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Lions 23, Bucs 20 (OT)

It’s ironic that Green Bay suffered a famous loss to the Bucs last year in a game that might have helped Green Bay win the division (Green Bay still needed another win because Minnesota had the head-to-head tiebreaker). Now, Green Bay benefits from a notorious loss. We certainly learned today that Drew Stanton belongs to start in the NFL. He has made plays in every game he’s played and his INT rate is better than Shaun Hill’s, with his completion percentage soon to follow.

This was the perfect example of how flawed the NFL’s overtime can be. The only time when it’s more flawed is when neither team is punting or even settling for field goals much all game (Detroit punted four times, Tampa Bay had three punts). When both teams are so evenly matched, it’s too bad Tampa Bay didn’t get a chance to answer.

Sure, I made a case that the Bucs should beat a team like this but Detroit is surely playing looser with nothing on the line and spoiler on the mind. They are certainly no ordinary 4-10 team and got their first road victory since October 28th, 2007 (a 16-7 win over Chicago).

Both teams passed for 252 yards with 0 sacks allowed by Detroit (remember when they gave up 63 and 54 in back-to-back seasons?) and 3 for 25 – making a net passing yards of 227 – for Tampa Bay. Neither team turned the ball over, not even on downs (though Tampa was 2 for 2 on 4th down. Their net punting averages were 31.8 (Nick Harris) and 32.7 (Robert Malone, neither punter making a case to be brought back). Both teams entered overtime with 1 rushing TD, 1 passing TD and 2 field goals. The Lions had 181 yards rushing. The Bucs had 176. The teams couldn’t be making more of a case that they should each get a possession. But, alas, this isn’t the playoffs and it doesn’t look like either team will be making the playoffs this year. The Lions won the coin toss and got a win, thanks in part to a man – Calvin Johnson – out-jumping boys for 10 catches and 152 yards.


LeGarrette Blount
15 rushes for 110 yards including one back-breaking 39-yard touchdown. This would have been the steal of the draft if he had been drafted. He has absolutely stiff-armed and run over Ryan Mathews and Jahvid Best as the best rookie running back in the league.

Mike Williams

I really can’t blame him for the conservative playcalling. Maybe Freeman wasn’t seeing guys open deep. It just seems like the other teams have been taking the games to the Detroit safeties because of their occasionally miserable cornerback play. Josh only had 2 completions of over 20 yards in the game, both to Mike. He finished with 6 catches, 96 yards and a touchdown.


The Play-Calling

The Detroit Lions you saw today will not be the same one you see next year. They will be adding new players to their defense. This is a unit that is 21st in points allowed despite having played the 18th-, 23rd-, 24th- (twice), 26th-, 28th-, 30th- and 31st-ranked teams in scoring. The Buccaneers should be getting aggressive. In both Atlanta games, they didn’t put the opponent away. Greg Olson should have been going up-tempo, spreading the Lions out.

The Defense
This was merely the second time this year they couldn’t finagle a takeaway but this was against a team that has turned the ball over multiple times in a game, nine different times.

LOOKING AHEAD: The New Orleans game now becomes a must. A victory over the Seahawks is what they must focus on. A season that started so promising has spiraled from 7-3 to 8-6. The offense and defense aren’t picking each other up like they did earlier in the year and they’ve had a run of games against teams on the rise (Baltimore, Atlanta) and teams with nothing to lose, like the sneaky Lions. While I think a lot of this blame rests on the playcalling, Josh Freeman is not getting the kind of completion percentage you expect when they run the ball like they did today but he’s playing good enough to win.



  1. danny

    December 20, 2010 at 12:04 am

    What a bitter writer. If he actually watched football, he would of known this would be a tough game. How about mentioning all of the terrible teams tampa beat to get their record? Carolina, TWICE, SF, Arizona, St Louis???? Records would be swapped if the schedules were swapped. Hire a writer that knows football, and isnt just a homer.

  2. Chris Bach

    December 20, 2010 at 12:47 am

    This is a quote from my preview of the game: “the Bucs will make plays in all three facets but they must be disciplined because the Lions have playmakers in all three phases, too. I believe they score a little in all of the first three quarters, then pull away late.”

    This is another quote: “Year 2 of the Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz Makeover has the Lions close but not there yet.”

    This was in bold in this exact article that you take issue with: “When both teams are so evenly matched, it’s too bad Tampa Bay didn’t get a chance to answer.”

    Rather than resort to hyperbole, saying I don’t watch football, my suggestion to you is to pick out the specific sentences you disagree with if you ever expect me to quit writing. With no examples – just aimless, baseless criticism – I have no way to respond.

    You talk about the terrible teams Tampa beat but since you don’t give criteria on which to explain what makes them terrible, I have to go by record.

    Yes, the Lions beat the Rams in a game that featured a key injury to a Rams wide receiver. They would have won anyway. That said, doesn’t that denigrate your exaltation of the Lions a little bit? You are trying to say that I shouldn’t have picked the Bucs who have beaten the Rams, 49ers, and Browns who all have better records than the Lions but are somehow all terrible.

    Slightly inferior teams beat superior ones all the time. I admit. I was wrong. I thought the Bucs would win. But, if I am going to get murdered for picking against them (when I admitted it wouldn’t be easy), please show me your picks. Please show me how you have picked every game correctly this year.

    The Lions were eventually going to win a road game. These streaks eventually come to an end, just like the New England regular season home win streak (they did lose to Baltimore at home in the postseason last season). THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WHOEVER EVENTUALLY KNOCKS OFF NEW ENGLAND WILL FINISH WITH A BETTER RECORD THAT YEAR OR GO DEEPER IN THE PLAYOFFS THAT YEAR. All it means is that on that one day, that other team was likely better or just made the plays to win.

    Without establishing a logic for how I am bitter or how I overlooked the Lions, the only logic I can come up with is that I should have picked the Lions because this one overtime win in which the Bucs didn’t get an overtime possession is empirical proof they are the better team. I’m simply bitter for analyzing the two teams and coming to the conclusion the Bucs are a little better. Feel free to point out where I’m bitter. You can expect a team to lose without taking them for granted. Maybe I did think this game was a bit of a shoo-in and I was wrong but it wasn’t for lack of watching football. Maybe you think I’m bitter because I don’t like the NFL’s overtime rules. That simply means that I actually watch a lot of football to know there are systems I prefer.

  3. Chris Bach

    December 20, 2010 at 12:55 am

    In your defense, it’s possible that you were expecting something more objective, showing the Good and Bad for both sides but I am doing more of a player and coaching evaluation for the Bucs. I don’t really give the tip-off in the title of these recaps that they are focused on the Bucs and what they need to correct moving forward. I will say, in my defense, that I gave several Lions players plenty of credit.

    I appreciate the feedback, I just need something less vague in order to better serve the audience.

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