Lions will have to produce better on first and second down to win at Minnesota

Posted by ttwentyman on November 11, 2012 – 3:38 pm

The Lions are no strangers to trailing at the half. In fact, last week’s win in Jacksonville was the first time all year the Lions led heading into their locker room.

If they’re going to get above .500 for the first time since Week 1, they’ll have to turn around a 13-3 halftime deficit.

Two key adjustments they’ll have to make in the second half.

1. Better production on first and second down

The Lions were 20-of-28 on third down the last two weeks in wins over Seattle and Jacksonville. They’ve began today’s game 0-for-6 with two sacks.

The Lions have put themselves in third-and-long situations all game and that’s allowed the Vikings to tee off.

Stafford has been pressured a few times which is resulting in him leave the pocket a touch early and right into one of those sacks. Of the six third-down plays, the distance to reach a first down was under seven yards just once. It doesn’t matter how good an offense is, it can’t continue to put itself in third-and-long situations and expect to convert against NFL defenses.

2. Contain explosive plays

There really isn’t any way to completely stop Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, but you have to limit the explosive runs.

On a 13-play Vikings’ scoring drive in the second quarter, Peterson has runs of 15 and 14 yards and Vikings had just one third down on the drive.

The Vikings opened the game with a touchdown on their first possession after a 54-yard completion for Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder to receiver Jarius Wright set them up at the Lions 1-yard line.

The defense has done an okay job on Ponder. He started the game 6-of-7 passing for 57 yards with 54 coming on that one completion.

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “Lions will have to produce better on first and second down to win at Minnesota”

  1. By Dj on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    No s*** Sherlock????

  2. By BigM53 on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    This team is pathetic, the kicking game is horrid.. would be nice to have a kicker who can kick touch backs..what’s up with the punting also…. I tired of following this team…sooo disappointing……. sorry excuse for a professional team !

  3. By RW on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    The Lions are a lost cause, As long as the Ford family owns this team it will be and underachiver. Why waiste money going to a Lions game when their Defense stinks and their offense is a joke. Even with Mathew Stafford and no offensive line and no running game this team will go 6 and 10.

    Detrot will once again be the seller dweller in their division, lsat year was a fluke. This year reality is setting in. Swartz has no discipline on this team and it shows.

  4. By RW on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    What a deffense, Adrian Petterson 61 yards for a touchdown. DETROIT DEFENSE STINKS.

  5. By confused on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    …. Top 7 in both offense and defense is a mirage created by playing bad teams. The discussion should really be on the complete ineptitude of pre game planning/scheming offensely. The common demoninator of slows starts is horrible play calling and bad clock management, with a dash of QB indecision and lack of running game. How do you have the best receiver in football complimented by a sideline burner in Titus, and not take a shot down field until halfway through the 3rd quarter against a subpar secondary? Poor planning, Poor execution, lack of discipline, and just generally bad football witha dash of good football against heel down, late game zone defenses ,has capitolized this franchise on our false hopes as fans. Sugar coat it all you want pen devils, it doesnt excuse the fact that this team is the biggest dissapointment in football. They have made good decisions draft wise, but how hard is it when your top ten in the draft consistenly year in and year out? Of course youre going to make highlight reels if you have a bunch of first round picks playing on your offense. sad, so very very sad…

  6. By confused on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    Unfortunately, I actually paid money for this garbage being in Wisconsin and needing sunday ticket. I am considering writing Michigans congressman with a complaint and refund request. I will only watch the next few games out of curiosity…

  7. By c on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    This is by far the worst team ever. You cant even beat the vikings maybe shoulda thought about upgrading the defense instead of trading for a WR whose name wasnt even mentioned. Fire scwartz and cunning old ham. Whoever replies to this about your not a true fan screw you at least i.get paid to do my job USMC!

  8. By BayCityGuy on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    The Lions are in the second half of there season and in last place in there division and going nowhere. Any coaching staff that lets there team commit the same penalties game after game is no coaching staff and this includes the head coach. The Detroit Lions are a sick team and they have been sick for 55 years. There is a cancer in that organization and it seems to be incurable.

  9. By adam on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply


  10. By James Fickes on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    I understand that holding happens every play but what happened on te second to last TD where the lions safety was literally clotheslined from the rear and on I think levy when AP ran the TD, how are officials blatantly missing these calls, IMHO 2 TD should have been called back due to holding am I mistaken in this? When ate officials going to be fined for blatantly missed called that result in a loss for an away team.

  11. By JP O'Flaherty on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    Tim, I know the Lions are trying to improve, but the continue to make the stupid mistakes at the worst times which always lead to losses. For example, you are going to Minnesota to play against the team with most probably the best RB since Barry. Don’t you do everything possible to assure that he doesn’t beat you? I mean you have someone “spy” on him, and always stop him no matter what else happens., Right? Matt and CJ cannot do it by themselves, no matter how potent their pass game is. The Defense??? Giving up 34 points and 170plus yards to a weakened Minnesota team, is inexcusable, and the reason the Lions as a team never get any respect. So what do we need now?????Hmmm maybe another Receiver???!!!

  12. By BayCityGuy on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    The Lions are in the second half of there season and in last place in the division and going nowhere. They make the same mistakes game after game and this has to be the fault of the coaching staff. This is a sick team and they have been sick for 55 years. There is a cancer in that organization and it seems to be incurable.

  13. By Bill Mi on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    As usual..when faced up against a good running back …the lions choke…and the secondary couldn’t cover an elephant with a broken leg. The offense…” hello boys!!!”….the games started…it’s the 3rd quarter now”…every week…Another let down season at the bottom of the cellar…bring me up a bottle of wine while your down there.

  14. By Greg on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    Last year was an anomaly. Right back to the same old lydowns. If we can’t beat a subpar team like the Vikings in two trys, I shudder to see what the two Packer games are going to look like. How long do we have to put up with Linehan only coaching for one quarter a game, Other teams seem to figure out what we’re doing and make appropriate adjustments during the first half as well as at half time. Linehan hasn’tbee able to figure anything out all season! How is that today, Stafford throws his first touchdown pass to an all universe receiver like Megatron? Maybe getting close to bringing in coaches that know how to figure things out before the final ticks of the clock.

  15. By confused on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    What Greg said… the running game was non-existant last year, and you want to contribute having an offseason/training camp to all secondaries the lions have faced, suddenly being able to defend this WR group? How about throwing the ball down the field once or twice in the first half of the football game. Every game you do that… you throw it downfield the first play of the game and abandon it. I’m just a fan and don’t know what im talking about. But, i will be damned if as simple minded as i am, can figure out rudimentary patterns in the play calling. Also, create better audibles or coach better options and recognition when DB’s are in press man-to-man coverage. … A WR screen doesnt work when its press. Pathetic

  16. By Tom on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    typical lions game lets get behind early and then put points on the board when its too late move the ball down the field like its nobody’s business and you scratch your head where did this offense come from CANT WAIT TILL FOURTH QTR TO DO YOUR DAMAGE ON THE SCOREBOARD one week you see what they are capable of doing the next is filled with momentum killing penalties and turnovers which seems to be the norm for this team they find ways to beat themselves they have some talent but it dont do much good when most games they as a team are too inconsistant its the little things that win ball games all phases need to be there for four quarters not one

  17. By BayCityGuy on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    I am watching Cowboys and eagles. The officials just made another blatantly incorrect call, a touchdown catch in the end zone that the replay clearly shows was not a catch. Something the officials are doing an awfully lot of this year.

  18. By BayCityGuy on Nov 11, 2012 | Reply

    To BigM53, Yes the team sucks, but don’t come down on Jason Hanson, he is one of the best kickers in the NFL. We just need a lot better special teams performance.

  19. By mickd on Nov 12, 2012 | Reply

    Whoever will listen: Your defense again and again and again is vanilla. Your defense is predictable just as your offense was as the season started. No forward movement of your linebackers up to the line, that’s right keep them 5 yards off the line with little to no stunts with your defensive line. Why not rush 5 defensive lineman or even line up 4 defensive lineman with a linebacker. You add Reiff to your offensive line to help out your offensive, but vanilla your 4 defensive linemen alignment allowing your opponents to size them up for blocking assignments. Conventional defense is not vanilla if it’s working but if it’s not and that’s a game time decision, than make the change. The offensive moves Calvin around until you find a way to get him open. The same thing should apply to your defensive line such as Suh or Fairley. Find them a weakness so they can become more effective. If your not getting pressure on the quarterback with all the injuries in the backfield you know what the results will be.

  20. By J.Fitz on Nov 12, 2012 | Reply

    Very good points made by some commetns so far. I have sais from the beginning, I thank Coach Schwartz for what he ahs done, he has changed the mindset of the franchise and gave them the beginning of an identity. However, I do not believe he is the coach to get us to the next level at all.

    I am not sure if Gunther is calling the defense or Schwartz at this point. When we play rookie, bad, or struggling QB’s we lay back in a flat and weak zone and never blitz. The corners play 10 yards off and the LB’s play a run oriented zone scheme with no run blitzes or anything. 3rd and long, what do we do, we sit back in this same coverage and bring no pressure.

    The game planning is horrible, Backus is terrible (he was getting pancaked against the Vikings instead of trying to block). Our drafts have not been as good as people keep saying, we have done decent in trades but not drafts. Playcalling on both sides of the ball are easy enough for a Pop Warner coach like myself to predict and defeat.

    All coaching staff must go. Try to pay the house for Gruden, don’t go after Andy Reed (he needs a year of with all the turmoil he has endured this year away from football). Maybe Billick, or see what you can do to go after Chip Kelly from Oregon with our offense and make sure he gets a DCO worth something because Oregon’s is worse than ours.

  21. By sm980268 on Nov 12, 2012 | Reply

    Wow! As many players as we had out on defense and Johnson hurt and playing like a beast, We could have won that game. I have a hard time figuring out our defensive Line! There only mission is to deystroy the offensive line and Adrian Peterson ( dont care who he is : destroy the running back ) . WTH Suh and #1 pic from Auburn. No excuses, make a statement when an opposing team makes you look bad!!

  22. By sm980268 on Nov 12, 2012 | Reply

    Dont think about any games besides the next one. Pretend your job depends on how well you can channel your anger though eachplay and down, Thats a message to the whole team except calvin Johnson. If we love this guy, make him take the next two or three games off to get healthy. SEE WHO STEPS UP!!!!

  23. By J.Fitz on Nov 15, 2012 | Reply

    @sm980268 You cannot blame the D-Line and it is not as easy as you are putting it. First off, it is simple math. Offenses have realized that we do not blitz, we do not zone blitz. So they have adjusted. By only rushing our 4 down linemen it is easy to defeat us. If a team holds its tight end in to block and has a decent running back who can block, an offense can still send out 3 wide receivers into action. That leaves 5 O-Linemen, a tight end, and a running back to block our 4 down linemen. 7 vs. 4. that means a double team on both the interior linemen Suh and Fairley or Suh and Williams. You can also double team Avril and then leave Vanden Bosch to be blocked one on one which is not too hard to do, especially when he over runs most plays anyway. It is merely a simple nmbers game and when there are 3 receivers who get 4 to 4.5 seconds to get open, no DB can cover for that long. This falls on the coaching staff and their schemes more than the players at this point.

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