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Game 3: Who’s to blame?

If you look to your left, you’ll a Titan, wide open. If you look to your right, you’ll see two Lions covering each other.

With me taking the responsibility of becoming the watchdog for the Lions cornerbacks, I figured I would walk (well, actually type) the walk and do what I keep telling them to do: take my play to the next level.

For them that means covering somebody. For me it means giving them a fair shake and actually figuring out whether they deserved to be made fun of. It’s purely coincidence that the first game I do this for is the one where Jake Locker obliterated the Lions defense, throwing for 398 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

And he did it against the Lions’ two best (a relative term here) corners: Chris Houston and Bill Bentley.

How did this happen? Well, John Wendling did John Wendling things again and Jacob Lacey showed why the worst team in the league last year no longer needed his services.

Let’s break it down.

With the Lions’ two cornerbacks back, they played a lot more man-to-man than they did against the 49ers. It had mixed results. Bentley: streaky. Chris Houston: actually proved himself to be a player.

Passing touchdowns

Jared Cook, 65 yards up the middle.

The first touchdown really could be created to four different guys. Jacob Lacey and Stephen Tulloch covered each other. Erik Coleman and Amari Spievey missed tackles. We’ll split the 65 yards four ways.

Nate Washington, 71 yard TD off the back of Jacob Lacey

Lacey is locked up in man coverage here and gets beat. He’s responsible for the catch and the first 27 yards. John Wendling comes over a little late but should still be in position to make the tackle. Instead he makes a play on the ball in the air. A bold move considering the ball hadn’t been in the air for a second and a half. He doesn’t bat the ball away and doesn’t touch Washington who Foxtrots in for the score. Wendling is responsible for the 44 yards after the catch and half the touchdown.

Chart

My system is very simple. If you’re at fault, you get blamed for the yards. On plays in which you the ball comes your way, you get ‘Good Coverage’ points.* Let’s take a look at the chart. It wasn’t good to John Wendling:

Player/Unit Yards Good Coverage Points
John Wendling 75 (2/4) TD 1
Linebackers 70.25 (1/4 TD) 0
Bill Bentley 69 3
Jacob Lacey 62.75 (3/4 TD) 1
Erik Coleman 50.75 (1/4 TD) 0
Chris Houston 39 7 (1 bonus point)
Play Call** 31 0
Amari Spievey 16.25 (1/4 TD) 0

So what does this mean? I’m not really sure. There’s nothing to really compare it to. But here’s a couple of inklings I have: Chris Houston can make some plays. Don’t trust Amari Spievey being good, he got thrown at a lot less than the corners. Bill Bentley is still streaky.

They’re all probably things you already knew but now we actually have evidence to tell us we’re right.

*(Chris Houston got a bonus point for making an absolute play, knocking the ball down to prevent a touchdown.)

**(Play call: when the defensive call leaves a player wide open. It’s nobody’s fault but the defensive coordinator.)

_________

You’re unrelated play of the game: Calvin Johnson throwing his towel. He’s the angry man.

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