Lions offense finding its groove in the first half

Posted by ttwentyman on November 22, 2012 – 3:27 pm

The Lions offense has found its groove.

Matthew Stafford and Co. scored a touchdown on it’s first possession of the game — the first time they’ve done that this season — and kept on clicking to the tune of 21 first-half points against the league’s fourth-ranked offense.

Stafford threw for 246 yards in the first half with touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson (22 yards) and Mike Thomas (5).

His 246 yards are the fourth-most in the first half of a game in his career.

His favorite target has been Johnson, who has 103 yards on five catches. It’s Johnson’s fourth-straight 100-yard game and he’s now passed 1,200 yards receiving on the season.

Defensively, the Lions have held a potent Texans offense to 165 yards with just 33 rushing.

Despite holding the halftime lead and playing well on both sides of the ball, there are still a couple adjustments the Lions can make:

–They need more production out of punter Nick Harris, who’s struggled to get both distance and hang time on his punts. This is the second consecutive game Harris has struggled. He’s averaging just 37 yards per punt on three attempts in the first half.

–Most of the Texans yardage on offense has come via big plays in the passing game. Receiver Andre Johnson has a 43-yard reception and a 37-yarder. That’s almost half of their entire first-half production.

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 12 Comments »

Backus’ regular season streak ends; Delmas to start

Posted by ttwentyman on November 22, 2012 – 12:05 pm

Jeff Backus’ iron-man streak of 186 consecutive regular season starts is over.

The 12-year veteran is inactive today due to an injured hamstring suffered Sunday in a loss to the Packers. Rookie Riley Reiff will start at left tackle.

Backus’ inactive status ends one of the most impressive streaks in NFL history.

Consider this, Backus has started every game at left tackle since the Lions drafted him in 2001. His 186 starts is a franchise record and the third-longest active streak in the NFL.

Backus started 49 consecutive games at Michigan beginning his redshirt freshman season in 1997, which means today is the first time Backus hasn’t started a game his team has played dating back 236 games.

Third-year player Jason Fox is active for the first time this season as a backup tackle. Fox hasn’t played in a game since his rookie season in 2010.

The Lions did get some good news with safety Louis Delmas, though. Delmas will play for the first time since injuring his left knee in a win over Seattle nearly a month ago. The Lions are 2-1 in games Delmas has started this season.

They’ll also have the services of cornerback Drayton Florence, who’s been cleared for contact after suffering a concussion in the Packers game. Florence participated in Wednesday’s walkthrough and will start at right cornerback for the injured Jacob Lacey (foot), who will not play today.

With receiver Titus Young inactive because of disciplinary reasons, rookie Ryan Broyles will get his first career start.

Receiver Brian Robiskie will be active for the first time since the Seattle game to add depth to the receiving corps.

Second-year defensive tackle Nick Fairley is active and will play today. Fairley showed up on Wednesday’s injury report with an illness. He’ll start his third straight game for the injured Corey Williams, who will miss his third consecutive contest.

Joining Backus, Young, Lacey and Williams on the inactive list are: offensive tackle Corey Hilliard, quarterback Kellen Moore and  defensive end Ronnell Lewis.

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »