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Who’s to blame in the Detroit Lions passing game? Game 9 (Plus, debunking Chris Houston’s intentional injury claim)

I call this one “Fun Times with Erik Coleman”

I know we’ve all been thinking the same question this week: When will the league get it over with and name Christian Ponder MVP?

His succession of four-yard outs and nine-yard comebacks last Sunday was a masterpiece in the same ilk as when a dog dips his paw into some finger paint and lightly scraps a canvass.

Christian ‘I complete passes to myself for -15 yards’ Ponder lit the Lions up to the tune of 221 yards and two touchdowns on 34-of-42 passing.  There was even that one time when Erik Coleman showed off just how slow he was and Ponder completed a 54-yard pass. Yay!

Coleman and his counterpart, Ricardo Silva, turned their two man dream team into a nightmare, or as Coleman and Silva called it before last week: another Sunday. The only way the two should see the field when Louis Delmas and/or Amari Spievey get healthy is if Delmas voluntarily sits out games so he can hilariously wear sunglasses on the sidelines in a domed stadium.

*Sigh*

Let’s just get into the carnage.

Personnel

The previously mentioned Coleman and Silva played the entire game in their safety spots. Chris Houston, Jacob Lacey and Jonte Green were your corners until Houston went out with an injury in the fourth quarter. He claims the Vikings deliberately tried to fall on his ankle.

Let’s investigate.

Houston is at the top of the screen.

Once  Adrian Peterson gets the hand off, Houston crashes down behind the line of scrimmage. Minnesota guard Brandon Fusco pulls and is fixin to take a nice big bite out of Houston’s pride. The corner realizes this and ducks the block, sending Fusco over the top of his back.

The picture is a little grainy, but you can still clearly see Houston’s two hands firmly planted on the ground, anchoring himself and Fusco leaning down attempting to strike Houston’s torso.

Fusco flipped over the back and rolled onto Houston’s ankle. Yeah, totally intentional man.

By the time Houston got hurt Minnesota didn’t need to pass anymore, so mortal enemy Alphonso Smith’s services weren’t required. A victory for the nation.

Passing Touchdowns allowed

1. Jarius Wright, 3-yard pass from Christian Ponder

Minnesota lined up in a Trips Bunch formation to the left. Wright was the inside receiver. The Lions played man-to-man, with Houston covering Wright. As the two other receivers ran into the end zone and cut to the middle, Wright came underneath to the outside. The Lions probably should have orchestrated some type of switch off. They didn’t. Houston wasn’t fast enough to get underneath the two Minnesota receivers setting picks and got lost when he tried to get over the top, leaving Wright wide open for the easy score. Nice play call, but that’s still on Houston.

2. Kyle Rudolph, 20-yard pass from Christian Ponder

This really was a masterstroke by the Lions defense. Rudolph ran a little nine-yard out.  The linebackers dropped into zone coverage. Rudolph ran right at DeAndre Levy who gave him a little shove, looked back to the quarterback, lost track off Rudolph and couldn’t make a play when the ball was thrown. Silva came up from his safety spot and flailed wildly while not making the tackle. Jacob Lacey, who was covering Michael Jenkins on a deep route, came down to make the tackle but also flailed wildly after a slight push by Jenkins. Rudolph jogged by and literally walked into the end zone.

I don’t blame Lacey for this one since he got blocked. Silva and the linebackers will each get a .5 touchdown allowed.

Chart

Player Yards Good plays (GP) TDs all. INTs Diff (yds/gp)
Erik Coleman 87 1 0 0 +49/-1
Linebackers 48 0 0.5 0 -13/0
Ricardo Silva 42 0 0.5 0 +42/0
Jonte Green 27 0 0 0 +3/-2
Chris Houston 15 1 1 0 -15/+1
GAMEPLAN 10 0 0 0 -40/0
Jacob Lacey 7 2 0 0 -10+1
Cliff Avril -15 1 0 0 N/A

What have we learned?

Remember that time Cliff Avril ate Christian Ponder? Me too, man…me too.

That was probably Jacob Lacey’s best game from a passing standpoint. In fact, the past two games have been pretty good. For all the trash  I’ve talked about him this season, he may actually be an average third defensive back as long as the Lions don’t face anybody with good receivers.

Other than the touchdown, Chris Houston actually had a really good day. He gave up just three completions, the score and receptions for three and four yards. Temper the excitement a little bit though. Minnesota didn’t have Percy Harvin, the type of speed receiver Houston struggles with, and had Christian Ponder who sits lays in bed at night and dreams of all five-yard outs he is going to throw the following Sunday.

Long live the Erik Coleman and Ricardo Silva Safety Dream Team.

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