Snow games are cool. There is nothing better than seeing some of the world’s best athletes slipping and sliding all over the field. That said, Sunday’s game wasn’t nearly so fun when the Eagles were losing 14-0. I was a nervous Nellie at that point. But something funny happened.
The Lions went for 2 and didn’t get it.
For some reason, that made all the difference to me. Being down 16-0 would have seemed huge. Trailing 14-0 didn’t seem so bad. Shortly after that, the Eagles got their act together and came alive. A slow start turned into a red hot finish. The 4th quarter must have seemed like an avalanche with all the points and yards the Eagles piled up on the Lions.
Some people wonder if this was a character win. I think you can make a case for that. The Eagles got down 14-0 due to their own mistakes. The offense was stagnant. Nick Foles threw an INT that set up a short TD drive. Then the STs unit allowed Jeremy Ross to return a punt for a TD. The Eagles never went into panic mode. They just kept grinding away and making small adjustments. When things started to click, the Eagles totally took over the game.
I loved the fact that the Eagles domination wasn’t due to crazy turnovers that were run back for scores or that set up the offense with great field position. The Eagles TD drives covered 74, 80, 76, 71 and 60 yards. There were big plays, but they were due to execution and talent. The blocking was outstanding and then Shady McCoy worked his magic once he was into the open field.
I also thought it was great to see how the 2 teams handled the conditions. The Eagles didn’t have a single fumble. They had one high snap that Nick Foles couldn’t handle, but no actual fumbles. I don’t think you could say there were any dropped passes. Foles showed good accuracy on his downfield throws in the 2nd half when conditions cleared a bit. Eagles receivers made some tough catches. The Eagles generally tackled well in space. The Lions were pretty much on the opposite side of all those points. There were fumbles, drops and missed tackles galore. The conditions affected both teams, but the Lions never really overcame them.
The other big difference…explosive playmakers. The Eagles ran 10 more plays than the Lions (68 to 58), but out-gained them by 250 yards. That shows you that the Eagles were getting chunk plays, while the Lions were moving the chains 10 yards at a time.
Chip Kelly didn’t face too many crucial coaching decisions. He and the staff did have to make some serious adjustments in terms of offensive strategy.
The biggest question was whether to kick extra points / field goals or just to go for it. Kelly and Jim Schwartz both went for it. Kelly got lucky when Schwartz decided to try one extra point. That got blocked, which confirmed that going for it was the right thing to do.
A tale of 2 games. Early on, the Eagles had nothing. I mean nothing. The Eagles had 90 yards in the 1st half, with 74 of those coming on the drive at the end of the half. Nick Foles struggled with his passing. It was too snowy and windy to get the ball downfield. For some reason, he was inconsistent on short throws. The running game wasn’t much better. DeSean Jackson lost 10 yards on a run play. Shady McCoy had 7 carries for 19 yards up until that final drive of the half. Nothing was working.
The offense did come alive on that drive. They weren’t able to get into the end zone, but there were at least some signs of life. The coaches made some tactical adjustments at the half. It also helped quite a bit that the weather improved. The snow and wind died down. The field remained a mess, but there was visibility and you could throw the ball. That changed things.
Field position was also part of the equation. 7 of the Eagles 14 possessions started at or inside their own 20-yard line. The Eagles didn’t start a drive beyond their own 33 until halfway through the 4th quarter. Driving the long field in snowy conditions wasn’t easy. Notice that the Lions only offensive TD came after a turnover gave them a short field.
In the 1st half, a lot of the plays came from under Center. All of the TD runs in the 2nd half came from the shotgun. The offense had to be more conservative early on because of the snow and wind. Once that cleared, the offense adapted and got hot. Foles got some chunk plays in the air and McCoy delivered them on the ground. The Eagles finished with 8 plays of 20 or more yards.
By the time it was all said and done, the offense had 478 yards and 34 points. The Eagles played one of the greatest 4th quarters in NFL history. Had Brent Celek gone into the end zone on his play late in the game, the Eagles would have set the NFL record for points in a single 4th quarter. This was the opposite of recent weeks, when the Eagles would build a big lead and then slow down.
* Early in the game DJax lined up in the backfield. He got the ball on a toss play and lost 10 yards on the run. I can’t stress how much I hated this call. I’m all for getting DeSean extra touches, but using him on a toss play in snowy conditions? That was a horrible, horrible idea.
* 1st/10. Ball at the DET 19. Coop to the left, but tight to the formation. DeSean far right. Both guys head to the end zone and the right side of it. Definitely looked like backyard football. Not crisp, defined routes at all. Foles said he saw both players and put the ball between them so one of them could make a play. Cooper saw it was over his head and didn’t even try for it. DeSean did a great job of not going out of the back of the end zone and then made a kneeling catch.
* 1st/10. From DET 40. Previous 2 passes went deep to DeSean. Lions had 6 men in the box. Eagles had 5 OL + a TE. That’s a formula for a big play. The Lions walked down a S prior to the snap, but he was to the wide side. Shady took the ball and went straight up the field. He got great blocks and the Eagles had numbers. The deep S missed his tackle and Shady was off to the races. Cooper had one key block and got in the way of another player who was trying to chase Shady down. TD.
* 1st/10. From PHI 43. 11 personnel. All 3 WRs to the left side. Shady lines up right, then goes kinda left, but quickly upfield. Play design was excellent. Blocking was nearly perfect. Shady put a move on Delmas that made him useless and then it was smooth sailing to the end zone. Jason Avant had the key block. He put his DB on the ground and got in the way of the other S for half a second.
* 4th/12. Foles faked hand-off to Shady. Brent Celek blocked DE initially, then released. No one was near him. Foles lofted the ball to him…softly. Celek caught it and ran to the 5 where he went to the ground. He passed on the TD so the Eagles could just kill the clock and seal the game. Westy did this vs Dallas back in 2007. That was Jon Runyan’s idea. Celek played in that game and even made a key catch. Have to think that play stuck with him.
– 2-Point Plays –
* First one was a play-action pass to Shady on the right side. Perfect call, but Nick made a terrible throw. Ball was short. Ugh. Should have been easy 2 points. Easy throw, but just threw a bad pass.
* Foles tried to hit Ertz with quick pass, but that failed. Penalty moved the ball to the 1. Ran dive play to Brown. Good blocking, easy conversion.
* Foles hit Cooper on a crossing route for 2 pts. Used picks to get him open. Legal play, though.
* Bad pass from Foles. Couldn’t tell who it was to. DeSean acted like him. Just a bad pass.
* Handed the ball to Polk and had him run left. Lions stuffed it.
* 3 of 12 on 3rd downs
* 2 of 3 on 4th downs
* 2 of 4 in the Red Zone
* 2 for 5 on 2-point conversions
* Got the Lions to jump offside several times in the game. Les Bowen reported that the Eagles talked to the officials before the game to warn them that the Lions had a habit of jumping early. That worked.
* Used TEs on wind-back blocks throughout the game. This is when the TE lines up to one side and then goes behind the LOS to block the backside DE. The Eagles even mixed in motion at times to give a different look.
* Got lucky with 2 calls. There was a roughing the passer call on Fairley that helped a drive. It didn’t happen on 3rd down so we can’t say if this was a significant call. It was bad. Fairley did nothing wrong. There was a bizarre holding call on Suh when he pulled Kelce by the arm on a 2-pt conversion. That gave the Eagles another chance and led to 2 points. Suh did hold, but it didn’t affect the play at all and should not have been called. Those 2 points did have impact. They gave the Eagles a 22-20 lead. Still, it wasn’t like the Lions were out of time or chances. Easily could have overcome that call.
FOLES - Pretty good game. 11-22-179. Had a TD pass. Threw his first pick of the year. Started off very slow. The whole offense was struggling, but part of that was on Nick. He didn’t throw the ball well on short or intermediate passes. At halftime, Foles was 4-10-35. In the 2nd half he was 7-12-144 with a TD. Huge difference.
Upon re-watching the game, I was really impressed with his deep balls in the 2nd half. Foles hit Cooper for 44. He put a ball right on DeSean for a long TD, but that was broken up. He had another deep ball to DeSean that was too long. Foles also put great touch on the late throw to Celek. These passes delivered results and also had to affect the Lions DBs. They couldn’t sell out to stop the run if Foles was going to throw downfield passes like that.
On a day filled with wind and snow, one of the best things you can say about a QB is that he limited his mistakes. Foles had the one snap he couldn’t get hold of. He did fall on the ball rather than trying to make a play. That was smart, as Stafford later proved when he didn’t fall on a fumble and gave the ball to the Eagles. . Foles threw the bad pick. He was off target with a few throws. But for the most part, Foles functioned pretty well.
* INT was a ball that just sailed on him. Had a clean pocket. Cooper was semi-open. Pass just went too high, too far.
* Fell on 2nd Qtr snap that was off target and hit the ground.
* Tried to hit Cooper with a pass in the end zone late in the half. Cooper was kinda open. The pass didn’t have enough velocity and the DB was able to break it up. Pass was from about 20 yards away so it was a tough throw.
* Scrambled for 5 yds in the early 3rd Qtr.
* Took a big hit from Suh on pass play in the early 3rd. Drifted to his right and held the ball as he waited for someone to get open. Finally got rid of the ball, but then took a forceful (clean) hit. Foles head slammed off the ground. Lucky that snow was there to soften the blow.
* Tried to hit Ertz on 3rd/10 in the early 3rd Qtr, but the ball sailed on him.
* Hit Cooper on a post route for a gain of 44 in the mid-3rd. The very next play was the TD to DeSean. Neither throw was great, but Foles put the ball where his guys could make a play. They did. The pass was not pin-point, but was to the right area and it was catchable.
* Made a tough throw late in the 3rd. Opening play of the drive. Cooper was covered by Tulloch. Foles had good protection. He moved up in the pocket and then threw a shot pass to Cooper. There wasn’t much room, but Foles wanted to give his guy a chance. Cooper got away from Tulloch and gained 25 yards on the play. Had a chance to hit DJax for a long TD, but actually overthrew him on that play. Threw the ball deep to DeSean on the very next play. He was doubled and the DBs broke it up. That ball was right on the money.
* Kept the ball on a zone read play and got 20 yards in the early 4th. Smart.
* Made a great throw to Celek to seal the game.
SHADY - Great game. 29-217-2. Those 217 yards are an Eagles record for a game. Shady got off to a very slow start. Took him a while to adjust his running to the conditions. He loves to make lateral cuts. You can’t do that in snow. Shady did adjust and became more of a downhill runner. He then mixed in cuts downfield when he was already on the move. That’s when Shady took the game over and made the Lions look silly, play after play.
Took a big hit in the late 2nd. Fairley got between blockers and went upfield to nail Shady. Had a good block of DE on 3rd Qtr pass play. Had a bad play in the mid-3rd. Got a hand-off deep in Eagles territory. Had immediate penetration. Needed to just stay forward and get back as close to the LOS as possible. Tried to go wide and ended up losing 6 yards. That backed the offense up to the 5-yd line. Not good. Took the ball on the next play and exploded up the middle for 11 yds. Caught short pass in the right flat to open drive in the mid-3rd. Made a couple of guys miss and got 4 yds.
Had an amazing run in the early 4th. Started upfield then made a sharp jump-cut to the left. That got him by DB who had contain. Shady got upfield and put a wicked move on another DB. For some reason, went back inside and got tackled by Suh. Play might have gone for a 71-yd TD if he didn’t go inside at that point. Turned out to be 26-yd run. The lateral cut worked here since Shady was in a zone and the Lions D was wearing down and playing on their heels.
Did have TD runs of 40 and 57 yards. Covered them above.
B BROWN – Good showing. Scored on a 2-pt conversion. Got his first official carry in the early 4th. Took a hand-off and went upfield. Ran through CB’s tackle attempt. Went outside since there was lots of room and got 17 yds on the play. Couldn’t quite get wide enough to turn upfield and score. If he got by Quin, had a TD. Got the final 3 carries of the game. DET sold out to stop the run and Brown lost yards. Had nowhere to go. Still probably danced too much instead of just attacking upfield and hoping for a yard or so. That hurt his overall numbers. Finished 6-19.
POLK - Very good game. Came into the game in the late 2nd Qtr. First run got stuffed for minimal gain. Next run went straight up the middle for 9 yds. Got some carries in the late 4th. First went for 3 yards. Next carry went for 38-yd TD. Made a good read and cut back on the play. Ran though Levy’s tackle attempt and then ran straight for the end zone. No weaving or wiggling. Got carry on 2-pt play, but was stuffed. Had 4 carries for 50 yds.
CELEK - Very good game. Mostly a blocker, though. 2-29 as a receiver. Used creatively as a blocker. Took on DEs and LBs. Sometimes had to seal the backside of a play. Other times had to get the edge so Shady could run outside. Caught screen pass to open the game. Only got a couple of yards. Good block of DE on Shady’s 26-yd run. Helped give Shady the edge. Terrific block on Foles run in the early 4th. Was downfield as a receiver. Saw Foles start running so he turned into a blocker. Gave Foles 5 to 10 extra yards by blocking the DB. Excellent block of DE on Brown’s run to that side in the early 4th. His catch, run and slide at the end of the game was a thing of beauty.
ERTZ - No catches. Had 1 pass come his way. Also had a chance on a 2-pt conversion attempt. Didn’t stand out as a blocker.
CASEY - Was used as a H-back/FB type on a regular basis. Blocked on the edge and on the inside at times. Solid job. No passes came his way.
D JACKSON – Good game. 4-59-1. Helped to keep the chains moving. 3 of his catches went for 1st downs. The other was for a TD. Made a very difficult catch along the right sideline late in the 2nd Qtr. Was open, but had to wait for the ball and was already close to the sideline. Managed to get his feet down and secure the ball. A couple of plays later, caught a quick pass on the outside and fought his way by the CB for a 1st down. Loved seeing that effort. Had key catch of 12 yards on 3rd/11. That moved the chains on what proved to be the first scoring drive of the game. Caught 19-yd TD in the late 3rd. Looked terrible early in the game on a run play. Ran sideways and lost 10 yds.
AVANT - Superb game and didn’t even have a pass come his way. Had some key blocks that helped Shady turn nice runs into long TDs. Great block on Shady’s 57-yd TD. Jason put his DB on the ground, which also put them in the way of Delmas for half a second. Even when the ball didn’t come to his side, Jason made sure his defender wasn’t going to chase the play down from behind.
COOPER - Struggled with Rashean Mathis early on. Had several passes broken up. Caught a quick screen late in the half and got a few yards. That was his first reception. Had a chance for a TD on 4th/7 play, but wasn’t able to secure the ball. Mathis was in his face and got a hand on it. Excellent block of DB on 3rd Qtr run. Kept his guy blocked the whole play and let Shady get up the field. Great catch on post route in the mid-3rd. Got by his CB. Looked back over his shoulder and located the ball. Then adjusted his route and made the catch. Held onto the ball as he hit the ground. Great eyes, concentration and body control. Huge play. Caught a short pass on the next series and turned that into a gain of 25. Caught the ball in traffic, but kept his concentration on the ball and not on the bodies around him. Finished 3-74 as a receiver Was also excellent as a blocker.
SMITH - Caught a short pass in the early 4th and fought his way upfield for 13 yards. Good gain.
MAEHL - Didn’t see him on offense.
* I am not going to mention every time one of the guys slipped while trying to make a block.
PETERS - Had a terrific block in the mid-2nd. Hit Fairley in the side and pushed him securely to Mathis. Then Jason went and blocked the WLB for several yards. Shady got loose to that side for a good gain. Outstanding block on first 2-pt conversion. Stood up the DE and gave Brown plenty of room to run. Good downblock on Shady’s 26-yd run. Bunched up Fairley and at least one LB. The Eagles didn’t run off-tackle very much, but Peters did control his DE throughout the game.
MATHIS – Quiet domination. Didn’t have highlight moments. Just blocked his DT over and over and over. Got the best of Suh and Fairley. Had a strange couple of plays. In the mid-3rd a DT jumped and Mathis touched him. That was ruled as a false start. Same thing happened in the 4th. That was ruled offside. The officials ruled that on the first call the DT didn’t get into the neutral zone, whereas he did on the next one. Did an excellent job of picking up a stunt on 3rd/11. Kept Nick clean & the play led to a 1st down. Very good block of Fairley on Shady’s first TD run. Initially got help from Kelce, but then sustained it. Great combo block on 2-pt conversion. Hit DT from the side to push him to Kelce, then went and blocked LB. Brown had easy way to the end zone. Fell down on Shady’s long TD run. But was somewhat in the way so it seemed to help.
KELCE - I’ll admit I was a bit nervous about Kelce vs Suh. Jason is tough and athletic, but Suh has tremendous power. Kelce more than held his own. He had a 2nd Qtr snap go high. Foles couldn’t catch it, but did fall on the ball. Excellent block on 3rd Qtr run. Pulled left and blocked the WLB. That allowed Shady to bounce the run outside for a good gain. Helped block Fairley on Shady’s TD, then peeled off and sealed LB. Good block of Fairley on Shady’s 57-yd TD. Kept control of him. Good job of blocking on the QB sneak. Didn’t get a ton of movement, but got enough.
HERREMANS - Failed to sustain 3rd Qtr block of Suh. Shady got tackled right that the LOS. Good block of Suh on Shady’s first TD. Got initial help, then took control. Good block of Suh on Shady’s long TD run. Got pushed back by Suh on 3rd/GL from the 1. Shady got back to the 1 and even gained a foot, but Suh made sure he didn’t score. Got his revenge on the next play. Got under Suh’s pads and moved him back enough for Foles to score on a QB sneak.
JOHNSON - Inconsistent. Struggled on some plays when he had to block Suh. Takes time to adjust to a player with Suh’s size, strength and power. Did a good job of helping on Suh on Shady’s first TD. Hit him from the side and pushed Suh to Todd. Then Lane went and blocked a LB. Good downblock of Suh on Foles long run in the early 4th.
BARBRE - DNP
TOBIN - DNP
VANDERVELDE - DNP
KELLY - DNP
Good game. The conditions helped the Eagles play their best game of the year. The Lions were held to 228 yards of offense. They only scored one offensive TD.
Bill Davis and his staff spent the week devising a plan for how to deal with Calvin Johnson. The snow came and wiped out that plan. Both teams had to make adustments on the fly. The Eagles alternated between Cover 2 and Cover 3. They didn’t want to let the Lions get deep, but also wanted to have players in the box to stuff the run.
The thing that jumped out at me when I re-watched the game is how well the Eagles LBs played. They were all over the field. They combined to have 17 solo tackles, 2 TFLs, 3 PDs, 1 FF and 1 FR. They didn’t miss many tackles They hustled to the ball so that if a Lion did get by the initial defender, there was someone else there to make the play. This is one of the few times when I’ve been able to say one of the big differences in the game was the Eagles LBs. They were outstanding.
Go beyond the stats. They set the edge on run plays, which force the RBs to stay mostly inside. They got several good hits on Stafford. They were effective in coverage. Really impressive showing.
The best thing the Eagles defense did was limit big plays. Detroit only had 4 plays all day that covered more than 10 yards. The long run was just 8 yards. Detroit was able to sustain drives for a while, but couldn’t drive the long field and score a TD. 3 of the Lions drives that got inside the Eagles 30-yard line ended with fumbles that the Eagle recovered. Bend but don’t break, Mother Nature style.
Calvin Johnson didn’t hurt the Eagles. If I told you before the game that Chris Polk would have more touches, yards and TDs than Megatron, you’d have demanded that I be drug tested immediately. CJ finished with 3 grabs for 49 yards. He got 33 yards on one play. Quiet other than that. The Eagles did a solid job, but clearly Mama Nature was the primary reason for controlling CJ.
* Lions were 5-15 on 3rd downs
* They were 1-2 on 4th downs
* 1 for 2 in the Red zone
* 1 for 3 on 2-pt conversions
* 3rd/7. Short pass to CJ. Boykin slipped. The S was late getting there and Ryans dove for his legs, but missed. CJ got 8 yds on the play. The conditions made simple situations like this tricky. Closing to the ball quickly and cleanly was tough.
* All 6 DL did a good job of eating up blockers so the LBs could fly around and make plays.
COX – Good game. Helped tackled the RB on a run right at him in the late 1st Qtr. Blew up mid-2nd Qtr run by driving his OL back into Bell in the backfield. Bell managed to get back to the LOS. Drove LG into backfield, where the RB hit him. Cole then made the tackle. Slanted inside and pushed LG to the middle, which clogged up the inside running lane. RB had nowhere to go. Deflected a 3rd down pass late in the 3rd Qtr. Ball fell harmlessly to the ground.
LOGAN - Credited with being in on 4 tackles. Got a gift TFL when the Lions fumbled a snap and Bennie fell on the guy who recovered it. That happened on the 2nd series. Got in on tackle of RB in the early 2nd Qtr. No gain on the play. Hustled in pursuit and helped MK make tackle of Stafford on scramble in the late 3rd. Did a solid job of controlling the middle of the line.
THORNTON - 4 solo stops and a FF. Had a key play on the 2nd series. Chased down a run from the backside. The RB was 8 yds upfield when Ced hit him and knocked the ball loose. Barwin recovered. DET was inside the Eagles 30 on that series so it was a key stop. Shed the RT and stuffed an inside run in the mid-2nd. Stout vs the run throughout the game.
CURRY - Credited with being in on 4 tackles. Active, disruptive game. Fired off the ball and hit the RB in the backfield in the mid-3rd. No gain. Had limited chances to rush the passer.
GEATHERS - Played both NT and DE. Made the tackle on consecutive run plays at the end of the half.
SQUARE - Backup NT. Got moved off the ball on 1st/GL run in the early 2nd Qtr. TD.
COLE - Solid game. Credited with 3 tackles and a PD. Rushed off the edge and batted a pass on 2nd Qtr pass play that had gotten screwed up due to Stafford fumble. First tackle came in the mid-2nd when RB got boxed in by F Cox. That let Cole chase the RB down from the backside. Had a nice pass rush moment in the early 4th. Slanted inside and knocked one OL to the ground. Fought past the block of another to get late pressure on Stafford. Used a power rush in the mid-4th. Knocked the crap out of the LT and pushed him back toward Stafford.
BARWIN - Terrific game. Had 6 solo stops, 2 TFLs, FF and a FR. Got a gift TFL when Stafford fumbled the snap on the 2nd series and the RB fell on it. Barwin dove on him for the TFL. Got another TFL on that series. RB tried to bounce a play wide. Barwin was in good position and got him down for a 2-yd loss. On the very next play, Barwin recovered a fumble. Hustled since that run was to the other side of the field. Fought off block of the TE and tackled RB on play to his side late in the 1st Qtr. Stripped the RB in the early 2nd Qtr. Had to fight off block of the TE to get in on the play. Excellent effort. Set the edge on a 2nd Qtr run and then helped Logan stop the RB for no gain. Made tackle on outside run in the late 3rd. Let the RB get wide initially, but hustled to make the stop. Lined up out wide in coverage at times.
GRAHAM - Good game. First time I saw him was the 3rd series. Lined up over the slot receiver. Saw a dive play and flew to the inside and helped tackle the RB. The WR tried to block him, but Graham fought through it. Fought off block of TE to help stop run play to his side in the late 1st Qtr. Helped on a key play in the early 2nd Qtr. Was at RDE. Set the edge and forced the RB to stay inside, where he was hit and fumbled. Stat sheet doesn’t show anything, but Graham played well at both DE and LB. Liked what I saw from him as a run defender.
KENDRICKS - Another good game. Was in on 5 tackles, had 2 PDs, and a FR. Failed to make tackle of RB to open the 2nd series. Gave up an extra few yards because of that. Attacked the LG on run play, which allowed Ryans to stay clean and stuff an inside run. Got beat by the TE on 3rd/15. Tried to jam him and the TE got by that and Kendricks just couldn’t turn and run quickly enough. The TE had the advantage since he was moving forward the whole play. Got 23 yds. Blitzed upfield on pass play in the late 1st and helped throw off the timing of the throw. Pass was off target. Slipped block of the TE and tackled the RB to open the 2nd Qtr. Nice play. Used his hands to get by the blocker, but stayed square to the LOS and never lost sight of the runner. Broke up a mid-2nd Qtr pass. Was 3rd down. Stafford tried to hit WR over the middle. MK read the play and jumped the route. The ball went through his hands and hit him in the chest, then hit the ground. I’m sure some Lions fans were screaming for PI, but MK was playing the ball. Good no-call. Blitzed up the middle in the early 4th and forced Stafford to throw the ball away. Hustled upfield in the mid-4th and recovered a fumble where Stafford couldn’t secure a snap.
RYANS - Tripped up RB on opening 3rd down play. That kept him short of the chains and forced a punt. Tackled RB after Kendricks miss to open the 2nd series. Scraped to his right and stuffed the RB in the hole on the 2nd series. Hustled out wide to tackle WR on quick pass in the early 2nd Qtr. Blitzed up the middle on 3rd down and hit Stafford just after he released a pass. The throw was off target and broken up. Was slow to get out wide on 4th down pass to Bell in the early 2nd Qtr. DeMeco adjusted the defense before the snap to get everyone covered, but he wasn’t fast enough in the snow to get to the RB on an outside pass. Set up 1st/GL. Chased down Bell after long catch and run. Got good depth on pass drop and broke up pass to CJ on the Lions final play of the game. Was in on 5 tackles and had a PD.
MATTHEWS - Didn’t see him on defense.
KNOTT - Didn’t see him on defense.
GOODE - DNP
ALLEN - Quiet game. Went to make a tackle in the mid-4th. Bell was in the middle of a catch and run. Nate went low and Bell jumped over him. Seemed like Nate stayed back for most of the game. Only got in on 1 tackles.
CHUNG - Got in on 3 tackles and recovered a fumble. Came up to help stuff a run at the end of the 1st Qtr. Hustled in to recover a fumble in the early 2nd Qtr. Barwin stripped the ball from the RB and Chung was there to dive on it. Tackled TE after catch over the middle in the late 3rd.
WOLFF - DNP
COLEMAN - Didn’t see him on defense.
FLETCHER - Missed tackle of WR on quick pass and gave up 8 yards. Quiet game. Didn’t have many passes come his way. Credited with 1 tackle.
WILLIAMS - Had 3 solo tackles. Missed tackle of RB on play that bounced out his way. Gave up a 1st down. Got beat by Calvin Johnson for a gain of 33 late in the 1st Qtr. Played off, but didn’t have the closing speed to make a play on the ball. Broke up a 3rd down pass to Durham in the early 2nd. Ball was off-target, but Cary made sure there was no catch. Part of an interesting play in the 4th Qtr. Had good downfield coverage of CJ. Stafford threw the ball, but it was short and to the inside. CJ saw it and went to get the ball. Cary never saw the ball. Luckily the pass was short and CJ couldn’t make the diving grab. Broke up a 2-pt conversion pass due to physical coverage.
BOYKIN - Got lucky when he broke up a 2nd Qtr pass to TE Dickerson down the seam. Boykin was trailing him and had no idea where the ball was. Reached for it as Dickerson started to make the catch. Pass fell incomplete. Quiet day. Not credited with any tackles.
CARMICHAEL - Didn’t see him on defense.
JONES - Okay job. Chip Kelly thought he out-kicked his coverage on the PR TD. Hard to say. Coverage was the main problem. Must have been hard for Jones to know how far a punt would travel in those conditions.
HENERY - No FGs or PATs. Had 6 KOs and none of them were touchbacks. The Lions had 2 touchbacks. Did give up 2 long KORs, including one for a TD. Mainly coverage problems.
KOR – Boykin had 2 returns totaling 41 yards. Not much impact.
PR – I was impressed that DeSean caught the ball cleanly. He kept his hands in his hand-warmer as much as possible. I worried that he would drop a punt or mishandle it and get ripped by the media. Never happened. The Lions were great in coverage. DJax lost 7 yds on 2 returns.
– MISC –
* Looked like Chris Polk was most responsible for the PR TD. He had contain and needed to keep Ross from getting to the sideline. Polk didn’t maintain good lane integrity and let Polk get wide. That negated the pursuit from the other side. TD.
* Casey Matthews had a good tackle of Ross on KO after the first TD.
* KOR TD … I couldn’t tell who was at fault.
* Bennie Logan beat the RG and blocked a PAT. The “RG” was a DL and the kick was low, but that was great effort.
* Other long KOR in the 4th … Jeff Maehl got out of his lane and took a bad angle, letting Ross get free to the outside. Dumb.