Film Review: Examining 8 key plays from Lions’ gut-wrenching loss to Seattle

DET at SEA - Johnson's fumble at GL

This article was published by the Detroit Free Press.

Most games in the NFL are decided by a handful of plays. Sometimes one play – or six inches as it was in the Detroit Lions’ 13-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks – is the difference between winning and losing. Continue reading

Film Study: DT Gabe Wright fits Lions’ gap-shooting scheme

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This article was published by the Detroit Free Press

With the departures of its starting defensive tackles and top backup, the Detroit Lions entered the NFL draft with a glaring need for depth along an interior line that was the team’s backbone just months earlier. The unit that had set the tone for the third-ranked defense in 2014 was suddenly a weakness and in serious need of reinforcements.

Though the Lions added a five-time All-Pro, albeit an aging one, in Haloti Ngata, and signed rotational player Tyrunn Walker, the desire to add talent in the trenches was still apparent. Continue reading

Lions All-22: Suh a dominant force in run and pass game

Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of a game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Detroit.(Photo: Leon Halip Getty Images)

Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of a game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Detroit.(Photo: Leon Halip Getty Images)

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

The Lions face a monumental decision over the next five weeks as the centerpiece of the defense, Ndamukong Suh, gets set to enter the open market.

Suh, 28, will be a free agent for the first time in his career on March 10. He is likely looking for a contract that would eclipse J.J. Watt’s $100 million deal (with a record $51.8 million guaranteed for a defensive player). The Lions reportedly are the favorites to sign Suh. 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

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

Lions All-22: Suh, Ansah bully Buccaneers

Suh, Ansah smile

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 07: Ndamukong Suh #90 and Ezekiel Ansah #94 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a fourth quarter sack while playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Ford Field on December 07, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 34-17. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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

Football games are often won in the trenches by the (mostly) unheralded 300-pound lineman.

You can have Peyton Manning as your quarterback, but if the offensive line doesn’t give him time in the pocket, he’ll put up pedestrian numbers. Continue reading

Lions All-22: Suh, defensive line wreak havoc to stifle hot Miami offense

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)

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)

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

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