PHILADELPHIA -- Some thoughts at halftime from Lincoln Financial Field:
I'm not sure what's more concerning for the Detroit Lions: The play of quarterback Matthew Stafford or their penalty total. We'll start with the former. Stafford is completing only 33.3 percent of his passes -- 6 of 18 attempts -- for 91 yards. He overthrew tight end Tony Scheffler near the goal line in the first quarter, made an ill-advised pass into double coverage for an interception and has simply missed open receivers on a half dozen other plays. Coming off a bye week, it's hard to imagine Stafford's hip injury is still a factor, but to the naked eye, this appears to be Stafford's worst performance since his rookie season. Baffling.
As we noted earlier, the Eagles are shutting down receiver Calvin Johnson largely by matching him up against cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. There has been plenty of safety help as well, but in the end Johnson has only one reception for 28 yards.
The Lions have had an inexcusable 10 penalties accepted against them in the first half, and the last one was a big one. A pass interference call against cornerback Jacob Lacey gave the Eagles a first-and-goal, putting them in position for their only score of the game. Quarterback Michael Vick's 2-yard pass to LeSean McCoy gave the Eagles the lead with one minute, 21 seconds left in the half.
Safety Louis Delmas has made an obvious impact in his 2012 debut, making a tackle in the backfield on a third-down shovel pass and also corralling an errant pass from Michael Vick in the second quarter for the Lions' first interception of the year. The Lions' defensive line has put consistent pressure on Vick -- defensive end Cliff Avril helped break up the shovel pass -- and Delmas has been in place to capitalize on a number of occasions.
You wonder if the constant pressure and hits on Vick will eventually pay dividends. The Lions have two takeaways, both of which were the result of Eagles mistakes. (A poor decision by Vick on the interception and a snap from center Dallas Reynolds that Vick wasn't anticipating.) Often, pressure and physical play can indirectly cause mistakes as the game progresses.
The Lions' special teams have not been much of an issue after two weeks of intense scrutiny. Returner Stefan Logan set up a field goal with a 48-yard punt return. The Eagles' Brandon Boykin has kickoff returns of 31 and 30 yards.