The Lions looked to be the better team for the entire portion of the game on Sunday and were able to hold on for the victory against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Matthew Stafford threw for over three hundred yards and passed for three touchdowns. He beat out his fellow first round pick of a few years ago, Josh Freeman. It is true that the former does have substantially more weapons, but the latter had greater success last year from which to build on.
Jay Cutler almost put up the same kind of numbers as Stafford on Sunday, but the difference was that the Lions needed all of those statistics to come up with a victory. It is easier to compile impressive numbers when it is not necessary to the outcome of the game. Stafford missed about eighty percent of the season last year with multiple separated shoulders, so fans certainly gasped when they saw him limping around during portions of the game and holding his hand awkwardly on occasion. Neither came to the forefront as issues to be addressed.
Coach Jim Schwartz had some cautiously optimistic words for the press after the game, but none of them are smiling ear to ear after battle. Nobody has had more success this millennium than Bill Belichick, but I can’t remember the last time that I saw him in a good mood. It must be because nothing looks perfect when under a microscope. He notices all the imperfections in every play that the casual fan overlooks.
Running back Jahvid Best had a successful day when considering his total yardage. His versatility made him an attractive selection when he departed Cal. His per carry average is low, however-hovering near the three range last season. The area of concern is whether he can be counted on to attain a long two yards when the need arises. This is the exact reason why some pundits place Emmit Smith above Barry Sanders. The former was reliable in short yardage scenarios, but the latter had more of an upside in lateral mobility.
Ndamukong Suh is widely perceived as the top defensive line player in the NFL. He only tackled one Tampa Bay player on Sunday. This does not mean that the day was a total failure for him though because he certainly took a lot of attention from members of the Bucs offensive line. This allowed his colleagues to roam more freely around the line of scrimmage. It may be a blessing in disguise, because it could cause greater motivation in Suh so he works even harder in his training regimen.
Rod Stewart has a hit song titled, “Some Guys Have All the Luck.” This brings to mind Calvin Johnson for myriad reasons. He is surrounded by tremendous talent on the offensive side of the ball. He is a wealthy man from being picked first overall out of Georgia Tech. He is also able to play numerous games indoors, where the environment is more advantageous to the passing game.
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