Lions vs Skins: Report Card

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just something from our friends at TSX ...


PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford didn't throw an interception, after throwing five in his first two NFL games. Still, he was aggressive, firing the ball downfield and finishing 21-for-36 for 241 yards. He threw a 21-yard touchdown to wide receiver Bryant Johnson, who caught four passes for 73 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Running back Kevin Smith rushed for 101 yards on 16 carries before leaving the game with a shoulder injury in the third quarter. Had Smith finished the game, he likely would have surpassed his career high of 112 yards as the Lions pounded the ball. Stafford's best play wasn't a pass but a 21-yard scramble on third-and-13 in the first quarter, when he ducked under Albert Haynesworth's right arm, cut past another defender and got the first down.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- Quarterback Jason Campbell went 27-for-41 for 340 yards and two touchdowns. But some of those yards came when the Lions were in a prevent defense late in the fourth quarter, and in classic fashion, the Redskins couldn't turn yards into points. Safety Ko Simpson also intercepted a pass on the first play after he replaced injured teammate Marquand Manuel.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus -- The Lions held running back Clinton Portis to 42 yards on 12 carries. Of the Redskins' 65 rushing yards, 21 came on a scramble by Campbell. One of the biggest plays of the game came at the end of the Redskins' first drive, when linebackers DeAndre Levy and Larry Foote stuffed Portis on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus -- Neither team did anything of note in the return game. Nick Harris had three punts downed inside the 20, with no touchbacks, and Jason Hanson kicked 39- and 26-yard field goals. Redskins coach Jim Zorn respected Hanson's range so much, he didn't decline a penalty that would have set up a 50-yard field goal attempt. He accepted it, setting up a third-and-13. Two plays later, the Lions took a 7-0 lead.

COACHING: A -- In an elevator at the team hotel the night before the game, coach Jim Schwartz told Stafford not to be conservative because he had thrown some interceptions. The next day, Stafford came out slinging and had success. And after the Lions snapped their 19-game losing streak, Schwartz sent the players back onto the field to thank the fans who were left. While he wants the Lions to get to a point where they aren't celebrating regular-season victories like this, he knew what breaking the streak meant to the team and the town.