In a match up of playoff hopefuls today, the Raiders were in great position against my Lions. Tommy Kelly stripped Matt Stafford and Aaron Curry carried it into the end zone for a 13 point Raider lead with only 7:45 left. I wasn’t giving up yet; the 2011 Lions always go down swinging. I emailed my buddy Tony: “The Lions will get at least one garbage TD, maybe two.”
Sure enough, the Raiders offered Matt Stafford a tasty prevent sandwich
(with a side of pass interference potato salad). Stafford passed the ball 9 straight times, converted with a QB draw on 4th down, and tossed a TD to Titus Young, all in just 2:48. Six point game again.
However, just like most teams, Michael Bush and the Raiders ran all over the Lions today. The trickiest part of the Lions comebacks this year has been getting the ball back before the other team can run out the clock. Bush ran five times for 33 yards, giving the Raiders 3rd and 3 at midfield with just over 2 minutes remaining. Instead of running again for a near clinching first down (the Lions had only two timeouts), the Raiders got fancy and tried to go deep to Chaz Schilens. The Lions were clearly fooled, but Palmer missed his man. The Lions got the ball back on the friendly side of 2 minutes.
Stafford and Megatron tucked into a second course of Raiders prevent with gusto — 1:20 later they were in the end zone. Game over, with the Lions in the driver’s seat for the wild card and the Raiders backpedaling toward a four-way tie in the AFC West. It looked identical to a few other Lions victories this year.
The Raiders’ decision to go for the kill on third down was eerily similar to Romo and the Cowboys’ choice last week against the Giants. In both cases, a wide receiver was open for a probable touchdown, but the QB missed him. The Raiders especially have no excuse. Why go with a risky play when you are dominating the running game, particularly against a team with a potent passing game? Going for the knockout cost them the game, plain and simple. Not quite a True Win, but thanks very much, Raiders.