Sunday, October 20, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Detroit Lions
By Michael Rothstein
DETROIT -- Some thoughts on the Detroit Lions’ 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals:
What it means: Tough, tough loss for Detroit. It struggled defensively, came back offensively and wasted some big, big plays from Calvin Johnson, as Mike Nugent make a 54-yard field goal at the buzzer to win.
The loss puts some pressure on Detroit. The Lions drop to 4-3 and now have a somewhat critical game against Dallas at home next Sunday to keep some positive momentum going. Perhaps the worst thing for Detroit is the way the loss happened. The Lions' defense finally pressured quarterback Andy Dalton to get the ball back late in the fourth, but the offense stalled with some questionable play calling. Rookie punter Sam Martin, who has been consistent for Detroit, shanked a punt to give Cincinnati a chance.
Stock watch: Rising -- cornerback Darius Slay and receiver Kris Durham. Slay will eventually be a starter. The rookie again entered the game in relief of a starter -- first to replace the benched Chris Houston and then staying in when Rashean Mathis left the game for the second straight week with a groin injury. Durham had his fourth straight game with at least three receptions. He has been big for the Lions since Nate Burleson’s forearm injury.
Falling -- Front-four pressure and Detroit’s pass coverage. Dalton was not sacked once and was barely rushed Sunday by the Lions’ front four in the first 58 minutes. When it mattered, though, the Lions got the pressure they needed as Ndamukong Suh sacked Dalton with less than two minutes left. The Lions' secondary struggled to find A.J. Green, who blew past Houston for one touchdown and could have had a second if not for a fingertip saving play by safety Glover Quin.
Record-setting Calvin: On what might be the play of the year for Detroit, Johnson caught a 50-yard touchdown pass in triple coverage to tie the game at 24. On the play, he went over 100 yards receiving in a game for the 35th time, setting a franchise record. Herman Moore, who was in the press box Sunday, had 34. Johnson also became the third Lions player in history to score 60 touchdowns, joining Moore and Barry Sanders.
What's next: Detroit has its second straight home game, this time against Dallas. Then the team will be off for its bye.