Sunday, October 28, 2007

Balanced Attack Leads Detroit Lions to 16-7 Victory Over the Chicago Bears

It wasn't easy, and by the end, it looks a bit concerning for those long-time Detroit Lions fans, but as the Lions have told us all season, this is not your father's Detroit Lions team (or, for that matter, your grandfathers). A balanced attack led by over 100 yards rushing from Kevin Jones, 268 yards passing without an interception from Jon Kitna, and a ferocious defense with four interceptions (three in the Chicago end-zone) and suddenly the Detroit Lions are 5-2 and with a Green Bay loss Monday night at Denver would move into a first-place tie in the NFC North. Amazing. Absolutely, just amazing.

The return to full health of Kevin Jones has really turned around the Lions fortunes. A team that is known for their passing attack ran the ball 27 times on Sunday, with Kevin Jones gaining 105 yards (with a touchdown). That allowed Jon Kitna to sit back and pick apart the Bears secondary, and he found 8 different receivers with everyone, from Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson (who had another nice reverse for a first down) to Casey FitzSimmons and Sean McHugh coming up with big plays throughout the game. And how about the much maligned defense? Four interceptions, tons of pressure on Bears quarterback Brian Griese, and not giving up any big plays.

And what might be most impressive about the Lions, and so unexpected, is their resiliency. In the second quarter, they drove the ball over 90 yards before scoring a touchdown. Lions teams in the past were not able to do that. In the third quarter, after a nice drive to start the half faltered after Jason Hanson's field goal bounced off the upright, the Lions defense responded, and held Chicago to a three-and-out. Later, after the Bears drove down and scored their only touchdown of the game, and pulled within six, the Lions offense went to work, and drove 70 yards to the Chicago one yard line. They settled for a field goal, but those three points, making it a two-score game, were critical in helping the Lions move to 5-2.

Now, of course, all was not perfect (I'm a Lions fan, I've been trained to see the negative in even the greatest of starts). Kevin Jones had a fumble, they kicked to Devin Hester once and it cost them a touchdown, and I'm not sure why, up 13-7, the Lions were going for it on 4th and 1 from the 2 yard line (you need to go up two scores there and kick the field goal -- Luckily Chicago jumped off-sides and made the issue moot) but today is not about the negatives. Detroit has swept the NFC Champion Chicago Bears, winning on the road, showing the world they can win on the road. Most importantly though, they proved to them themselves that the Philadelphia and Washington debacles are behind them, and now the team has a lot of confidence going forward. Denver at home next week won't be easy, but the Broncos will be coming off a short week, and a 6-2 start is only a game away.

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Ian C. said...

I'm still shaking off my disbelief this morning. Could the Sgt. Marinelli plan actually be working?

But I agree with you about Kevin Jones. It's no coincidence that the Lions have won these last two games with him in the lineup. They're a different team with him on the field, providing a power running threat that allows the offense to assert itself, grind out some tough yards, and put together longer drives.


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