Week one. The beginning of a new season. A new dawn. A new hope, like Star Wars. The Lions ended last year's disappointing campaign with eight straight wins, but this is a new year, and Detroit had to chance to get things off on the right foot. They were hosting the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field to begin the season. Could they earn the win, keeping the good vibrations flowing. Or would they suffer the home loss to end the year?
Things could have started off a bit better for the Lions. They drove the ball down the field on their first drive, but when the time came to kick a field goal, new holder Sam Martin bobbled the ball, and the Lions came away with zero points. Then, on the very next play, Adrian Peterson ran 78 yards for a touchdown. Detroit was down quick. On their next drive, it looked like Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson had connected for the touchdown, but then the call was reversed because of the Calvin Johnson Rule. You remember that one, don't you? I assume you do, because your eyes are bleeding. Instead, Detroit settled for a David Akers field goal.
Early in the second, Akers added another field goal to make it a one point game, and then the Lions picked off Christian Ponder. Of course, the Lions returned that favor with a Stafford pick, albeit on a tipped ball, and then Peterson found the end zone again. Late in the second, Joique Bell scored from two yards out, and it was a 14-13 Minnesota lead at halftime. The Lions were very much in the game.
In the third, it looked like Reggie Bush had a rush touchdown, but the call was reversed. However, Bell then scored again to give the Lions the lead. The Vikings got a field goal, but then a dump off pass from Stafford to Bush was turned into a 77-yard touchdown by Bush. Good times! The Lions had a 27-17 lead, but that was quickly cut down by a Ponder-to-Peterson touchdown pass. Adrian Peterson is very good.
The Lions forced a Ponder fumble in the fourth, and Nick Fairley recovered it. This looked like it led to a Bush touchdown, but once again it was overturned. However, this did not deter the Lions, as Stafford and rookie Joseph Fauria connected for a 1-yard touchdown to make it 34-24. That is how the game would end, with Detroit earning the win over their divisional rival in week one.
Well, early on this was a concerning game for Lions fans, but in the end they won pretty soundly. They got good play on both sides of the ball. The offense netted 469 yards. Stafford threw for 357 yards on 28-for-43 passing with his two touchdowns and that deflected pick, although that one long TD was mostly Bush. Also, it is worth noting the Lions only gave up one sack. Bush led the team in receiving with four catches for 101 yards. He also rushed 21 times for 90 yards. In the preseason, Bush struggled, but he was more than fine here. I still don't think the signing was necessary, but that doesn't mean he can't generate value. He has big play ability, much like Bell, my hero, who scored twice rushing and had 67 yards receiving.
Johnson, after losing that touchdown, only managed 37 yards on four catches. Burleson had six catches for 78 yards. Mikel Leshoure and Ryan Broyles were both inactive, which is interesting, although I presume Broyles will play once fully healthy. Brandon Pettigrew fumbled, and I would not be surprised to see him lose playing time to Fauria if he keeps this up.
On defense, the Lions gave up big games to Peterson and Jerome Simpson. However, aside from that big run to start the game, Detroit kept AD more or less in check. He only gained 93 yards on 18 carries in total. You take away that 78-yard run, and that's nothing. The Lions picked off Ponder three times, in addition to that fumble recovery. To be fair, Ponder is awful, so this isn't that surprising, but kudos to the Lions to getting things done. They also managed three sacks, with Ziggy Ansah picking up half a sack in his first game. Fairley had 1.5, and Stephen Tulloch had one to go with an interception.
This is a nice start for the Lions. They have won, and they beat a team they are, potentially, fighting for a playoff spot with. Detroit and Minnesota are thought of as being in a similar grouping of teams, at least for now, and the Lions beat them without having the game go down to the wire. They had good games on both sides of the ball. Stafford played well, Bush ran well, and they did all this without getting anything from Johnson really. It is only one game, but for a season opener, there is a lot to be happy about for Detroit.