Home > Game Tape, NFL > Tale of the Tape: NFL Week 6 — Lions at Giants

Tale of the Tape: NFL Week 6 — Lions at Giants

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A LiveBall Sports Game Tape Review.

  • The first thing that stuck out about this game was that between the Fox Broadcast and the new stadium and the Lions as an opponent, there was absolutely no atmosphere at this game.  Hardly any crowd noise whatsoever.  And the Yankees had a travel day.
  • The Lions defensive line is every bit as good as they wanted it to be.  The rest of the defensive unit leaves a lot to be desired.
  • We’ve talked about how long until Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy, and Eric Berry will be stars in the NFL.  Ndamukong Suh is already a star, and as soon as Detroit starts stringing wins together, he’s going to be the front runner for defensive rookie of the year.
  • Early in this game, the Lions weren’t able to generate big plays, but they were able to stay on pace and get in 3rd and very short situations, which they converted.  No early penalties (this trend would eventually come back to bite the Lions).
  • Jahvid Best is both productive in short areas and explosive in the open field, though a turf toe injury has sapped his explosiveness.  He is the best weapon on the Lions.
  • Which is why that between Best and Tony Scheffler, the player on the Lions with the second most targets is TE Brandon Pettigrew.  The Lions are a very tight end centric offense.
  • The Lions first drive was a clinic on how to score on an elite defense.  They benefited from a special teams gaffe that handed them excellent field position, then they went 3/3 on third and 1 plays, including a TD pass to Nate Burleson.
  • The Giants offensive line has really, really struggled since C Shaun O’Hara’s injury.  Frankly, the OL of the Giants didn’t get enough credit in 2008 and 2009 when Manning was setting personal best records.  Without an elite unit in front of him, Manning is mistake-prone, but still able to go on streaks of precise downfield passing that carves up defenses.  That happened in this game.
  • There was zero flow to the Giants offense in this game, though they were able to string together enough plays to win.  The Lions helped with enough penalties to ensure defeat.
  • The Giants were able to attack the Lions defensive weaknesses when they went with max protection.  Steve Smith is the most reliable of the Giants receivers.  It’s a strictly downfield attack.  There’s no west coast elements in this offense, it’s a hybrid Gibbs-style power/singleback and a Don Coryell downfield striking offense.
  • Running lanes for the Giants are dependent on the relative successes in the passing game.  This was not the case two years ago with the Giants OL at the height of it’s power.
  • Alphonso Smith with an inexcusable offside penalty on a corner fire concept for the Lions.  If you’re trying to disguise your rush intentions and  a DB gets called for being offside, well, you’ve failed.
  • Penalties really killed the Lions in this game.  One thing the Giants are without fail under Tom Coughlin is highly disciplined.
  • After near perfection on the first drive, the Lions offense really tried to get cute and catch a disciplined Giants defense with misdirection tactics in terms of bootlegs and jet sweeps.  None of it worked.  Perry Fewell has a well coached unit that isn’t susceptible to simple elements of trickery.
  • Giants max protect was an adjustment in response to the dominance of the DL of the Lions.  Forces the Lions to rely on their pass coverage units, which just aren’t very good.  And max protect still didn’t keep Manning all that clean.
  • Lions RB depth: first time on a zone run that I was dumbfounded enough to ask “why did Best hesitate on that run instead of hitting the hole?”, I quickly found out that it was Kevin Smith’s first carry of the day.
  • Shaun Hill being victimized by dropped passes in the first half.  Not quite as bad as being sidelined with a broken forearm in the second.
  • First Calvin Johnson catch on 3rd and 11 was a great diagnosis of the coverage by Hill (cover two), and a poor job covering his zone by nickel corner Aaron Ross.
  • Jahvid Best still has work to do as a blocker.  A really poor effort on Deon Grant led to a failed conversion on 3rd and 3 in the second quarter.  Fewell is judicious with his blitzes and when he uses them, they are to exploit and test like this one.  Not to pressure for the sake of pressure.
  • I thought CC Brown really came to play in New York today, which is hilarious for reasons that Giants fans can sympathize with.
  • The timing passing game out of the shotgun was something the Lions had no defense for.  Admittedly, that’s not the easiest element of the passing game to execute.  The Giants did well at it.
  • Lions corner Chris Houston is an awful tackler.  The Lions have to make concessions to get acceptable cover players obviously, and the Giants were right to run in some passing situations.
  • The Lions defense is very good at tackling as a whole, which along with the ability on their defensive line, is the biggest difference from last year.
  • The Giants are really good at running out of the shotgun.  I saw no specific flaw in how the Lions defended these gun-runs, just that the Giants have a complete singleback playbook that they can run out of that formation because they are good at it.
  • Eli Manning’s first half TD pass to Manningham was signature Giants offense.  They caught the Lions in a bad blitz principle and won decisively the battle at the line of scrimmage with the gap-conscious rush scheme that played away from the strength of the Lions.  Manning had straight man coverage across the board, with Manningham on nickel corner Jonathon Wade.  That’s just pitch and catch unless Manning gets pressure in his face.
  • More Lions RB depth: on Kevin Smith’s second carry, he was ruled down by contact.  It looked as if he might have fumbled before being down.
  • I think the weakness on the NY defense is FS Antrell Rolle.  He’s tough to find in the defensive schemes, admittedly, but teams need to take some shots and double move him.
  • The Lions are also quite good at running out of the shotgun.
  • Rookie DT Linval Joseph is massive for a guy as quick as he is.  He fits the Giants defensive philosophy perfectly: bigger, faster, stronger.
  • Good work by Drew Stanton completing two straight passes without the benefit of a timeout to get the Lions back into field goal range after he took an intentional grounding penalty.
  • What I’ll say about Drew Stanton’s performance in this game: better than anyone could have expected, but when he came in the quantity of offensive mistakes made by the Lions went through the roof.
  • Good call by Jim Schwartz to QB sneak in 4th and inches from just shy of midfield.
  • The illegal formation call that wiped out a 27 yard Nate Burleson reception was either called on LT Jeff Backus for being off the line of scrimmage, or was a bad call.  The Lions formation otherwise was legal.
  • Stanton was stripped and it was recovered by Justin Tuck.  Stanton was just unaware of the pass rush on his back shoulder.
  • I did not think Lions LBs Ashlee Palmer and Julian Peterson played well enough in this game.
  • The Lions goal line defense is very impressive.  They stopped the Giants on five straight plays before the Giants finally got in.  It was a Cliff Avril unsportsmanlike penalty that extended the drive.
  • The Lions use rookie CB Amari Spievey’s size as part of their excellent goal line defense package.  He’s otherwise their fourth corner.  CB Alphonso Smith was a waiver pickup from the Broncos after Denver traded a 1st round pick to draft him just last year.  He is Detroit’s best corner, and an excellent example of why Denver hasn’t benefited in the wins column from the otherwise shrewd trades of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.
  • The Lions don’t get any push in the interior running game and it’s been the strength and quality of defenses faced that has prevented them from getting on the edge with the rushing attack.
  • Calvin Johnson’s 87 yard TD was a four verticals concept into standard cover two by the Lions.  Johnson had a step on Terrell Thomas.  Antrel Rolle made a horrible coverage play on the football, allowing Johnson to catch the ball and outrace Thomas to the end zone.  The cardinal sin by a safety who is a major liability in coverage.
  • Kenny Phillips broke up a deep pass for Calvin Johnson that hung up a bit on Stanton.  Still, Johnson is a fourth year receiver and that’s the kind of catch that Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and really even Hakeem Nicks always catch.
  • The decision by Scott Linehan to not pick on Antrel Rolle after Johnson’s TD is a big missed opportunity that looms large now as the Lions have fallen to 1-5.
  1. October 22, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Does Calvin Johnson look like a top 3 receiver even with 1 working shoulder?

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