Sunday was a big opportunity for the Detroit Lions. They had a home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, with the chance to go 5-2. However, this was a tough opponent, so the Lions would have to be on top of their game. Fortunately, the team was healthy, particularly Calvin Johnson, which only helped Detroit's chances. Could the Lions pull off the win over the Bengals? Or would they suffer a loss at home?
Things didn't start off well for the Lions, as they allowed Andy Dalton to hit A.J. Green for an 82-yard touchdown. In the preview of this game, I said the Lions would have to keep Green in check. That went out the window early in the first quarter. At least the Lions managed to tie the game before the first ended, with Matthew Stafford connecting with Brandon Pettigrew for a 3-yard score.
In the second, David Akers hit a field goal to take the lead, and late in the half it looked like they would get another field goal to make it 13-7 at the half. Alas, the kick was blocked, and the Bengals got the ball. They then managed to turn that into a touchdown, with Dalton and Marvin Jones combining for the score to take the lead. That was quite the swing. Not a swing of momentum, however. Let it not be said that I contributed to the ridiculous misuse of the word "momentum" plaguing sports these days.
The second half started off much like the first, with Dalton throwing a 32-yard touchdown to Tyler Eifert. The Lions rebounded with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Johnson. Welcome back to relevance, Megatron! The Bengals added a field goal to make it 24-17 after three quarters.
In the fourth, Stafford and Johnson connected once more, this time for 50 yards. It was a tie game. The game stayed tied at 24 for a while. The Lions had the ball late, but they couldn't push it down the field. So, they were going to punt, and the game was probably headed to overtime. Instead, Sam Martin's punt only went 28 yards, giving the Bengals the ball at around midfield. A couple of passes later, and Cincy was in field goal range. Mike Nugent was able to hit a 54-yarder, and there would be no overtime. Instead, the Lions lost 27-24.
Well, that's a bummer. It was a tough game against a tough team, and the Lions almost pulled out the win. Instead, thanks, in part, to a couple of special teams miscues, Detroit took the loss to fall to 4-3. Not a bad loss by any means, but no loss is good.
Neither team had a turnover. There was only one sack, and it came from Ndamukong Suh. This is despite the fact that Riley Reiff had to leave the game with an injury. Detroit's offensive line has been impressive this year, at least in pass protection. The Lions did not run the ball well in this game, as Reggie Bush only had 50 yards on 20 carries, and Joique Bell couldn't do much either. The team did pass the ball well, however. Stafford went 28-for-51 for 357 yards. Johnson had a huge game, catching nine passes for 155 yards and two scores. Bush and Bell did both contribute in the passing game, at least.
On the flipside, while the Bengals didn't run the ball well either, Dalton was able to have an even bigger game than Stafford did, despite the fact he isn't, you know, a good quarterback. Dalton threw for 372 yards on 24-for-34 passing. Green had six catches for 155 yards of his own. So, you know, neither defense is going to cherish this game.
So yes, the Lions lost, but if they can beat Dallas at home next week, they will be 5-3 headed into their bye week and the second half of their season. That would be pretty alright. Hopefully the Lions can avoid special teams errors going forward.