Sunday, January 04, 2015

Thoughts hafltime Lions, Cowboys NFC Wildcard game

- Perhaps the most underrated aspect of defense in the NFL is tackling at the safety position. This game has taken on a completely different tone simply because Lions' safety James Ihedigbo took a bad angle and let the Cowboys' Terrence Williams run right by him. Darius Slay hesitated on that play as well. He had Williams in line, and should have clipped him from behind. Instead, it was a 76-yard dagger.
- Nice comeback to close the half. For all the complaints about Matthew Stafford, he is as good as there is at running the two-minute drill. Still, it's difficult to have a lot of comfort in Matt Prater as Lions' kicker. That was almost a botched hold by Sam Martin.
- It's amazing how poor Tony Romo is, for a QB with his experience, at making the proper read and getting rid of the ball when blitzed. The Lions and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin have come up with a great blueprint against him. The key was getting the lead and containing Demarco Murray. But none of it is going to matter if the Lions' don't tackle in the secondary. In contrast, blitzing Stafford is usually a recipe for disaster.
- With the lead, how effective will the Lions be running the ball and running down the clock? Early in the season, they did that effectively in wins over the Packers, Jets and Minnesota. Not so much the second half of the year, though. It's way too early to go into a shell, too. The play-calling late in the first half, before the two-minute drill, was too conservative.

My column. MSU proves status as national power with Cotton Bowl victory over Baylor:


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