Big performances in second half lead to Lions’ 49-35 win

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2011 – 5:21 pm

A 7-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to tight end Brandon Pettigrew gave the Lions back the lead at 42-35 with 2:32 left.

Then newly signed safety Chris Harris picked off Cam Newton to set up a late Kevin Smith touchdown and a 49-35 Lions up for victory. The ball was tipped by linebacker Stephen Tulloch right into Harris’ hands.

What a second half for the Lions linebackers after struggling a bit in the first half. Tulloch and Levy had monster second half’s.

Stafford (28-of-36 for 335 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions) and Smith (201 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns) are the heroes on offense.

Tulloch sealed the win with an interception.

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Kevin Smith leads charge into the 35-27 lead

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2011 – 4:53 pm

What a difference a half makes.

Like they’ve done so many times this year, the Lions have fought back from a 13-point deficit to now lead 35-27 after Kevin Smith‘s second touchdown of the game.

They’ve played nearly flawless in the second half.

Smith was out of football on a couch three weeks again and now has 161 all-purpose yards and two scores against the Panthers.

Terrific game by Smith.

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Stafford helps Lions get back into the game

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2011 – 4:05 pm

The Lions needed a quick start to the second half to get back into the game.

Mission accomplished.

A three-and-out by the defense led to a long Stefan Logan punt return that set up a 16-yard touchdown strike from Matthew Stafford to Nate Burleson.

The Lions now trail 27-21 with 10:28 left in the third quarter.

Receiver Calvin Johnson had a huge block on the Burleson catch and run.

After starting 5-of-10 for 55 yards with two interceptions, Stafford is 13-of-14 for 145 yards and three touchdowns since.

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Stafford has connected on last 10-of-11 with 2 TDs after rough start

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2011 – 3:16 pm

A 3-yard touchdown catch by Titus Young chipped into the Panthers’ early lead and the Lions now trail 27-14 at the half.

But do they have more second-half magic left in them?

The Lions will need much better play from just about every unit in the second half if their going to mount another comeback.

The Panthers are averaging over 6.0 yards per rush and finding huge gaps to run through with no linebackers filling them. Linebackers Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant need to play better in the second half. The Panthers have also been able to dump off the ball to their running backs for positive plays.

After throwing two early interceptions, Matthew Stafford has connected on his last 10 of 11 throws, with two touchdowns, but will need to have a big second half if the Lions are going to mount yet another comeback.

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Smith comes back big with two plays for a TD

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2011 – 2:54 pm

Welcome back Kevin Smith.

Needing a spark after turning the ball over on their first three possessions, Lions RB Kevin Smith churned up a 46-yard run and a 28-yard screen pass from Matthew Stafford to put the first Lion points on the board.

Smith ran tough against the Bears last week and Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said he’d probably get a bigger role in the offense today.

Unfortunately, the Lions special teams coverage unit proceeded to give up a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown after the Smith touchdown and the Lions are back to having to climb out of a 10-point hole.

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Lions give it away three times in first quarter

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2011 – 2:40 pm

Three drives and three turnovers for the Lions.

After two Matthew Stafford interceptions, RB Keiland Williams fumbled it away on the Lions third drive to give the Panthers another great opportunity for early points.

The Panthers have now started two of their three drives inside Lions territory and lead 10-0.

Not a great start for the Lions offense.

If not for the defense, which got an interception and held the Panthers to a field goal on the first two turnovers, this one would be getting out-of-hand pretty quick.

The Williams fumble led to a Steve Smith 15-yard touchdown and the Lions find themselves down 10-0 late in the first quarter

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Stafford throws interceptions on first two drives

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2011 – 12:51 pm

After a shaky four-interception game against the Bears last week, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford needed to get off to a good start against the Panthers.

That’s not happening.

Stafford took deep shots to Calvin Johnson and Tony Scheffler on his first two pass attempts that fell just incomplete. But on his third attempt, Stafford was picked off by Panthers LB James Anderson.

The Lions defense bailed him out with an interception of their own (Eric Wright), so no harm no foul.

But Stafford threw his second interception on the very next drive as the Lions were poised to score. The ball was intercepted by SS Charles Godfrey.

Stafford has some zing on the ball and looks to be throwing ok. It’s the decision-making that’s letting him down early on. His second throw was into double coverage and under thrown.

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Best, Donahue out vs. Carolina

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on November 18, 2011 – 5:00 pm

Today’s injury report lists running back Jahvid Best (concussion) and punter Ryan Donahue (right quad) as out for this week’s game versus Carolina.

Questionable for Sunday’s game are defensive end Lawrence Jackson (thigh) and defensive end Willie Young (ankle).

Probable are safety Amari Spievey (toe) and quarterback Matthew Stafford (finger).

Read Friday’s full injury report

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Suh: “We always have the opportunity to get after quarterbacks and exploit them.”

Posted by Tara Altman on November 16, 2011 – 5:38 pm

“Chicago was a tough loss, but we aren’t in a do or die situation; we’re in a situation where we can continue to master and take care of our destiny. I know as a team we want to finish up these last seven games strong, starting with Carolina, and it will be good to be back at home.

“Against the Bears, not all three phases were working together and we obviously – on the defensive side of the ball – didn’t get turnovers to help our offense, which is what we should be doing. We gave up too many turnovers and I think that was the biggest reason to why the score got so lopsided.

“We did do a lot of good things, but we didn’t do enough to win, and that’s all that really matters. You can play as best as you want, but still allowing one big play in the run game and maybe two big plays in the pass game – it’s not enough. We didn’t get the turnovers for our offense to put points on the board, and that’s what we do as a defense. This is why it’s a team game, you give and take and help each other out when needed.

“Things happen, and we’re lucky enough to have a strong team, a mature team – and young at that – that can learn, forget and move past this to get ready for the next game.

“Looking at Carolina, I think turnovers have been a factor in their games, which is a good thing for us. I think they’ve also been in a lot of shootouts. Their defense hasn’t played as well as I’m sure they had hoped, and as far as I know, they’ve been plagued with injuries; but that’s the name of the game and you have to be able to bounce back from those types of things.

“With Cam Newton, I think opportunities definitely present themselves with rookie quarterbacks, but I think that’s the way it is with all quarterbacks as long as you execute your game plan. With as well schooled as we are as a defensive line and a defensive unit, as well as the great coaches that we have, we always have the opportunity to get after quarterbacks and exploit them.

“They have a great running game. They have a great running back in a good friend of mine, Jonathan Stewart, as well as No. 34 (DeAngelo Williams), it’s a great tandem, and you can throw Cam Newton in there too. Steve Smith is a hell of a wide receiver, has been to the Pro Bowl many times and his veteran status continues to produce. They have a great group of guys that we’re going to have to watch and I’m just highlighting the guys you might be seeing. They also have Jeremy Shockey and (Greg) Olsen, who used to play in Chicago, those are guys who can hurt you as well.

“It doesn’t feel like we’ve lost three of our last four games, and for whatever reasons we’ve lost, I don’t really care. It’s over and done with. We need to focus on these next seven games which are very important for us to get where we need to get to.”

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Johnson: “We wanted to put Chicago behind us … but we didn’t do that”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on November 16, 2011 – 4:09 pm

“I would have to say Sunday’s game was a lack of attention to detail, probably, as far as keeping the ball tight so it can’t get out. We had a few balls on the ground. We just weren’t us. We weren’t us, we didn’t come out well, we didn’t start fast, we didn’t have our swagger, really, on offense up and down the field like we used to. That’s one thing we have to do this Sunday.

“After a couple turnovers, the mood on the sideline was different. Honestly, it was. You can definitely tell it did change because we put ourselves in the hole that we really couldn’t get back out of.

“We’ve lost three of our last four after starting 5-0, but I just think about quarters. First quarter was great. Second quarter we were 2-2. We started off 0-1 this third quarter of the season and November’s big because it can set us up real nicely for where we want to be.

“It starts this week, getting back even, and then with the quick turnaround with Green Bay. But all the attention this week is on Carolina. We have to put together a good game plan and put it together on the field because we definitely have a heck of a task coming up afterwards.

“As far as the standings … I mean, you can’t help but to look. You want to know where you’re at. As far as last game, we wanted to put Chicago behind us. We understood that if we beat Chicago, that we’d put them behind us and have them playing for us the rest of the year. But we didn’t do that, so now we’re even with them with a huge game this week and another divisional game coming up after this one. How we do will be a good telltale for us.”

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