UncleMiltie is a Lions fan blogger for RoarReport.com. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of RoarReport.com or Scout.com... thankfully.
Just got back from the game. Watching in the cheap seats (well, at least as cheap as a $62 seat can be), you get a different feel for what is going on at the game. Here are my quick impressions based on what I saw without the benefit of TiVo...
First off, I feel cheated and lied to. We heard that CRog and BMW were going to be given "significant playing time" prior to the game. Here is the quick synopsis of their PT.
CRog - one series, open the 2nd half, 9 plays, 1 pass thrown to him, 3 yard hitch.
BMW - remaining series in the 2nd half, 21 plays, 0 passes thrown to him.
How in the heck can the staff call that "significant"? That was BS. In the stands by me, we were paying close attention to when either of them walked on the field. There were at least 2 more passes that should have gone toward CRog, but DanO wasn't looking his way. And BMW... sheesh. There were at least 6 plays that should have gone to him. What the HELL are they doing throwing 3 passes to Sean McHugh and 0 to BMW? When they throw a fade route to the end zone, WHY is it going to Glenn Martinez and not BMW? This made absolutely no sense whatsoever. And it's not like either guy wasn't open - they were. They were simply ignored.
If you say you are going to give them PT to evaluate them, at least run a few plays for them. One play in 30 to two former top-10 picks in the second half is ridiculous. If I'm Matt Millen, and I was told the guys I drafted were going to get a shot, and then this happened, I might be firing someone tonight. Just ridiculous.
Now that I have that off my chest, I can get back to the game. This was my first game I was able to attend from my new season ticket seats. Let's just say that the people around me have already figured out that they are going to have a new experience watching the game. The reason is that I'm a talker during the game. Not yelling at the coaches, but basically providing running color commentary during the game. I had an old guy next to me turn off his radio to listen to my commentary about what we were seeing, and three separate people commented and thanked me for keeping them entertained while we sat through that clunker of a game.
The first series of the game worried me. That was our starting D against their starting O out there, and the Bills marched down the field on us. Not good. We all were commenting "this is going to be a long season" after the opening drive. And then to follow that drive, we went 3-and-out. Highlight of the drive was rookie Jonathan Scott giving up a sack on his very first play at LT. Ouch. At this point, the people in the stands were expecting to be in for a very long night. It was silent in there. Then we held Buffalo to a 3-and-out of their own. Still no emotion, save the few cheers for the A-Train. Our second possession started before the first quarter ended, and we managed a first down to give us a grand total of +2 yards of O in the first quarter. Nice...
|Lions' receiver Eddie Drummond (left)
congratulated by teammate Shawn
Bryson after a touchdown reception.
But that drive kept going, mostly due to Eddie Drummond. It looks like Josh McCown really likes throwing to Eddie. And we barely made 3 first downs during that drive - by probably less than the length of a football on each of them. And then it gets stuck in the endzone to tie the score. Nice drive, a lot of longer passes, the kind of drive I hope to see a lot during the season.
And it was starting to get a little exciting in there.
Of course, Buffalo hits on a 24 yard pass on their first play after the TD to
cool things off. But then they get stuffed on the next three plays and we have
the ball back. After an uninspired short drive to follow the TD, Buffalo gets
the ball back and promptly goes up top to Josh Reed for a 35 yard gain. Nice,
just what we needed to completely silence the crowd again. But the D started to
hold again, finally stopping them at the 2 yard line to force a FG as time ran
out in the half. We end the half down 10-7, and the crowd is more than ready to
go find the bathrooms.
The second half I could barely watch due to the scrubs that were playing. But it started out looking like we were going to be in for a show. The Lions got the kickoff, and CRog took the field. There was an immediate buzz in the crowd as we were all anticipating this. On the second play, DanO throws a quick hitch to Chuck, and we're all expecting several more balls to go his way. This was finally going to be his chance to show what he can do. But then they stopped. He was open a few other plays in the 9 play drive, but nothing even came close to him. Instead, DanO is throwing dump-offs to Bryson and Calhoun, and his longer passes to Glenn Martinez and Shaun Ellis. This is not what we wanted to see, at all. And then the drive stalled, due mostly to a sack, and we didn't see CRog again. The next series, BMW came in, and we were fully expecting to see him running alongside CRog. Nope, not gonna happen. Instead, we get to see the Arlen Harris show and attempted passes to Sean McHugh - who by no fault of his own is quite possibly the worst TE in the history of football. I thought for sure he was a goner when Mooch got the axe, but somehow he survives. Maybe he's got something on Millen, but I digress...
In between those series, Buffalo had another short series, not really much happening for them. We get the Arlen Harris show series, then Buffalo gets the ball back near midfield. They make a few first downs, and kick a field goal. Not really exciting stuff there. We get the ball back, and proceed to see the Brian Calhoun show. Calhoun looks decent running the ball, and we all get excited when we see him bust one up the middle for a big gainer. But in the end, too many runs up the middle, and ANOTHER pass to McHugh that he can't get to. The official NFL sheet says it was overthrown, but shoulder height is a high throw for someone with T-Rex arms. But again, I digress...
Buffalo's next series is the shortest of the night, the second play being an interception. We still have no idea who Craig Nall was throwing that ball to as there was no one within 20 yards of it except Lions defenders. But we'll take a little charity, it's nice to receive every now and then. We start with 1st down at the Buffalo 18. Should be an easy 6. The first play we run a fade route to BM...err.. NO, IT'S GLENN MARTINEZ, and he can't even stay in bounds before the ball gets there. Then we run a pass up the middle to BM...err... NO, IT'S SEAN MCHUGH who promptly lets the ball go through his tragically short T-Rex arms. And then DanO gets sacked so we kick a FG. Needless to say, we are pretty ticked in the stands. Here we have a thoroughbred on the field who was born to make those kind of plays, and we completely ignore him for a couple of undrafted free agents who shouldn't even be on our practice squad. Nice. I'm ticked at this point.
So what does Buffalo do to make me nearly get up and leave? They come back and on their third play from scrimmage, they connect on a 70 yarder. Nice deep pass against completely blown coverage. I missed seeing who it was that let Andre Davis just walk on by them, but that was horrid coverage. Half the crowd got up and left after that play, for good reason. I was fuming mad at that point. Time for another beer.
Then the Lions do the improbable - they go on a long drive. This one highlighted by Calhoun, Harris and Martinez. No CRog, he hasn't seen the field since his one series. No BMW, he hasn't sniffed the ball, even though he's been on the field ever since CRog left it. And the drive stalls at the Buffalo 18, for another FG to make it 20-13. OK, so there's 3:06 left, we'll do an onside kick to try to get the ball back. Of course if they do score, they have to go for 2, because we DON'T WANT OT in the final pre-season game. Nope, no way. So what do we do? We kick it deep. Everyone left in the stands is standing there with their mouths open wide; words can not express how dumbfounded we all are. OK, so we're gonna try to hold them, use our TO's and the 2 minute warning, and get the ball back, right? Except that strategy doesn't work when the Bills gain 19 yards on their first play.
At this point, we get up and walk out.
I forgot to set the TiVo to record, so I won't have to relive that nightmare of a game again. In a strange way, I'm really thankful for that.
It was good seeing McCown throw the ball that well. 11 of 14 for 97 yards and a TD? Not too shabby. And with DanO's performance, I'm guessing McCown just took the 2nd string job. I was wondering if his performance in previous games was more related to the players around him than himself, and I think we have our answer. He looked better with the 2nd stringers than DanO previously did, and better with the third stringers in previous games than DanO did tonight.
Calhoun looked good too. He has a darting and shiftiness that vaguely has some similarities to old #20. He's no where in Barry's league, but there are some similarities in his running style.
|Lions' defensive lineman Claude Harriott
attempts to corral a Bills' running back.
Another player who stood out was Claude Harriott. Sorry if I don't mention much about the D, but there really wasn't much that was noticeable. Harriott was. He has been a disruptive force with Swancutt when he's been in there, and he definitely belongs on the team. He just seemed to always be near the QB and the ball. Very disruptive, and I liked seeing that.
That's all for tonight. Maybe I'll write some more tomorrow when I see what the jokers in the press have had to say. Should be interesting. Can't wait to hear Rod's explanation for why BMW and CRog were ignored...
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