the run. As I said earlier, the Lions defense kept the Lions in the game, remember Browns did not score a touchdown or field goal in the second half.
Of course I can’t forget about special teams. When it comes to the Lions return game, I still think Michael Spurlock could be better, he continues to put the Lions in the same field position between the 20 and 30 yard line, forcing the Lions offense to drive down the field every time. However, I continue to be impressed with Lions punter Sam Martin who continues to give opponents horrible field position and put the special teams in a good position to make a play. Also nice to see Lions kicker David Akers do his job and actually make his field goals.
Coaching wise, Lions did a solid job. Even though I didn’t like the play calling in the first half, I did like the adjustments that were made during halftime and due to those adjustments, Lions were able to win.
At the end of the day, Lions were able to pull of a nice road win even if it wasn’t the most impressive win. Offensively I am still watching this team closely. I want to continue to see if other wide receivers will step up and if the run game can remain consistent. I also look forward to seeing Matthew Stafford continue to grow and become a better quarterback. Defensively the area to watch is the secondary, because they are still the inconsistent link. Lions get to return home for next Sunday’s game but they have another tough match-up against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com