Lions

Detroit Lions Strategy And Personnel 9-13-11

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Safety Louis Delmas #26 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Safety Louis Delmas #26 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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PLAYER NOTES

–FS Louis Delmas suffered a hip pointer on the last play of the game. He said on Monday that he was fine and didn’t expect to miss any time this week.

–RB Maurice Morris fumbled twice in his four carries (the Lions retained both). Morris missed all of the preseason with a broken right hand, but he didn’t blame the hand for the fumbles. “It’s just getting used to playing again,” he said, “getting back to the five points of pressure and getting used to guys around me attacking the ball.”

–WR Maurice Stovall (hand) took treatment on Monday. Coach Jim Schwartz said he didn’t think the injury was serious, but tests were still being taken.

–RB Keiland Williams was a somewhat surprising healthy scratch on Sunday. Explained coach Jim Schwartz, “The decision was we get to dress 46 and you can only have so many running backs and so many wide receivers.”

–QB Matthew Stafford’s 305-yard passing day was just the third by a Lions quarterback on opening day. The only other quarterback to do it was Bobby Layne and he did it twice, in 1951 and 1953. Stafford’s 265-yard first half was the third most since 1991.

–PK Jason Hanson’s nine points Sunday put him at 1,899 for his career. With his next point he will become the seventh player in NFL history to score 1,900.

REPORT CARD VS. BUCCANEERS

PASSING OFFENSE
B-plus — Against a Tampa defense that was geared to stopping the pass, QB Matthew Stafford completed 24 for 33 for 305 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn’t sacked or even hit the entire game. The Bucs played mostly Cover-2 defense and bracketed WR Calvin Johnson throughout the game, yet he still caught six passes for 88 yards and two scores. Eight different players caught passes.

RUSHING OFFENSE
C — Coach Jim Schwartz said it wasn’t great statistically (35 carries, 126 yards, 3.6) but it was effective. Jahvid Best had 72 yards in 21 carries, which is far from game-breaker status. When the Lions went to the run to kill the clock in the second half, they couldn’t move the chains. The offense came to a complete halt. Most of the yards were gained to the left side, running behind LG Rob Sims and LT Jeff Backus. There was no room to run on the right side.

PASS DEFENSE
B — There was steady pressure on QB Josh Freeman throughout the game. MLB Stephen Tulloch, assigned to spy on him, had two hits and a sack on him. DE Kyle Vanden Bosch had a sack and DT Ndamukong Suh hit him once. Freeman was 28 for 43 with most of the 257 yards coming in the last two desperate drives, when they were playing hurry-up against the Lions’ nickel and dime packages.

RUSH DEFENSE
B — What a difference a competent linebacker crew makes. The Bucs didn’t move the ball on the ground at all — 56 yards. RB LeGarrette Blount, who busted the Lions for 110 yards last season, had just 15 on five carries. Tulloch and OLBs Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy combined for 11 tackles. SS Amari Spievey had seven.

SPECIAL TEAMS C — The kickoff team yielded a 76-yard return to Sammie Stroughter that set up a field goal. After that, Schwartz had Jason Hanson kick the ball out of the end zone the rest of the game. The punt coverage was better. Rookie P Ryan Donahue had a net of 44.6 yards. Hanson, though, was perfect again, hitting field goals of 23 and 28 yards.

COACHING
B-plus — Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan made a brilliant call on a fourth-and-3 from the Bucs’ 36 in the second quarter. Taking advantage of CB Aqib Talib’s aggressiveness on Calvin Johnson, he called for a double move to the corner of the end zone. Talib bit just enough to allow Johnson free for a touchdown. The Bucs tormented the Lions with screens last year; this year they rendered the screen ineffective. Having Tulloch spy on the quarterback was effective, as well. Even using Johnson on the hands team helped secure an onside kick late in the game.

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