NFC Championship Game All-22: Examining Morgan Burnett’s slide

Green Bay Packers' Morgan Burnett (42) slides after intercepting a pass during the second half of the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Green Bay Packers’ Morgan Burnett (42) slides after intercepting a pass during the second half of the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Green Bay Packers epic collapse in Seattle on Sunday afternoon has been analyzed and discussed all over the country. There are a number of reasons they lost. Seattle made key plays down the stretch, while the Packers were seemingly glad to help. People have rightfully criticized Packers coach Mike McCarthy for being too conservative throughout the entire game, including settling for two field goals inside the two-yard line in the first quarter.

There are three specific fourth quarter plays that aided the Seahawks comeback, all within the final 5:13 with the Packers holding a 19-7 lead.  Continue reading

Lions All-22: Dissecting the Impact of Golden Tate

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04: Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) runs in for a touchdown as Dallas Cowboys free safety J.J. Wilcox (27) defends during the first half of an NFL wildcard playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, TX – JANUARY 04: Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) runs in for a touchdown as Dallas Cowboys free safety J.J. Wilcox (27) defends during the first half of an NFL wildcard playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

A version of this article was published by the Detroit Free Press.

At 25 yards old and entering the prime of his career, wide receiver Golden Tate entered last March’s free agency looking for a juicy new contract.

A month prior, he had won the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks and was coming off of his best season as a pro. Tate posted a team-high 64 catches, 898 receiving yards and five touchdowns while playing in a run-heavy offense. He led all receivers with 21 forced missed tackles in 2013 and owned the lowest drop rate of any wideout with at least 100 targets since 2011. Pro Football Focus also graded Tate as the leagues’ best punt returner. Continue reading

Priorities: Ranking the Lions offseason needs

Suh, Ansah smile

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Coming off an 11-win season and a first round exit in the playoffs, the Detroit Lions have a variety of needs heading into another crucial offseason. Can they acquire talent, build on last season and become a great team? Or will they fail to upgrade and slip back into mediocrity as they have for years? Let’s take a comprehensive look at their most glaring positional needs heading into free agency (FA begins March 10). Continue reading

All-22: Was the Lions’ D too vanilla on final drive?

DET-DAL 4-6 Witten 21yds

A version of this article was published by the Detroit Free Press

Yes, we can all agree that the Detroit Lions were hosed by the officials down the stretch, and that it played a vital role in their devastating defeat to the Cowboys last Sunday.

But let’s talk about the Lions defensive performance in the loss. Teryl Austin’s unit played admirably against a balanced offensive attack. They held the NFL’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray to 3.9 yards per carry and kept Dez Bryant (three catches, 48 yards) in check. Yet the defense committed a few costly errors including a killer long touchdown at the end of the first half, and were penalized in key moments, which gave Dallas the extra life it needed to produce a comeback. Continue reading

Remembering Stuart Scott

Rich Arden/ESPN Images

Rich Arden/ESPN Images

Sitting in my living room yesterday morning watching ESPN’s tribute to beloved anchor Stuart Scott, I couldn’t hold my emotion in check any longer. Usually I keep my feelings inward, but I have come to realize that when something is truly meaningful to me, I’m very passionate and emotional.

As Robin Roberts finished narrating the beautiful piece, tears streamed down my face and I put my head down and sobbed. I was thinking back to my days as a young kid watching SportsCenter with Stuart Scott. Continue reading

All-22: Lions must contain Murray, Cowboys run game

DeMarco Murray

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A version of this article was published by the Detroit Free Press.

The Lions’ defense has been stout against the run all season, but in their wild card playoff matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, they will face a beast of a rushing attack. Continue reading

All-22: Lions fail to convert on handful of crucial plays

Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews sacks Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews sacks Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

A version of this story was published by the Detroit Free Press.

When facing a high-octane offense like the Green Bay Packers, you must eliminate mistakes and cannot waste opportunities to score points. This is especially true at Lambeau Field, where the Packers entered last Sunday’s contest with the Detroit Lions averaging 41 points per game. Continue reading