A sub rosa drama between the star quarterback and the head coach, and maybe the franchise.
Five penalties isn't exactly a clean game, epsecially when one is a blow to the QB's head.
A secondary that's abiding by Roger Goodell's player safety crusade, by not tackling a single soul.
And even a process a of the Calvin catch play!
And none is that is to describe the Lion's yesterday.
Detroit was not without its own problems - 8 more penalties, a QB that should've been more like 32 for 42, rather than just 25 - but for the most part the Lions stayed out of their own way and now own a winning streak in Washington for the first time since the last great dire financial times.
It wasn't Bush or Bust as I wrote last week.
There was obviously no Bush, but I would be foolish to believe the Lions hadn't been preparing for such a scenario since their Washington prep began last Sunday night.
Did they do anything special to counter the absence of Bush (and overhead video/pics, First Down from McCosky)? The Lions gave themselves options, and those options gave Washington something extra to consider at the LOS. Ryan Broyles (17 plays) adeptly manned the slot role the Lions brought him for, for the first time since December. Speaking of the slot, it was Calvin's home away from home many plays throughout of the game. When Bush is out, that's the one mismatch the Lions SHOULD be able to create with ease. Remember, Patrick Edwards was inactive due to injury as well, so the sizable and sometimes-reliable-Kris Durham played in half the offensive snaps. Tony Scheffler's decaying body was exhumed for offensive purposes, if for no other reason than his cold, cryptic body is more optimal than Brandon Pettigrew's handsless body.
It was just 15 plays, and he only gained 6 yards of total offense, but I like that the Lions employed 6th round pick Theo Riddick at various spots in formations. Often unabashedly split wide or in a slot. Riddick, who (I just noticed this here) is actually listed as a WR from Notre Dame, caught 84 passes through his junior year, then switched to running back full time as a senior, and still brought in another 36 receptions. I'm betting that Riddick makes some very positive contributions before the season ends because of his versatility. Perhaps in a very, very, very light Bush/Broyles combo-role. Oh, and Joseph Fauria is in line for one of those statistically anomalous 21 catch, 9 TD (9 bad dances) years.
None of this is reinventing offense, but the Lions deserve credit for sagaciously making use of available personnel against Washington. Then again, when you have a week to gameplan, it SHOULD be that prepared. No one should be surprised Bush didn't play yesterday.
Oh, and if all that fails, at least Washington's defensive strategy of 'don't tackle anyone' was successful, for the Lions. Washington is 36 yards from allowing 500 per game. And even though the Lions didn't crack 30, Washington is still allowing 32.7 per game. Jim Haslett spent too much time studying Oregon's offense in the offseason.
It wasn't quite Bush and Bell and lots of confusing motion (for the defense) as I'll expect upon Bush's recovery, but it worked out for a win yesterday.
Calvin is always open. The end.
Another wise personnel move I didn't mention above. Mikel Leshoure was active, but didn't play. In fact, the Colts wanted him before Richardson. Unless Indy was trying to buy extremely low (ehhhhh 5th round in 2015!?), it seems the Lions are trying to make an NFL man out of Leshoure. Even after rupturing his achilles, then a pot arrest and suspension, he fell into the starting role last year, two games. The lesson here seems to be, everything in the NFL must be earned. If this is indeed the Lion's stratagem, then well done (h/t to Kreger on this).
RG3, as in 3 mph compared to last year's frenzied success. Those looney fans clamoring for Kirk Cousins after Week 2 aren't so looney now that I've seen Griffin twice. That team doesn't have scary enough playmakers to win games while Griffin slowly continues his recovery. My buddy's got it right.
Shanahan should sit RGIII but he won't because RGIII's ego couldn't handle it and it would cost Shanahan his job. And he knows it.— Brian Grayson (@djslybri) September 23, 2013
To repeat Trent Richardson 3rd overall pick, Alfred Morris 173rd.
Michael Leshoure and Robert Griffin Junior (twice), thanks Dick Stockton.
I wrote last December how the Lions, unlike seemingly every other franchise, lack a late(r) round or undrafted gem playing a key role for the team. Detroit FINALLY has that, in Joique Bell.
We really can't appreciate the emerging impact of Joique Bell without John Madden offering his thoughts on the Wayne State product. Boom, he's on his back? Rumbling, stumbling?! Bell is 15 years too late to have been analyzed properly.