You can bet that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham had Sunday's game against Kansas City circled in blood the minute the schedule was released.
That said, head coach Jim Schwartz is going to do his level best not to turn this into a "Win one for the Gunther" week.
"Do you think that stuff means anything to Matt Stafford or Calvin Johnson or Ndamukong Suh?" coach Jim Schwartz said on Monday. "We have a 60-minute game to play and to put anything else on it would be foolish."
Maybe so, but not only did Cunningham spend 11 seasons with the Chiefs, including two seasons as their head coach, but, more pertinently, the Chiefs accused him (technically the Lions, but he was named) of tampering with former Chiefs' safety Jarrod Page before last season. That charge cost the Lions 19 spots in the fifth round of the 2010 draft (they swapped with the Chiefs) and a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft.
"I am sure there will be some extra (motivation) for him this week," defensive end Cliff Avril said. "And I am pretty sure it will be for us, too. He'll be real intense and definitely want to get after them. We are going to be on point all week with our game plan and stuff."
Cunningham won't address the media until Friday, which is how the team structures interviews with coordinators. And Schwartz wasn't taking the bait.
"Nobody is going to go out and win one for the Gipper," he said. "All that stuff with Kansas City is water under the bridge."
Water under the bridge? Maybe it is for the players and the organization, but probably not so much for Cunningham.
"We haven't talked about Kansas City yet, but I am sure he will get into it," defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "Gun uses (bulletin board motivation) a lot. He gets here early before anyone else and the first thing he does is pull up the newspapers. He tries to find any motivation he can."
- All right guard Rob Sims wanted to do was maybe make a tackle. He ended up saving the Lions' game-winning drive. Early in the third quarter, with the Lions marching, RB Maurice Morris had the ball chopped out of his hand by Bucs CB Ronde Barber. LB Dekoda Watson, instead of catching it and going out of bounds, batted it back and Sims caught it. "He kind of flipped it up in the air," Sims said. "All that basketball in high school finally paid off." When asked why he didn't try to run with it, Sims said, "Nah, I was done. Too tired. I caught one in a preseason game a few years ago and ran it 16 yards. I have all these moves in my head but they never panned out. This time I just got down." Sims had a strong game. He was matched against Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and limited him to two tackles and no hits on quarterback Matthew Stafford.
- What in the world was wide receiver Calvin Johnson doing back on the goal line in the Lions' prevent defense on the final play of the game Sunday? Turns out, they actually practice that. "We put him back there because we were expecting a jump ball," Schwartz said. "They decided to throw short and then lateral the ball around." Johnson was almost put in a position of having to make a game-saving tackle. "Calvin was making sure he was shooing the chickens," Schwartz joked. "He wasn't like Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey who were going hard after it. No, he was making sure it wasn't going to break no the back end. Calvin could probably be a pretty good defensive end if we got him rolling. He would have pretty good range as an outside linebacker and he might revolutionize the safety position if we put him back there. Other than offensive line and defensive tackle, he can probably do just about anything else."
- QB Matthew Stafford did something Sunday that only Bobby Layne had done in Lions history; he threw for more than 300 yards. More impressive, against a defense that was set up to stop the pass, Stafford gained 9.2 yards per completion. He had a 118.9 rating. The Lions were also the only NFL team on Sunday to not give up a sack.
- RB Jahvid Best did not have a great day. He had 72 yards in a career high 21 carries. And again, that was against a team that was dropping eight into coverage most of the game. He had a hard time getting to the edge against the Cover-2 defense. He didn't look very explosive on the chew up grass at Tampa.
- TE Brandon Pettigrew had four catches for 57 yards, but he was kicking himself for dropping a sure touchdown pass in the second quarter. Pettigrew has fought drops throughout his first three seasons. In his defense, this one was tipped slightly.
- TE Tony Scheffler is essentially the third wide receiver in the Lions' one-back sets. Technically, rookie Titus Young is, but Scheffler is getting all the work in that role. His one catch Sunday was an 11-yard touchdown.
- WR Calvin Johnson didn't do much on Sunday -- just six catches, 88 yards, two touchdowns, secured an onside kick and was on the field in the team's prevent defense on the last play of the game. As coach Jim Schwartz said, "Other than offensive and defensive tackle, he could play anywhere."
- WR Nate Burleson was having a huge day until leg cramps bit him. He had five catches for 60 yards and gained 20 yards on a reverse. He was getting the best of his matchup with CB Ronde Barber, but he had to miss most of the second half with leg cramps.
- DE Kyle Vanden Bosch had three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble on Sunday in what was for him, limited action. Coming off neck surgery and approaching his 34th birthday, the Lions are being cautious with him. He will not practice on Wednesdays during the week and he took less than half of the defensive snaps Sunday. Part of that could have been the oppressive heat in Tampa, but the goal is to get a full season out him.
- CB Aaron Berry had a rough day. He played corner in the nickel packages (with starting RCB Eric Wright moving into the slot) and wound up getting beat on two long third-down plays, plus, he was beaten by WR Mike Williams for a 5-yard touchdown on fourth-and-3.
- CB Alphonso Smith, who missed all of camp with a broken foot, is expected to be active next week. In all probability, Smith will play right corner in the nickel, with Wright staying in the slot.
- SS Amari Spievey continues to be a big part of the Lions' run defense. He had a team-high seven solo tackles. The jury is still out on his coverage skills, especially in the deep zones, but he is an attacking force in the box.
- FS Louis Delmas suffered a hip pointer on the last play of the game. He said on Monday that he was fine and didn't expect to miss any time this week.
- WR Maurice Stovall (hand) took treatment on Monday. Coach Jim Schwartz said he didn't think the injury was serious, but tests were still being taken.
- RB Keiland Williams was a somewhat surprising healthy scratch on Sunday. Explained coach Jim Schwartz, "The decision was we get to dress 46 and you can only have so many running backs and so many wide receivers."
- PK Jason Hanson's nine points Sunday put him at 1,899 for his career. With his next point he will become the seventh player in NFL history to score 1,900.
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