Northern Xposure Week 2: Lions-49ers

17 09 2012

When Detroit and San Francisco last met, NFL fans were treated to Handshakegate, in which a defeated Jim Schwartz got all up in Harbaugh’s grill after being crushed by his victory death grip. This time around, no such shenanigans would occur. But for the second game in a row, the Niners defense shut down one of the league’s more aggressive air attacks and added to the growing body of evidence suggesting their NFC supremacy.

As Marshall Faulk noted on the NFL Network, the Lion’s offseason antics mirrored their in-game play, with a sloppy roughing the kicker and a blatant pass interference call eventually leading to a Frank Gore 1-yard touchdown run. (Though in Detroit’s defense, no domestic assaults or DUIs occurred on the field of play last night, so, baby steps.) This is why the Lions just don’t scare me; their lack of discipline always seems to show at critical moments. Recall Suh’s Thanksgiving head-stomp from last year, which the Packers brass even claim to have game-planned for, and which was the turning point in a Green Bay victory. Contrast this to Harbaugh’s 49ers, a team whose defense always seems to be in position to make big plays, tackles well, and most importantly, doesn’t commit felonies.

Speaking of tackling, I also noticed that Randy Moss went down before being hit on his one reception of the game. He did this against Green Bay, too, and it seems that he’d rather safely take himself out of the play before getting torpedoed going across the middle. I’m not trying to ask any Bayless-esque, asinine questions about a professional athlete’s toughness, because  despite the fact that I have no particular love for Randy Moss (I was sitting in the endzone seats when this happened), I’m not sure that I can really blame him for this. He’s certainly paid his dues to The League, and he might as well protect any chances he has at playing on a potential Super Bowl team.

As for the Lions prospects, there hasn’t been much so far to distinguish them from last year’s good-but-not-great team. They still move the ball well in the air, and Megatron can still justify having the league’s best nickname, but they really don’t close out games and they still draw a lot of bad flags. For Lions’ fans sake, I hope Jim Schwartz finds the time to sharpen up his Cover-2 schemes in between the film sessions on How Not to Get Arrested.

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