The early theme in the Detroit Lions season is making plays to win games.
During a three-game losing streak, the Lions left a lot of opportunities on the field but against the Philadelphia Eagles they were able to do enough to leave with a win.
Here's a look at the good, bad and ugly from the contest.
The Good – The Defense
This wasn't a hallmark game for the Lions defense but the unit was not only consistent, it came up big when it needed to.
The Lions allowed 357 yards, which is about 30 yards less than the Eagles were averaging heading into this game, and made plays to help the offense out.
In addition to generating three turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble – the defense also forced a three and out with about two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter as the Eagles were protecting a three-point lead. If the Eagles were able to covert a first down on that drive, the odds of a comeback would have be slashed since the Lions only had two timeouts.
To start off overtime, the defense came through after the Lions lost the coin toss, sacking Eagles quarterback Michael Vick twice and forcing the Eagles to punt from within their own end zone. The return of Louis Delmas should be highlighted here, as the Lions safety and defensive leader contributed seven tackles, two tackles for loss, an interception and a pass defense.
The Bad – Early Offensive Struggles
The Lions offense made plays down the stretch when the game was on the line but struggled for much of the tilt.
They had registered only 151 yards in the first half and scored only six points.
The Lions punted or turned the ball over (one interception) on seven of their first nine drives and had seven drives that took four plays or less.
The early ineffectiveness didn't prove costly in this game but it is not a recipe for consistent success and can't continue if the Lions hope to make the playoffs.
The Ugly – The Penalties
The Lions registered a NFL-season-high 16 penalties in this contest, a benchmark they surely are not pleased with.
The 132 yards they relinquished due to infractions was more than they allowed to the Eagles running game, in fact, it almost doubled the 71 yards Philadelphia rushed for.
False starts, offsides and personal fouls all plagued the Lions and continue to be an issue with this group.
It's easier to dismiss the penalties after a victory but when you consider the fact that the Lions were the first team to win with at least 16 penalties in a game since 2005, it becomes clear that these issues need to be cleaned up.