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Lions Lose in San Diego Heat to Chargers 33-28

El Nino has struck. The Detroit Lions blew an 18 point lead to lose Week 1 at San Diego. Detroit started quickly while building a 21-3 lead but gave up 404 yards passing to Phillip Rivers and lost 33-28. Detroit gave up 30 unanswered points before a garbage time TD.

Recap

First Quarter

Detroit moved down the field to start the game with an 80 yard scoring drive capped by a 24 yard Abdullah TD run. Stafford hit Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson for big first downs on the drive.

Detroit stopped the Chargers with a three and out with a sack by Phillip Hunt on 3rd down. Lions followed that up with a 3 and out due to an Ebron drop.

The Chargers responded with a 73 yard field goal drive aided by rookie Melvin Gordon putting his elbow on the ground on a TD run. Lions had good coverage on 3rd down and forced the field goal.

Second Quarter

Despite a 48 yard kickoff return by Abdullah, Detroit did not respond on offense after the Chargers’ field goal. The Lions went 3 and out and OLB Kyle Emmanuel went unblocked for the Chargers lone sack of the day on 3rd down and long. Detroit did respond on defense picking off a ball off Keenan Allen’s hands with good coverage which Glover Quin returned for a pick 6. San Diego went 3 and out again with a sack by Ziggy Ansah on second down.

Golden Tate had a nice 14 yard punt return to give Detroit good field position. Stafford hit Lance Moore for 22 yards on a big 3rd down conversion. The very next play, Stafford hit Eric Ebron down the seam for an 18 yard TD. Boombaya!!!Detroit was coasting up 21-3.

Detroit eased off the gas way too early up 18 and allowed an 80 yard TD drive in the mid second quarter. A 19 yard first down to Keenan Allen plus a 15 yard spearing personal foul by James Ihedigbo sparked the drive. Another 19 yard first down to TE Ladarius Green and an offside for a first down by Tyrunn Walker set up the Chargers in the redzone. Danny Woodhead ran up the middle for a 9 yard TD run. The lead was cut to 21-10.

Detroit offense sputtered with a 4 play drive with Tate tackled short of the sticks on 3rd and 10. The Chargers again moved the ball and got into the Lions redzone. Rivers made a poor throw in the endzone and was picked off by Darius Slay. Crisis was averted for Detroit and they led 21-10 at halftime.

Third Quarter

A twelve play 73 yard drive opened the second half for the Chargers. Rivers carved the Lions defense at will with crossing routes. Good redzone defense and coverage kept the lead to 8 points after the field goal. Lions are still up 21-13.

Abdullah gained 36 yards on a broken play pass but then turnover time began in Chargers territory. Stafford was crushed on a hit and was intercepted. The Lions defense responded as Jason Jones stripped rookie Melvin Gordon. Tulloch recovered to counter Stafford’s turnover.

Lions got the ball but Stafford and Tate had a miscommunication on 3rd down and Patrick Robinson picked him off and returned it to the Detroit 16. Detroit defense was in trouble with a short field and the Chargers made Detroit pay while scoring a TD on a 12 yard TD to Stevie Johnson. The lead was cut to one point at 21-20.

Detroit offense fell asleep. Abdullah had an 11 yard first down run but then was stopped one yard short on a 3rd and 3 run. It was San Diego ball again.

Fourth Quarter

The Chargers marched 70 yards on 7 plays down the field and took the lead. First down passes to Brandon Oliver, Keenan Allen and LaDarius Green highlighted the drive. Green scored on a 13 yard TD pass. The Lions LBs and Rashean Mathis were getting torched. San Diego missed the extra point and came back and were actually leading 26-21.

Detroit seemed to respond with first downs to Bell and Abdullah on passes and moved into Chargers’ territory. The drive stalled at the Chargers 39 yard line and Detroit had to punt with time remaining.

Detroit put the Chargers at their own 14 yard line. Rivers and Keenan Allen continued to torch Detroit. Chargers converted a 3rd and 19 with a 20 yard completion to Allen. I almost punted a kitten after that play. Rivers found Stevie Johnson for 14 yards on a 3rd and 3 to the Lions 1. Woodhead punched in the one yard score. The 11 play 86 yard drive for 6 minutes and 18 seconds was a backbreaker.

Detroit scored a garbage time TD with Stafford finding Theo Riddick for a 21 yard score. Detroit failed to get the onside kick. That scenario reeked for 2012 Lions with Detroit failing on a late onside kick.

Chargers won 33-28.

The Good

Ameer Abdullah was excellent netting 7 carries for 50 yards, a rushing touchdown, 44 yards receiving and a 48 yard kickoff return. Abdullah is a flat out playmaker for Detroit. Golden Tate looked good on punt returns.

Detroit started hot and built an 18 point lead. Detroit forced 3 turnovers.

The Lions run defense allowed only 3.2 YPC on the day. Glover Quin had a pick 6. Eric Ebron had a TD. Detroit ran the ball well at 4.3 YPC. Detroit allowed only 1 sack on the day. Stafford completed 63.3% of his passes.

The Bad

Stafford had two interceptions and an 83 rating with a poor second half. One of the picks was his fault and the other pick was caused by a bone crushing hit.

Joique Bell did not look good running the ball.

The Lions were not consistent pressuring Rivers despite two sacks. Ngata wasn’t a big factor in the game in pass rush being doubled often.

The Ugly

Rivers went 35/42 for 404 yards and 2 TDs. Keenan Allen had 15 catches for 166 yards. Backup TE LaDarius Green had 74 yards and TD exposing the Lions secondary and safeties. Rashean Mathis had a terrible game trying to cover Keenan Allen.

The Lions offense was terrible in the second half with two turnovers and several short drives until a garbage time TD.

Injuries

Darius Slay injured his ankle late in the game and Brandon Pettigrew had an injury on the Lions garbage time extra point. Stafford hurt his throwing arm and wore a sleeve on his arm. The Lions can’t afford to lose Slay or Stafford at all.

Up Next

The Lions must regroup quickly as 0-1 with a loss to an AFC team on the road doesn’t bury them. Detroit travels to Minnesota in Week 2 for a huge divisional game. Detroit needs to win this next divisional game and avoid a dreaded 0-2 start.

R-E-L-A-X. It’s early