Lions aim for first 3-0 start in 31 years
Stephen Tulloch (Tim Fuller, US Presswire)
Stephen Tulloch (Tim Fuller, US Presswire)
Special to roarreport.com
Posted Sep 19, 2011


The Lions haven't started 3-0 since 1980 and they haven't won in Minnesota since 1997, which is why the celebration was tempered after whipping the inept Chiefs 48-3 on Sunday.

The Lions haven't started 3-0 since 1980 and they haven't won in Minnesota since 1997, which is why the celebration was tempered after whipping the inept Chiefs 48-3 on Sunday.

"All this means is we went from 1-0 to 2-0," said quarterback Matthew Stafford. "We are facing a heck of a team in Minnesota, a divisional foe that really plays good against us, especially out there. We just have to keep fixing our mistakes and getting better."

The Lions didn't make many mistakes Sunday; they mostly pounced on a comedy of errors by the Chiefs. They turned six turnovers into 38 points, in the process using 70 yards in Chiefs' penalties to sustain drives.

"That's one of the things that comes with a fast and aggressive defense," said defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who had four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. "You can coach all the interception tip drills you want, strip drills and all that, but when you play fast and hit, that's when turnovers happen. We have a fast defense and when we are flying around and hitting guys, the ball is going to pop loose." Cornerbacks Chris Houston and Eric Wright, plus strong safety Amari Spievey had interceptions off Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel.

"We didn't play our best football and we still won by a large margin," coach Jim Schwartz said. "We knew if we could get the run stopped it would be a hard game for them to play and that's how it turned out."

The Lions made an early adjustment on offense, as well, utilizing three-wide receiver sets more than the two-tight end sets they had planned to use. The result was another huge day by Stafford.

He completed 23 of 39 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns - two to wide receiver Calvin Johnson (15 yards and one yard), one to tight end Tony Scheffler (36) and another to running back Jahvid Best (one yard).

"Teams are going to start doing more to take (Johnson) away, like they did today," Stafford said. "You saw it - they had a man on him low, a man on him high and a man on him in the middle. Teams are going to do whatever they can to stop him and that's the great thing about the guys on this team. They take pride and understand that if teams do that, those other guys have to step up and make plays."

Best had 57 yards rushing and 66 yards receiving. Nate Burleson caught seven passes for 93 yards and rookie Titus Young chipped in five catches for 89 yards.

"We're good," said kicker Jason Hanson, who had field goals of 51 and 28 yards. "Whether we are going to be really good or just good we will find out in the coming weeks. We still have a lot to prove."

Gosder watches from the sidelines

LINEUP WATCH: The Lions benched right tackle Gosder Cherilus in favor of Corey Hilliard. From the sound of it, though, it was just a one-week punishment for Cherilus who incurred Schwartz's wrath with a late personal foul penalty in Tampa the previous week. "The way we finished last week was not our best presentation," Schwartz said. "Gos has played a lot of good football for us and he will continue to play good football for us. But we can't allow that to happen. We look forward to getting Gos back (next week)."

BY THE NUMBERS: The 45-point win over the Chiefs was the largest ever by the Lions in a regular-season game, tying their 59-14 NFL championship victory over the Browns in 1957.

Player Notes

  • RB Keiland Williams got his first live action as a Lion and he showed some hard interior running. He even scored a 1-yard touchdown. Maurice Morris, who is the No. 2 back behind Jahvid Best, did not play a down. He had ball security issues in the opener after missing all of camp with a broken right hand. Jerome Harrison continues to be unimpressive. It would appear that Williams will be given every opportunity to challenge for the No. 2 spot.

  • WR Calvin Johnson has caught two touchdown passes in consecutive games for the first time in his career. He now has 37 touchdown catches, second in Lions history. He has a long way to go before catching Herman Moore (62).

  • QB Matthew Stafford's passer rating was 106.1 - he's been over 100 in both weeks. That hasn't been done by a Lions quarterback since Jon Kitna in 2007. That hasn't been done in the first two games of a season since Gary Danielson in 1984. His four-touchdown performance was the fourth of his career.

  • TE Tony Scheffler has now caught a touchdown pass in both games. Last week in Tampa he pantomimed a swashbuckling pirate for his end-zone dance. On Sunday against the Chiefs, he made smoke signals.

  • LB Justin Durant had a huge game. He made 11 tackles and was instrumental in shutting down the Chiefs running game (36 in the second half).

  • WR Nate Burleson continues to produce. He had 93 yards in seven catches, averaging 13.3 per catch. He's making big plays out of short catches.

  • TE Brandon Pettigrew appeared to ding his shoulder on an incompletion. He finished the game but didn't look comfortable.

  • K Jason Hanson has played in 297 games, the most with the same team for any player in NFL history. He also tied an NFL record by kicking a field goal of at least 50 yards in his 17th season.


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