Stafford Thrusts New Life Into Detroit

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Calvin Johnson caught three touchdown passes for the first time in his young but illustrious career. He was close to having four, but Matthew Stafford was intercepted in the corner of the end zone during the first half going for broke. Calvin Johnson plays the wide receiver position with reckless abandon, much like Adrian Peterson does at running back. It is simply a matter of time before he is knocked out of the game for a prolonged period of time.

It’s impossible to sustain the hits that he does on a regular basis and continue playing. Usually his size is a tremendous advantage, but it does provide a bigger target for defensive backs-who are head hunting to get Detroit’s biggest playmaker on the sidelines. Make no mistake about it, whatever fine is doled out by the NFL is worth it if Calvin Johnson is out of the game.

The league is tough to figure out this year. Wade Phillips could testify to this since his Cowboys now have less victories than the Lions. The once proud NFC East is limping through this portion of the season with the Redskins also struggling in the red zone. The Redskins were almost saved in the second half when wide receiver Nate Burleson fumbled after a long reception to middle linebacker London Fletcher. The ball would certainly have bounced out of bounds on the turf at the Silverdome, but at Ford Field it stayed in play. Detroit fans must have been saying, “here we go again.”

When something positive seems to happen recently to the team, a negative occurrence is on the horizon. Reference Calvin Johnson’s catch against the Bears. The final score of 37-25 was not indicative of how close the game was. Almost every statistical category was even through three quarters, including the score. The major difference was that the Lions had committed two turnovers. This was a positive sign for possible future success for the offense. It showed that they were able to stay even with Washington, even while surviving a few missteps.

Kevin Smith invigorated the attack in the fourth quarter with his energetic bursts. In fact, he almost took out a Fox sound technician that came too close to the action. The quickness that he demonstrated should be motivation for the actor/director with the same name to get into shape. Maybe then there wouldn’t be any controversy whether he needs one or two seats on Southwest Airlines. But I digress. Jim Schwartz has this team believing in itself and playing at a high level.

Donovan McNabb was the one with his head down dejected toward the conclusion of the game, not anyone from the Lions. The fans of Michigan needed this victory on Sunday considering the misfortunes suffered by the Spartans and Wolverines the day before. Common ground can be found supporting the NFL franchise. They are not the deepest roster in the NFL, but they have demonstrated against the Rams and Redskins that they are making progress and exciting to watch.

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