Alphonso Smith is the Goat for the Lions, Brady Hero for the Pats

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The Detroit Lions fell flat on the biggest stage of the season for that franchise. I am talking about a figurative stage, not the one that Michigan born and bred Kid Rock performed on during the half. In fairness, the team did play well for the majority of the game. They did, however, fall flat on their face during the latter moments of play on Thursday. The few bright spots of the game included inspired performances by defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and special teams guru Stefan Logan.

The defeat by three touchdowns (45-24) to the New England Patriots can be misleading because it implies that the Lions were beaten off the ball at the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

By Patrick Herbert

There were some big plays that Tom Brady completed to receiver Deion Branch that were aberrations to the rest of the game. Lions cornerback Alphonso Smith was continuously befuddled throughout the game on Thursday. Getting beat is forgivable if total effort is expended by a player. When Smith was turned around near the sideline of the ten yard line and failed to tackle effectively to prevent a touchdown, he was correctly lit into by the by the team’s coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was not in the holiday spirit when he filled the bench with expletives as the game wore on.

Tom Brady was not a high draft pick when he entered the NFL from the Michigan Wolverines. The sixth round selection entered the pros with something to prove. Luckily, unlike fellow alumnus Ann Coulter, Brady chooses to walk softly and carry a big stick. His perfect passer rating accumulated on Thursday is especially impressive considering his ankle injury.

This undoubtedly limited his mobility in and outside of the pocket. Like his colleague Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, Brady has seen his roster depleted in recent years. The luxury of having a big time running back is lost to both of them, and their receiving corps are not what they used to be. Both seem to carry on without resting on their laurels; they would rather play with the cards that they are dealt and try to achieve more success.

With Jahvid Best on the sidelines for the Lions, the door was opened for others on the supporting cast. Aaron Brown failed to garner a three yard per carry average on thirteen touches, but Maurice Morris was able to eat up fifty-five yards on nine carries. The two touchdowns also demonstrated his grittiness. Despite blanket coverage, Calvin Johnson still grabbed four catches for a total of eighty one yards and a touchdown. Defensive lineman Jevon Kearse used to be known as “the freak” during his playing days, but Johnson is the equivalent on the offensive side of the ball. His athletic ability is a huge benefit to quarterback to Shaun Hill on high balls and when throwing it up for grabs in the end zone.

The Lions brass is fortunate that the Packers and Bears are now on the horizon at Ford Field. Otherwise, fans may be reluctant to make the pilgrimage to Ford Field with the team apparently unable to put together four quarters of effective football.

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