Shaun Hill lined up under center once again for the Detroit Lions on Sunday in their quest to take down the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Broward County, Florida. Up until Sunday, the highlight of the stadium’s history was being the backdrop for pivotal scenes in Ace Ventura Pet Detective. Now it’s known as the place where Detroit won two consecutive road games for the first time since 1993.
As mentioned numerous times in this blog, Jim Schwartz has changed the culture surrounding the Lions. Tradition should not be a primary concern because the players and the coaching staff are not culpable for the collective futility of the franchise. The pick six near the end of the game by DeAndre Levy was the difference in the outcome and eventually allowed the Lions to put the finishing touches on their 34-27 victory over the Dolphins.
By Patrick Herbert
If it’s any consolation for the Dolphins, they did win the battle in many statistical categories. Chad Henne had a higher completion percentage than Shaun Hill. Miami wide receiver Brandon Marshall compiled about double the receptions and yardage than that of Calvin Johnson. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown acquired about double the yardage on the ground than that attained by Maurice Morris and Jahvid Best for the Lions.
The most important statistic that they doubled is in the interception department. Henne completed two passes to the Lions while Hill played it close to the vest and threw none to the Dolphins. Ndamukong Suh continued to be a beast on the defensive side of the ball for coordinator Gunther Cunningham. He attained five tackles and a sack to assist with the victory. His vigor and constant motivation is refreshing in a league of receiver divas with alleged phantom injuries.
This win puts the Lions in a unique position for them in their recent history. They have the opportunity to possibly not finish in the cellar of the NFC North division. If the Minnesota Vikings fall on Tuesday evening to the Philadelphia Eagles, both squads would enter the final game of the season with identical 5-10 records. The major difference for the two teams would be morale at that juncture. The Lions see their performance thus far this season as a positive occurrence while the Vikings have already lost a head coach, a stadium, and their swagger.
On the flip side, Detroit has surpassed all of their expectations. Their draft picks are performing at a high level. They have quit drafting wide receiver s and have started addressing other needs on their ball club. They have also admirably filled in for Jason Hansen when he went down with an injury. This may seem like a minor attribute compared with the other aforementioned positive mojo, but Dave Rayner’s forty-seven yard field goal late in regulation on Sunday was clutch, especially considering that it was not in a controlled environment.
The elephant in the room is that addition by subtraction is certainly part of the scenario. Matt Millen is not around to pull any more bonehead moves that set back the organization for years.