For the umpteenth time, the Detroit Lions refused to pass the football at the end of a first half, and some could argue it finally cost the team dearest against the Cincinnati Bengals. This needs to change soon, lest it keeps burning the Lions and becoming a bigger topic.
With time outs in hand and a chance to quell obvious Bengals momentum following a touchdown and a blocked David Akers field goal, the Lions ran the ball twice for a grand total of nine yards and the first half ended unceremoniously, with plenty of boos raining down from an unhappy Ford Field crowd.
Jim Schwartz, as he had done before, explained his careful line of thinking on Monday. "They (the Bengals) had two time outs there also," Schwartz said, regarding the passive approach. "If we throw incomplete passes there, we're giving them the ball back. If we crease them on a run, we can certainly get into two minute mode."
Yet, at the same time, Schwartz appeared to contradict himself. Earlier in the press conference, Schwartz was asked why he refuses to defer to the second half and puts his offense on the field immediately. "Because we have Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson," Schwartz blankly stated, almost offended at the line of questioning. "We have confidence in those guys."
So why, knowing that he has Stafford and Johnson and is fully confident in their abilities, doesn't the coach roll the dice a bit more in the two minute drill? It's frustrating to watch week in and week out, considering the offense the Lions have. Schwartz defended his decision by saying he erred on the side of caution considering the Lions had been aggressive and given up a late field goal to Cleveland. Detroit had already seen momentum go against them this past week against the Bengals, so it's not as if being extremely careful helped.
That's where it's up to Schwartz to understand the situation and the importance any type of score might have. Perhaps with Stafford, Johnson and Reggie Bush, the Lions throw the ball Johnson's way and get a Hail Mary touchdown like they did in the second half. Maybe they fall short of a touchdown, but still get into field goal range and provide Akers a shot at redemption. Perhaps Akers makes that field goal and the Lions only trail by one at half. Suddenly, Mike Nugent is only kicking to tie the game in the fourth quarter instead of trying to secure a win.
Though Schwartz would likely dismiss such circumstances as mere hindsight speculation, momentum and game management often do cross paths. The Lions' staff has to do a much better job understanding the circumstances at the end of the half. If Detroit is down, Schwartz should probably put the offense in motion and try to make something happen, especially if his defense is taking the field to open the second half. What did the Lions do with all their safety? Gave up a touchdown immediately to start the third quarter.
It's time for the Lions, with a jump ball talent like Johnson, a rifle armed quarterback like Stafford and a speedy underneath option like Bush to start putting some points on the board at the end of halves. There's no reason to be passive or safe when momentum and victories are at stake.
Before that happens, though, Schwartz will have to change his line of coaching and his line of thinking late in the second quarter.
You need to satisfy your competitive drive, so why not beat our experts in fantasy football. At FightClub, our official Fantasy Football partner, you can change you team weekly and win cash. Get a free $5 credit when you sign up and try them out. And each week, Sports Media 101 will sweeten the pot and award the player with top points an extra $25. Match-up and show them how good you are. Can you handle FightClub?
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Detroit Lions Scorecard: Breaking Down the Play of the Offense Against the Cincinnati Bengals
- Jim Schwartz Monday Press Conference Recap, Week 5: Execution Cost Detroit Lions’ Offense
- The Top 10 Detroit Lions’ Turning Points in 2012, Number 9: Bad Offense, Short Kick Help Minnesota
- With Confidence and Time, Kris Durham Can Become Difference Maker for Detroit Lions’ Offense
- Detroit Lions Scorecard: Breaking Down the Offense Against the Green Bay Packers
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/12ub