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Lions not handling the keys needed to beat the Falcons

Posted by ttwentyman on December 22, 2012 – 11:14 pm

Before tonight’s game I highlighted five keys for the Lions if they were going to pull off the upset against the Falcons (12-2) tonight.

The first 30 minutes are in the books and it’s not looking good for the Lions, who trail 21-6 at halftime.

TURNOVERS ARE THE GREAT EQUALIZER

Lions fans saw firsthand last week how turnovers can be the great equalizer for a team less talented than another. The Cardinals scored 28 points off four turnovers and handely beat a more talented Lions team, 38-10.

The Lions fumbled twice in the first half tonight and the Falcons turned them into 14 points.

The Lions can’t beat themselves and the Falcons, too.

GET TO RYAN

The Lions had no chance if Ryan was able to step up in the pocket and complete passes. The Lions have only gotten to Ryan once in the first 30 minutes.

Subsequently, he’s 15-of-16 passing for 183 yards with three touchdowns.

That’s a 154.2 rating.

Ryan was not sacked once last week in a win over the Giants and he finished with a 142.6 rating.

START FAST AND FINISH STRONG

The Lions did neither.

They went three-and-out on their first possession and fell behind 7-0 early. They had to settle for a field goal late in the first quarter and again right before the half.

They’ll certainly have to finish strong.

WHO STEPS UP?

Calvin Johnson has six catches for 117 yards in the first half. He might get to Rice’s record tonight.

Six other receivers have combined for 66 yards. Kris Durham has two catches for 32 yards as the second-leading receiver.

BE MULTIDIMENSIONAL

The Lions have thrown the ball 19 times for 183 yards.

They’ve run it 12 times for 45 yards (3.8) average.

The Falcons’ defense is giving up nearly 125 yards rushing per game on the season and opponents are averaging 4.9 yards per rush.

The Lions haven’t taken advantage of that statistic thus far.


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Brandon Pettigrew inactive; Delmas to start vs. Falcons

Posted by ttwentyman on December 22, 2012 – 8:01 pm

The Lions will be without tight end Brandon Pettigrew — the team’s second-leading receiver – for tonight’s game vs. Atlanta.

Pettigrew will miss his second consecutive game since injuring an ankle in the first quarter two weeks ago in Green Bay. He is second on the team in both receptions (57) and receiving yards (556) behind Calvin Johnson.

“He’s a big part of our offense,” Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said this week of Pettigrew. “He’s been our second leading receiver and big chain mover and a guy we go to in third down and the red zone.

“You take one of those key components out, it puts a little more of an emphasis on using some other guys, and we’ve got very capable players that are doing a good job of stepping in.”

Tony Scheffler, Will Heller and Shaun Chapas will handle the tight end duties in place of Pettigrew. Heller will make the start.

As he promised Thursday, safety Louis Delmas will be playing and start at free safety. It’s the second-straight start for Delmas, who’s missed a total of eight games this season because of a sore left knee.

The Falcons average 26.5 points per game and have the league’s No. 5-ranked passing offense (287.5).

Having Delmas in the back end of the defense will be key for the Lions tonight.

Joining Pettigrew on the inactive list are: cornerback Ron Bartell, defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo, offensive tackles Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard, defensive end Ronnell Lewis and quarterback Kellen Moore.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »