Fans pleased, but Lions want to do better
Calvin Johnson (Kim Klement/US Presswire)
Calvin Johnson (Kim Klement/US Presswire)

Posted Sep 11, 2011

We offer links (and accompanying thoughts) from around the web after Detroit's 27-20 victory over Tampa Bay.

  • Freep columinist Mitch Albom put into words the feelings of Lions fans during the team's win, writing "Take heart, aged Lions fans. The lesson from this season’s opener was one we learned as kids: It’s more fun to play with ALL your toys than SOME of them." And Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford backed up Albom's sentiment.

    “It was nice, it was great,” Stafford said. “The guys up front kept me clean … and when they do that, the sky’s the limit for this team.”

  • Lost amid the elation over Stafford's dominant performance might have been the near flawless coverage provided by cornerback Chris Houston. Charged with the task of covering Bucs' WR Mike Williams, Houston limited Williams to four catches but -- perhaps most importantly -- also negated the big play. Instead, Houston made his own big play, intercepting Bucs' QB Josh Freeman's errant floater into the end zone in the second quarter. The turnover led to Detroit's go-ahead touchdown.

    "I want to go against the best, week after week," said Houston, who also had three pass break-ups. " ... you have to be right on your technique if you are going to be up pressing a great wide receiver like that. I showed I can do it today and now I have to keep it up."

  • In Detroit News' reporter Mike O'Hara's mailbag, he had an especially savory nugget from Lions coach Jim Schwartz following the game: "We couldn't play any worse, Way too many dumb mistakes."

    As O'Hara notes in his article, "The Lions met the enemy — themselves — and survived."

  •'s Pete Prisco offered tantalizing words for any Lions fan, writing, "These aren't the same Lions" in a column he wrote following the game.

    Continued Prisco, "As long as he's on the field, the Lions can be special on offense. With Johnson and Nate Burleson outside, Brandon Petitgrew at tight end and a speed back in Jahvid Best, the Lions have big-play ability. Stafford is good at making snap decisions to get the ball to the right spot."

  • The Lions dedicated a spy to keep an eye on Freeman, utilizing linebacker Stephen Tulloch to ensure the nimble Tampa Bay quarterback didn't burn the team on the ground. Freeman was able to accrue 26 yards running, but 15 of those came late in the contest. Tulloch, meanwhile, tallied four tackles and a sack.

    Said Tulloch, ""We are going to get a lot better."

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