Bye Week Scouting: Detriot Lions

In Part 1 of this look around the NFC North, Bear Report checks in on the rival Lions as they take on the New York Jets at the Meadowlands on Sunday. The Bears completely dismantled Detroit at home 34-7 back in Week 2, but they will have to travel to the Motor City for a rematch in Week 16. Let's see if Roy Williams made any more guarantees in New Jersey.

After a miserable 0-5 start to the 2006 season, the Lions finally put one in the win column last week with a 20-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

New offensive coordinator Mike Martz has not made much of a difference on the scoreboard, as Detroit came into Sunday's matchup with the New York Jets averaging just 18 points per game. The passing game has taken a step in the right direction, with veteran quarterback Jon Kitna throwing the ball around to the tune of 245.2 yards per game. However, talented tailback Kevin Jones and the rushing attack have only managed 72.2 yards per game on the ground.

The Bears blew out the Lions 34-7 in Week 2 in the home-opener, as Rex Grossman threw a career-high four touchdown passes and was voted the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week. Wide Receiver Roy Williams actually guaranteed a victory at Soldier Field in the days leading up to the game. But despite his claim that his offense left 40 points on the field in Week 1 against Seattle - they lost that game 9-6 - the Lions were limited to just 245 total yards against the Bears and lost three fumbles.

Detroit traveled to the Garden State to take on the 3-3 Jets at the Meadowlands in Week 7.

Oft-injured quarterback Chad Pennington is enjoying a solid season after fighting hard to keep his starting job during training camp. Receivers Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery have formed a nice one-two punch in the passing game, and rookie tailback Leon Washington is starting to emerage as the go-to guy in the backfield. New York's problems have largely been on defense, surrendering 24.8 points per game and allowing a jaw-dropping 145.2 yards rushing per game.

The Jets raced out to a 14-0 first quarter lead on Sunday and managed to hold on for a 31-24 victory at Giants Stadium.

Kitna had a nice day in the air, completing 22 of 36 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns, although he was intercepted twice and sacked once. Receiver Mike Furrey continues his breakout season, catching nine balls for 109 yards and a score. Williams also found his way into the end zone, but he was limited to two receptions for 29 yards. Jones averaged almost six yards per carry on his way to 86 yards, but he was limited to just 15 attempts as the Lions were playing from behind all day long. Rookie linebacker Ernie Sims was the standout on defense, pacing the team with 10 tackles on the afternoon.

For the Jets, Pennington was a very efficient 16-of-22 for 189 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Washington put together his best day as a pro, rushing 20 times for 129 yards and scoring the first two touchdowns of his NFL career. He was complemented nicely by fellow running back Kevan Barlow, who ran for 49 yards on 12 attempts and a score of his own. Coles had a quiet day with four catches for 29 yards, but Cotchery led the team with seven receptions and 79 yards. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma recorded 11 tackles and also picked off a Kitna pass.

The loss dropped the Lions to 1-6 and put them at the bottom of the NFC North. Although Martz's offense seems to making strides as the season progresses, the defense is in shambles right now. Losing stud defensive tackle Shaun Rogers for four games after a violation of the league's substance abuse policty certainly won't help matters for first-year head coach Rod Marinelli.


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