After reexamining the first two defensive possessions (can a defense have a possession?), I believe that Ahmad Brooks still has a long way to go. He needs more NFL experience to really fulfill this over-realistic expectation that some writers and fans have given him. His physical attributes and talent are there. His effort was a cause for concern last season. I noticed that linemen locked up with him and he was essentially taken out of the play. Now, let's say this: most linemen will beat linebackers. Even Pro Bowl linebackers struggle with free roaming linemen. Essentially, a great group of linebackers succeeds only if the defensive front can hold up the offensive line.
With all that said, my impression of Ahmad Brooks' Thursday performance was very average -- at best.
I also thought the pass coverage was poor. The obvious 497 yards allowed is clue #1. However, a broken coverage gave the Lions an easy 83-yard touchdown. Keiwan Ratliff pointed the finger to himself on that. Lewis just says, as he always diplomatically does, "we blew coverage." The Lions completed 9 passes for 20 yards or more.
I do think that Madieu Williams had an encouraging game for fans hoping to return to rookie 2004 form. Marvin White and Nedu Ndukwe could make a big difference on this defense. For instance, Marvin White's interception set up the touchdown to Chris Henry with just over a minute left in the first half.
Talking Leon Hall and Brandon Williams
Loyal reader, Ochentacinco, brought up Leon Hall being picked on all night.
Hobson made this observation.
"That was good. I like that when they're going after me," Hall said. "I've got to make those plays."
I also thought that Brandon Williams showed flashes of quality. On one play (1-10-CIN11, :29) in the second quarter, J.T. O'Sullivan scrambled out of the pocket. O'Sullivan made a dangerous throw across the field -- that had Anthony Munoz going, "ohhhh". As soon as Sullivan released the pass, Brandon Williams made contact with Troy Walters the instant the pass was caught. The hit jarred the football out of Walters' hands falling harmlessly to the ground. Incomplete.
In the second half, the Lions offense ran a double wide receiver screen. O'Sullivan threw to his right. Brandon Williams fought through several offensive linemen to make the stop -- a small three-yard gain. Nice play.
On the other hand, one thing I noticed is that Brandon Williams missed a few open-field tackles. But that's a characteristic with many cornerbacks.. even the greats.
(Note: I have to say Brandon Williams, instead of just Williams, to avoid confusion with Madieu Williams. It's the same thing when I call any player with the last name of Johnson by their first name only)
View the injury
Below is a screen shot I took with my camera. The quality isn't good because it's a recorded version of the game and my camera doesn't take the best photos from the television set. This is the best view I could get...
More thoughts on the second half
- On the first passing play of the second half, J.T. O'Sullivan faked a hand off left. Matt Toeaina ran past the Lions' left tackle forcing O'Sullivan to throw an off-balanced incomplete pass to T.J. Duckett.
- The Bengals had to call a timeout within the first minute of the second half because the team only had 10 defenders on the field... at the last second, you see Eric Henderson trot on the field.
- Speaking of Eric Henderson, on the play where T.J. Duckett fumbled on the goalline, Henderson lined up at right defensive end. The left tackle ran past him targeting a linebacker leaving Henderson unblocked. Henderson collided with Duckett about 2 yards before the goalline allowing Andre Frazier to strip the ball. If it wasn't for Henderson, Duckett easily makes it into the endzone and the Lions take a 17-16 lead. As it is, the Bengals won the challenge and get the ball at their own 20 and keep their six-point lead.
- On the Langston Moore sack: Moore gave a quick "swat" on Dan Santucci -- who simply just lost his balance, bringing down Doug Johnson. Well, not really. The refs blew the whistle before Johnson fell.
- Skyler Green, on a third down, simply dropped a pass on a hook route that would have converted for a first down. Plays like these will quickly drop you on the depth chart when the competition is very fierce -- and very open.
- Brad St. Louis' snaps on special teams were sharp -- accurate and quick. Yes, Anthony Munoz's comment made me say that.
- On successive plays in the third quarter, the Bengals did a great job getting to the quarterback. On first down and 10 (DET32) with 7:22 left in the third quarter, the Bengals brought six. Ed Hartwell and Matt Toeaina quickly broke free forcing Dan Orlovsky to throw the ball away over the Detroit sidelines. On the next play, Jonathan Fanene squeezed through the inside gap forcing Orlovsky to rush a pass that fell harmlessly to the unforgiving turf. Unfortunately, this was the play that Fanene got hurt -- Fanene suffered muscle cramps. Then on third down, the Bengals front four ran a stunt enabling Matt Toeaina to attack the quarterback untouched. Quickly, Orlovsky got rid of the pass giving the Lions a small seven yard pickup forcing the home team to punt. Great series by the Bengals defense pressuring the quarterback.
- Backup tackle, Alan Reuber made some good blocks (except for a sack allowed below). He especially played hard until the whistle blew.
- The Bengals drive that started with 6:21 left in the third quarter, showcased the competition for #3 receiver. Skyler Green made a very acrobatic catch doing some sort of Booker-T spinaroni. He caught 2 passes for 26 yards on the drive. Bennie Brazell caught a five yard pass a few plays later. Chris Henry, still proving to be the #3 man, caught a 41-yard pass and a six-yard pass that converted a third down.
- On the same drive, on third and goal at the Lion's 18-yard line, Doug Johnson was sacked by Lion's defensive tackle, Cleveland Pinkney. At the snap, Nate Livings pushed Pinkney to the outside and then looked inside. Alan Reuber kept his eyes on the defensive end, who ran up-field for about 2 yards and then stunted around Pinkney. By the time Reuber realized he should have picked up Pinkney, Doug Johnson was sacked.
- Red Zone defense: The Lions entered the red zone on their final three offensive possessions in the game. They went touchdown, field goal, touchdown.
- With 14:35 left in the fourth quarter, Dan Orlovsky dropped back for a pass on 2nd-and-15. Kendrick Allen, fighting through blocks, quickly closed on the quarterback forcing Orlovsky to make a pass intended for Kasper. T.J. Wright made a good play tipping the pass.
- With 13:52 left in the game, Bryan Andrews, playing a two-point right defensive end, fought off the tight end making a stop on the running back for a five-yard loss.
- Of the rookies on defense, Nedu Ndukwe is quickly becoming my favorite.
- On the play that Matt Toeaina took an interception for touchdown, Andre Frazier slapped the passers arm falling into the lineman's hands. Also, T.J. Wright had a touchdown saving block and Matt Muncy did a good job leading the way. Take note however, that Frazier caused two turnovers that prevented a T.J. Duckett touchdown and allowed Toeaina to score. Frazier is partly responsible for a 14 point swing.
- It took Toeaina between 13-15 seconds to run 81 yards for the touchdown on the interception. Not one Lion's player, after Wright's block, was quick enough to catch up to him.
- I have a feeling that Matt Muncy might make the team because of special teams.
- With 8:52 left in the game, the Lions offense ran an end around. Before the snap, Kevin Kasper lined up at left wide receiver. He went into motion and at the snap, ran into the Lions backfield. An unblocked Xzavie Jackson stayed at home and dropped Kasper for a seven yard loss. Jackson, in high school basketball, averaged 18 rebounds a game.
- On the next play, the Lions picked up 58 yards on a Orlovsky pass to former Bengal, Cliff Russell. Here's a breakdown on the play. Eric Henderson, lined up at left defensive end, ran past the right tackle and nearly took out Orlovsky by attempting a dive at the quarterback. Orlovsky got rid of the pass to Russell. T.J. Wright actually did a good job covering Russell harassing the receiver from behind. However, Wright tried to pick the pass off (or at least tip it) taking him out of position to make the tackle. Right behind Russell was Marvin White. White was already out of position because he was running at the receiver instead of breaking down. The missed tackles allowed Russell to run another (approximately) 40 yards.
- I won't blame the Bengals defense on this. With seven minutes left in the game, Orlovsky completed a five-yard touchdown pass to Bellamy. The coverage started out well. At the snap, Orlovsky dropped back and ran back and forth for about 12 seconds. Finally, what appeared like he was throwing the ball away, Orlovsky completes the pass to Ron Bellamy for a touchdown. OK, I'll blame the Bengals line for failing to pressure the quarterback. T.J. Wright was covering.
- On the following series, the Bengals offense went into "kill the clock mode". I've never been a fan of "kill the clock mode" with just under seven minutes left in the game. That's still half a quarter and possibly two possessions for the opponents if you fail. Curtis Brown ran three times (four yards, four yards, -3 yards) for five yards. Bengals punt.
- Before "kill the clock mode" the Bengals were winning 26-17. When the Bengals started their next possession after punting, they were losing 27-26.
OK, this is my failing. My DVR only recorded the scheduled time. Meaning that the three hours was up and the recording finished leaving out the rest of the game.