Skip to main content

TIM AND MIKE: Week 1 observations

Special teams: They weren't so special for the Lions Sunday in Arizona. Detroit fumbled a punt, had a punt blocked, totaled minus-two yards of punt returns, had just a 16.0 yard kickoff-return average and committed four penalties. Head coach Matt Patricia values special teams play, and that simply wasn't good enough by Detroit Sunday. – Tim Twentyman

Options: From the first possession of the game, it was obvious that the offense under new coordinator Darrell Bevell had many of them. The five-snap sequence that gained one first down and ended with a punt began with Kerryon Johnson running out of a four-receiver set. It ended with C.J. Anderson losing a yard on third and one with a fullback in to block. Succeed or fail, there were options. – Mike O'Hara

Not smart football: Late in overtime, with the game tied 27-27 and the Lions looking to drive the ball with a chance to win, quarterback Matthew Stafford completed a 12-yard pass to Danny Amendola along the right sideline at the Detroit 24-yard line with 38 seconds left on the clock. Instead of simply stepping out of bounds and stopping the clock, Amendola inexplicably turned upfield was tackled inbounds for no more gain than had he stepped out of bounds. The Lions had to burn their last timeout. It was not a smart play in a critical moment by a veteran player. Amendola did have seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the game. – Tim Twentyman

Stretching it: That's what the offense did for Stafford. He completed 27 of 45 passes for 385 yards and three TDs, with an average of 8.55 yards per attempt. His average per attempt last year was 6.8 yards per attempt, tied for the lowest of his career since he started all 16 games for the first time in 2011. – Mike O'Hara

3rd & long vs. 4th and short: Early in the fourth quarter, with the Lions leading 24-6, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scrambled for eight yards on a 3rd and 9 play. The Cardinals were called for an illegal formation penalty on the play. The Lions chose to take the penalty and push Arizona into a 3rd and 14, instead of declining it and forcing 4th and 1 at the Cardinals' 27-yard line. Murray hit Larry Fitzgerald on a 41-yard pass on the very next play, and the Cardinals got a field goal out of the drive. – Tim Twentyman

Looks like: Russell Wilson? That was the first thought when Stafford gained 12 yards on a run around left end. Wilson was the quarterback for six seasons (2012-17) with Bevell as the Seahawks coordinator, and the offense featured called runs for Wilson. It was only one play Sunday, so don't count on it become a staple. – Mike O'Hara

Rotating front: Whether by design or performance, the Lions mixed in Kenny Wiggins at guard for both Graham Glasgow and Joe Dahl during the game. Wiggins ended up playing 24 snaps, while Dahl and Glasgow played 76 of a possible 88 snaps. – Tim Twentyman

Just like practice: What rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson did in the game – six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown – was more of what he showed in practice on a daily basis. He showed that he isn't just a practice player. He took it to the game. – Mike O'Hara

Don't test him: The Cardinals threw at Lions Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay just four times all game. They completed one pass for six yards. Murray had a 39.6 passer rating when throwing at Slay, who is off to a good start in his 2019 campaign. – Tim Twentyman

Experience beats youth: That's what it looked like on 36-year-old wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald's 41-yard catch over safety Tracy Walker on third and 14 in the fourth quarter. Walker had good position, but not quite good enough to prevent Fitzgerald from using his experience – and ability – to make a catch that set up a fourth-quarter field goal that started Arizona's fourth-quarter rally. – Mike O'Hara

Related Content