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Shinma

10/19/14. Saints @ Lions. 2014.7

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Question about Lombardi.

Does it seem like he's been pretty conservative with the play calling? If so, is that by design due to the line being relatively poor and/or Calvin being out?

It seemed like the most successful passing plays were ones where stafford was able to get ball out quickly.

My perception could be off.

My sense is that he has leaned a bit too much on slow developing pass plays, including play action, which has exposed the OL.

Say what you will about Linehan (and I was critical of him last year), but his line last year looked really good, and his line in Dallas looks even better. This year, the Lions OL - now the same personnel as last year - looks awful. Maybe injury is part of the difference but I suspect scheme and play calling are a substantial part too.

As a broader point, though, Stafford seems to do best when he's slinging it around the field frenetically.

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So, fivethirtyeight has a tool that allows you to see a team's playoff probability and how it changes for each of the scheduled games for the week.

This weekend, the lions and saints game was the biggest game as far as playoff implications go. The swing for the lions was 23%. If they won, they increased their chances by 9% and if they lost they decreased their chances by 14%.

From the Saints' perspective, the swing was 20%.

Anyway, the lions entered the game with a 65% chance of making the playoffs.

With their win, and the results of the other games, they are up to 77.4%. Had they lost they would be around 54%.

That was a huge win.

I like these types of numbers. San Fran losing to Denver last night helped as well. Green Bay plays New Orleans next week. It's either lights out for NO or the start of their comeback. Seattle and Carolina play next week, a win by Carolina makes a tough row to hoe for the NFC West, as they will have to beat up on each other later on.

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The saints choked it away, no doubt. But let's at least five the lions some credit for choking away a good chance to win with their terrible interception earlier in the game, not to mention multiple dropped balls on third downs.

That's why they play 60 minutes.

Let's also give them credit for playing good defense and keeping it a two score game after the interception.

That was a fun game to watch.

Oh, no doubt about it.

I was just illustrating that this win offsets the Buffalo loss IMO.

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Cant we agree that its nice to see someone ELSE choke away a victory for a change?

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CJ(no explanation needed), Ebron(terrible but was showing signs of life), Fauria(usually is a pretty good threat in the red zone), Riddick(can't stay healthy but shows some nice flashes), etc. being out is probably the main reasons.

That and Bush/Bell both suffering injuries throughout games.

But I would say the biggest thing is the OL. They are not letting plays develop down the field, and are not opening up holes for the RBs. If they can't do either, you are forced into "safe" throws.

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I don't know if I can fully support this, but it strikes me that under Caldwell the coaching staff hasn't made the fatal mistakes that Schwartz's regime made. Caldwell and his crew are cool customers.

It's hard to make comparisons due to very low sample size. One play that goes this way, or that way in a game like this and we could be talking a very different result. Still, a win is a win and I'm not going to apologize for it.

One difference I did notice... and I hope it's a Caldwell thing: The stupid penalties didn't spiral out of control. There was a moment there, which I think peaked with Whitehead penalty*, where mental I said: "Here we go... this is where the wheels fall off. This is where stupid penalties end up costing the Lions any chance of a come back." But it didn't... they didn't get out of control, despite it being a chippy game.

That, to me, was a positive sign.

*And for the record: Yes, it was pretty clear there was taunting going on there and it should have been off setting penalties. But how many times has it been said: "Do NOT retaliate. It's always the second guy the refs see, not the first."? Whitehead shouldn't have retaliated.

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Cant we agree that its nice to see someone ELSE choke away a victory for a change?

Yah, I don't care why we won. We didn't blow it and got a win we usually don't. Bask in the glory for now.

It will be interesting to see if they take Calvin to Europe. Do you let him heal for a few more weeks or do you play him and then give him 2 weeks to bounce back? We better beat Atlanta either way.

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That and Bush/Bell both suffering injuries throughout games.

But I would say the biggest thing is the OL. They are not letting plays develop down the field, and are not opening up holes for the RBs. If they can't do either, you are forced into "safe" throws.

Yeah at this point I can't believe the difference between the OL this year vs. last. Jeremiah Washburn is still the OL coach, so you even that the consistency between last year and this. The personnel are the same, granted some injuries early but Waddle is back this year. Why did the OL go from a big strength to a clear weakness this year?

Fixing the OL will help both the running game and the passing game as well. Obviously it isn't a magic pill. There's still going to be Stafford's accuracy issues, but if he's got more than 1 second to throw the ball it'll help. And Bush still will do too much dancing for my taste instead of just plowing ahead, but some open holes here and there will turn those -1, 0, or 1 yard rushes into 3, 4, or 5 yard rushes.

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I suspect Calvin makes the trip. There is no reason to leave him home and then Atlanta can for sure plan on him not playing. My opinion is that there is no way he plays. The thought of having two more fulls weeks of rest before the schedule gets really juicy is reason enough to sit him. He needs to be healthy for this team to make any sort of real run. That being said they should beat Atlanta without him.

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I suspect Calvin makes the trip. There is no reason to leave him home and then Atlanta can for sure plan on him not playing. My opinion is that there is no way he plays. The thought of having two more fulls weeks of rest before the schedule gets really juicy is reason enough to sit him. He needs to be healthy for this team to make any sort of real run. That being said they should beat Atlanta without him.

If he is 100% he plays. I am quite certain his injury is one where one little tweak out there can mess it up, but if the Dr's give him the all clear then he needs to play. If he can benefit AT ALL from not playing in the game then for sure leave him out.

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Yeah, I see little chance of Calvin playing. That will have given him 5 weeks to get healed up, which should be enough time. But if he is ready to go then he should suit up.

Either way, we should be able to clip the falcons.

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If he's 100% or close enough, go for it. I just have to think that the London trip is a bit of a hassle, and he could be at home rehabbing and resting, so they might not bother taking him. He was running around before this game (not really planting though)

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You guys don't see the difference in the Bills loss and New Orleans win?

When I see the Bills win, I can point to one reason the Lions lost, the place kicker. It is pretty clear. I would not really call it a choke job by the Lions.

When I see the New Orleans loss, choke job, etc. it didn't come down to a kicker missing several field goals. I would classify it as a classic choke job by the Saints.

I mean after all, he's struggling to scrounge up money for a vacation.

Hope its a sign he plays, but who knows.

I know he had to ask his boss at his second job for time off so he must of got the days off to go on the trip.

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It was a nice win, at least in the fourth quarter. The Lions' big free agent WR known for being dynamite after making a catch took it to the house on a long TD. Their big free agent safety signing came up with a beautiful interception for great field position. Then the heavily invested in defensive line put tons of pressure on Brees on the final series. The game wasn't pretty but the win felt nice.

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I know he had to ask his boss at his second job for time off so he must of got the days off to go on the trip.

His ankle isn't getting better because he missed a lot of rehab due to swapping shifts with a bunch of people last week to get this week off.

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You guys don't see the difference in the Bills loss and New Orleans win?

When I see the Bills win, I can point to one reason the Lions lost, the place kicker. It is pretty clear. I would not really call it a choke job by the Lions.

I think it's too simplistic to simply say the kicker choked. Yes, it's 100% true that had the kicker made at least one kick, at the very least we're looking at a tie. But it's also true that the offense, except for the one drive, choked. They did not move the ball well and couldn't find the endzone.

The defense, also, choked. Let something called Kyle Orton get nearly 300 yards in the first game he'd played in years.

Yeah, the kicked choked the most. No question there. But if the offense gets just one more TD... The Defense gets one more stop... well, then we're still talking about how the kick game is scary and one of these days it's going to cost us a win.

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Question about Lombardi.

Does it seem like he's been pretty conservative with the play calling? If so, is that by design due to the line being relatively poor and/or Calvin being out?

It seemed like the most successful passing plays were ones where stafford was able to get ball out quickly.

My perception could be off.

I was thinking the same thing as I watched the game - a lot of runs on first down. However, I would imagine when you're game planning against a team like the Saints, & a QB like Brees, you want to try to keep the ball out of his hands & run time off. I'm going to guess that's why they stuck to running the ball so much. It wasn't until they were down by 13 with 5 minutes to go that things opened up a bit, for obvious reasons. I think the tendency is for fans to think that if they'd opened it up earlier they wouldn't have been down by so much, or maybe even leading, & they blame the conservative play calling - but from a coach's standpoint, the running of the football plays a big part in managing the game & helped keep Brees on the sidelines. I'd imagine that Caldwell did NOT want to get into a high-scoring track meet against Brees with all of the injuries the Lions have, & running the ball helped with that.

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Perhaps. I think it mostly had to do with the offense being bad right now. Try to get into some favorable down-distance situations and pick up first downs. Don't waste downs on home run plays.

It just seemed obvious pretty quickly that it wasn't working.

I don't think running the ball poorly does a good job of keeping Brees off the field.

First downs keep Brees off the field.

It could have just been a desire to limit turnovers.

But the more I type, the more I think they just don't have the personnel at the moment to allow time for routes to develop. Without Calvin, and with a poor line, they can stack the box against the run while also getting pressure and forcing quick/bad throws.

I'd love to read an analytical recap to see if anything stood out in this regard.

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Also of note, Brees threw 10 straight incompletions at one point in the 4th quarter, first time in his career. He was also 3-14 in the 4th quarter for 17 yards and a pick. The Lions defense really stepped up when it mattered.

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Also of note, Brees threw 10 straight incompletions at one point in the 4th quarter, first time in his career. He was also 3-14 in the 4th quarter for 17 yards and a pick. The Lions defense really stepped up when it mattered.

I wasn't sold on the Lions defense until yesterday. The first 6 games for the Lions defense only really featured one good offensive team. It's rare that you see a defensive team overcome a big 4th quarter deficit and win a game, but IMO that is what happened yesterday. The defense won that game in the fourth quarter. They have played disciplined this year (not many bad penalties), and it has made a WORLD of difference.

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Couple thoughts...

1)With the defense playing so well right now, you think Lewand and Mayhew are realizing they may have to pull out the check book for Suh and maybe Fairly? With every win and if the Lions make the playoffs with a top 5 defense in the league, Suh is just seeing $$$$$$$.

2)Looking a month or so ahead with getting guys healthy and hopefully getting a level of comfort with the new offense and playing lights out defense. This team COULD be a very nightmare matchup come December and playoff time.

Love the grit and guts. This team definitely seems different.

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