The Lions first win of the season definitely deserves quite a bit of credit, especially against a team coming in undefeated. But who stepped up, and who still needs some work?
Well, the production was definitely up. But at the same time, take out one big play and the offense is left without a single touchdown. Joey Harrington is quickly proving why he was chosen over Quentin Jammer (even if the call was made by a car company CEO). On the other hand, the running game was terribly inefficient. Running back James Stewart (who looked extremely slow all day) would have had an average of about 2 yards per carry had it not been for the late long run that sealed the victory. Wide receiver Bill Schroeder finally made a contribution, then promptly got hurt. The red zone offense must improve.
The Defensive Line finally showed signs of life for maybe the first half. James Hall and Kalimba Edwards both made a couple of plays on the Quarterback, and even Robert Porcher got in on the action. Chris Claiborne only recorded 3 tackles, but made a key interception and seemed to be around the ball quite a bit. Barrett Green was also around the ball often. The secondary still didn't seem good, but they did hold Aaron Brooks under 300-yards passing and had an Interception (the other being by Claiborne). Chris Cash tallied 13 tackles, so he was either all over the field or allowed his man to catch way too many passes. I'd guess it's a little bit of both. But, the group only allowed 21 points and scored a touchdown, definite positives.
Besides a botched snap/hold on a Field Goal attempt, an excellent day. A big return by Desmond Howard, good coverage and 4 Field Goals by Jason Hanson make for a solid day from the group. However, had New Orleans held the offense at the end of the game, that extra Field Goal would have become much more important.
For the second time in 2 weeks, the Lions came out ready to play and got a lead. This time however, they were able to hold it. Credit definitely goes to the coaching staff for that one. The schemes were good, although the red zone offense still needs some work. With the win, it's safe to say Mornhinweg will make it through the season as Lions coach, unless the team falls back to its blowout losses.