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 →
DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 09: Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions sacks Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter of the game at Ford Field on November 09 , 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Dolphins 20-16. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Much has been made of Matthew Stafford directing the offense to a comeback victory for the third consecutive contest. The Lions now have three straight come-from-behind wins in the final two minutes of a game, their latest thrilling victory a 20-16 win over Miami. Stafford has continually stepped up at the end of games and his playmakers have made plays to save the day.
But let’s not overlook why this team has even had the opportunity to win games late. The defense is the best in the league and continues to impress each week. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has done a phenomenal job of maximizing his players’ talents and has this defense flying to the football. On Sunday, the Dolphins were just another victim of a ferocious defensive effort led by Ndamukong Suh and his linemates. Continue reading →
Defensive pass coverage isn’t just about the secondary staying glued to the receivers or the pass rush sacking the quarterback. In order to play sound team pass defense, the two units must work together to be successful.
On Glover Quin’s game-changing interception of Drew Brees, that’s exactly what happened. Speaking with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio on the field moments after the crucial come-from-behind victory over the Saints, Quin acknowledged the front four’s role in his interception that set-up the winning score.
“We had a great rush from our D-line,” said Quin. “He (Brees) was under duress and tried to step-up, 3rd-and-10 he wanted to make a play at the sticks. We knew that they (the receivers) broke the route right off at the sticks and thank god I was there.”
The Saints showed this formation and personnel grouping numerous times throughout the game and up until Quin’s big play, they had burned the Lions repeatedly. Continue reading →