Lions come back to beat Seahawks
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency
|Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. REUTERS FILE/Jeff Haynes
DETROIT - Now that looked a little more like the Detroit Lions that terrorized virtually every National Football League defence last year.
The Lions still aren't completely back to where they were in 2011 but, for now, they'll be perfectly happy keeping their season alive.
That's just what they did Sunday, coming back from being down 10 points in the first half and four points late in the game to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in a must-win game.
It's amazing how much pressure comes off with a win.
"I was just out there having fun, man," said Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford. "That's what it's all about in NFL football, the fourth quarter is the fun. All the guys on our team, they know it, they love it."
Even though everyone is used to the Lions having to come from behind to win in some sort of exciting fashion, this one was different.
It wasn't different in the buildup to the denouement. The Lions still did a number of things any one of which could have been their undoing.
They took too many unnecessary penalties, didn't make enough big plays on defence and still stuttered a little offensively.
When the end came, though, it wasn't the usual script one usually sees the Lions using in the last few seconds of a game.
Normally you hear, "Stafford back, looks for Johnson in the end zone . . . touchdown," especially when the season is on the line. Calvin Johnson is, or has been in the past, the Lions go-to guy.
Not this time.
Stafford instead found receiver Titus Young with a one-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in the game, giving the Lions the win.
"It was big," Stafford said of Young stepping up. "Not only him but it's going to be a group effort all year. We need every body. Calvin gets a lot of attention out there and it's tough to get the ball to him."
It's difficult to believe that Stafford and Johnson have not hooked up for a touchdown pass this year. It's been that kind of disjointed season for the Lions.
Seconds before Stafford's winning toss, he found Johnson deep in the end zone with a nice 12-yard pass. But Johnson dropped it.
It was a troublesome picture for the Lions.
At 2-4, the Lions went into the game needing a win to maintain a realistic chance to catching a playoff spot. A win over a Seattle team that has surprised some people would give them a springboard into a game next weekend against a not-very-good Jacksonville Jaguars team.
Even though Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a good day, the Lions exerted enough pressure so he wasn't always comfortable. Defensive line pressure is a key if the Lions want to be successful.
"We just knew we had to get him out of the pocket some," said Lions defensive end Corey Williams. "We couldn't let him sit there and pick us apart."
Seahawks' running back Marshawn Lynch rambled 77 yards for a touchdown but, for the most part, the Lions beat him up.
Offensively, Statfford showed up. He threw the ball 49 times, completing 34 for 352 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for one.
You could see whatever has been shackling the Lions' offence all year slowly drop off.
"Restore the Roar" appears to be the rallying cry at Ford Field for Lions fans.
It's not quite a roar yet but it is getting a little louder.