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 10 years ago '04        #161
.Mase Da Rula.|M 1 heat pts
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 gorilla_proof said:
i know kitna didnt play but i was less impressed by the det def' i know some fans will dumb the game down and say it pre-season but the 3rd pre-season game is like a dress rehearsal.

i wish you guys the best during the season...and i hope you give the bears hell in the nfc north division
the defense was utter trash in the secondary.our biggest weakness... our front line and lBS are cool but if our secondary can't make plays.. we SOL......

with with the injury to bullocks we lack a FS...

we need to make some trade get so quality vets in here to sure it up......

cause peyton went to town on us in the 2nd quarter....
 10 years ago '06        #162
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 LordMason DaRula said:
NFL 2007: A look at the upcoming season, by divisions

^NFC NORTH= ^CHICAGO BEARS (10-6)=

Strengths: A high-impact defense led by LBs Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, DT Tommie Harris and a cohesive secondary. WR Bernard Berrian is ready to emerge as a star, and rookie TE Greg Olsen adds a new dimension. KR Devin Hester is ultradangerous if healthy. C Olin Kreutz excels. Lovie Smith is a quality coach with a good staff.

Weaknesses: OK, can't avoid it -- QB Rex Grossman is too inconsistent and must take another big step. Trading RB Thomas Jones to open job for Cedric Benson might be unwise. OL, other than Kreutz, is pedestrian.

Players to watch: Briggs (in contract year), Berrian.

Biggest change: No more reliable Thomas Jones to take pressure off Grossman.

Schedule key: Considering division, how about finale vs. New Orleans, which could decide a lot in the conference?

Why they will finish first: This weak division makes Bears a virtual shoo-in, and their defense seals it. ^GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-8)=

Strengths: QB Brett Favre's competitiveness and WR Donald Driver's brilliance. Excellent pass rush, with DE Cullen Jenkins about to break out and Aaron Kampman already established. If A.J. Hawk also comes on, linebacking could be special. Team should have some cohesion in second year of Mike McCarthy's regime.

Weaknesses: Suspect running game and receiving corps (outside of Driver). Inexperienced OL. Secondary has talent, but CBs Charles Woodson and Al Harris are aging. Driver was injured in preseason.

Players to watch: Jenkins, RB Vernand Morency.

Biggest change: Defense has some versatility.

Schedule key: Pack can't get swept vs. Philly, Giants and Chargers in opening weeks.

Why they will finish second: Favre gives them edge over Lions and Vikings. ^DETROIT LIONS (6-10)=

Strengths: In second year under coordinator Mike Martz, offense could be explosive. QB Jon Kitna can throw to WRs Roy Williams, Mike Furrey and rookie Calvin Johnson. RBs Kevin Jones and Tatum Bell form a nice combo. Special teams are very good.

Weaknesses: Defense is a huge question mark, particularly up front and in secondary. Does DT Shaun Rogers have anything left and does he care? Will LB Boss Bailey finally develop? Offensive line also is weak.

Players to watch: Johnson, LB Ernie Sims.

Biggest change: Lions don't look like worst team in division.

Schedule key: Simple: beat Raiders in opener.

Why they will finish third: Detroit will score enough to avoid its usual spot in cellar. ^MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-12)=

Strengths: DTs Pat Williams and Kevin Williams can't be budged, so Vikings succeed against the run. Rookie Adrian Peterson and incumbent Chester Taylor should provide strong running game behind good line led by G Steve Hutchinson and C Matt Birk.

Weaknesses: Vikings have trouble covering in the passing game and throwing the ball; they have inexperience at quarterback and no standout receivers. They'll need to keep scores low to win, perhaps very low.

Players to watch: Peterson, CB Antoine Winfield.

Biggest change: Remember the pass-happy Vikes of Culpepper and Moss? Forget it, these Vikings will try to run.

Schedule key: Games 5-8 vs. Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and San Diego.

Why they will finish fourth: Minnesota has taken some serious steps backward this year
whoever wrote that is a fu*king idiot. this is one of the most talented teams we've had in years. 4-12, GTFOH.




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 10 years ago '04        #163
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Final preseason game meaningful for some Lions and Bills
By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
August 29, 2007

DETROIT (AP) -- Edwin Mulitalo is well aware the NFL's final preseason games are regarded as meaningless.

Entering his ninth season in the league and first with the Detroit Lions, Mulitalo doesn't agree with the popular notion.

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To the guard, much is at stake Thursday night when Detroit hosts the Buffalo Bills in the last exhibition for both teams.

"It's important for us because we're still piecing guys together on the offensive line," Mulitalo insisted. "The offensive line is a unique position group because we have to be cohesive to play well. That only happens by playing together in games because you can't simulate everything in practice.

"Have we jelled yet? I'm not sure. But have we come a long ways? Yes."

The Lions need their reshaped offensive line to improve because last year quarterback Jon Kitna was sacked an NFL-high 63 times, and they averaged a league-low 71 yards rushing per game.

Detroit can't expect Kitna to take every snap, as he did last season, if he gets hit that many times -- or to win consistently if the running game stays grounded.

Mulitalo, who started 102 games for Baltimore from 1999-2006, was signed as a free agent. Tackle George Foster was acquired in a trade, along with running back Tatum Bell from Denver for cornerback Dre' Bly, after starting all but three games the past three seasons for the Broncos.

The Lions hope those two experienced newcomers will bolster a line with holdovers Jeff Backus, Dominic Raiola and Damien Woody.

"This is the best I've felt about our line since I've been here," said Raiola, who was drafted in 2001 and started every game the last five seasons. "We might've had 15 different combinations last year because of injuries, so hopefully we can stay healthy and help this offense be as good as it can be.

"Even though this is the last preseason game, we can't just go out there and dodge bullets hoping to stay healthy. We need to fly around and hit people."

At least a pair of Bills likely will be playing with a reckless abandon, too.

Rookie Paul Posluszny and John DiGiorgio still are competing for a chance to be Buffalo's starting middle linebacker when the season opens Sept. 9 at home against Denver.

"They'll both play a good deal and then we'll talk it over and see where it goes," said Bills coach d*ck Jauron, who coached the Lions for five games during the 2005 season. "I like both of those guys. Both of them will also contribute on special teams.

"Depending who our starter is, then the other guy will get more special teams time."

Posluszny said early in training camp that he and DiGiorgio were told they would alternate starts and that plan would put him with the first group at Detroit.

"I just think it's another chance for us to prove ourselves," Posluszny said. "Final audition? I'm not sure."

Just as the final preseason game seems to be dismissed, the one before it usually is perceived as relatively important, with the starters getting more time on the field than in other exhibitions.

Detroit (2-1) and Buffalo (1-2) both lost those games. Tennessee topped the Bills 28-17. The Colts beat the Lions 37-10, but Raiola said a tweak here or there could've made the difference.

"As bad as it looked on the outside, we weren't discouraged after watching the film," he said.

Buffalo plans to use starters, such as quarterback J.P. Losman, for about two series on Thursday.

The Lions do not expect Kitna to play, giving him a chance to rest his back and providing extensive playing time for backup J.T. O'Sullivan.

"He is going to get another full game," Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said. "This is invaluable experience for him."

The Lions scheduled running back Kevin Jones for an evaluation Thursday on his surgically repaired foot, which has kept him out this preseason and might lead to him missing the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list.

"We've got to be smart," Marinelli said. "Hopefully, we'll get some information and see where we're at."
 10 years ago '04        #164
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Lions to place safety Daniel Bullocks on injured reserve, evaluate RB Kevin Jones
August 27, 2007

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Lions will put second-year safety Daniel Bullocks on injured reserve after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

Bullocks was to start at free safety this season after leading all NFC rookie defensive backs with 70 tackles last season. His right knee buckled during a non-contact play Saturday in the second quarter of the Lions' 37-10 loss at Indianapolis.

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Lions coach Rod Marinelli said Monday he didn't know when Bullocks will have surgery, because doctors must wait for the swelling to go down.

"He's a heck of a player," Marinelli said. "But you move on. The NFL is all about that."

Sixth-year safety Idrees Bashir and rookie Gerald Alexander will compete for the starting spot.

Marinelli also said running back Kevin Jones, who has not played since breaking his foot last season, will be re-evaluated Thursday.

Several other Lions players continue to deal with injuries. Among those listed as day-to-day are defensive tackle Cory Redding, running backs Tatum Bell and Brian Calhoun, guard Damien Woody, defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, defensive end Dewayne White, wide receiver Mike Furrey, quarterback Jon Kitna and cornerback Travis Fisher.
 10 years ago '04        #165
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Buffalo 16, Detroit 13
Preview - Box Score - Recap

By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
August 30, 2007

Buffalo Bills linebacker Josh Stamer (57) breaks up a pass intended for Detroit Lions tight end Casey FitzSimmons in the third quarter of a football game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007, in Detroit. The Bills beat the Lions, 16-13.
AP - Aug 30, 10:56 pm EDT
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DETROIT (AP) -- Trent Edwards will watch J.P. Losman take every significant snap, if all goes well for the Buffalo Bills this year.

If it doesn't, the rookie quarterback hopes he can draw on experience from the exhibition season.

Edwards directed a 90-yard drive that set up a tiebreaking field goal with 1:46 left, and Buffalo recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to seal a 16-13 win over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night in the preseason finale.

"It's going to be a long stretch of sitting on the sidelines and watching, so I need to be able to use what I learned in the preseason," Edwards said.

Edwards was 18-of-24 for 182 yards, perhaps solidifying a job as Losman's backup ahead of Craig Nall even though coach d*ck Jauron said the decision would be made soon.

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"I was really happy with Trent," Jauron said. "He's performed so well. He just gets a little better all the time. He's pretty good to start with, like we said when we drafted him."

Losman was 5-for-6 over two drives.

"I felt sharp, personally," he said. "I'm definitely ready for next week."

The Lions hope J.T. O'Sullivan is relegated to the sidelines this season, but like Edwards, he gained some needed experience in case Jon Kitna can't withstand 63 sacks as he did last season while taking every snap.

O'Sullivan took every snap for the second straight week and was 15-of-26 for 175 yards and a TD. Kitna (back) and reserve Dan Orlovsky (toe) were held out of the final two exhibition games with injuries.

"In this league, every snap is make or break unless you are a big-time guy," O'Sullivan said. "It's been a great opportunity to get these reps in training camp and get a chance to prove myself."

O'Sullivan, drafted in the sixth round in 2002 by New Orleans, has been on a handful of rosters in the league and led the Frankfort Galaxy to NFL Europa's World Bowl earlier this year and in 2004.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jonathan Smith (19) hauls in a 23-yard pass in front of Detroit Lions cornerback Ramzee Robinson (38) to help set up their game-winning score in the fourth quarter of a preseason football game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007, in Detroit.
AP - Aug 30, 10:31 pm EDT
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His NFL experience consists of kneeling down twice to seal a win for the Green Bay Packers in 2004.

Chicago cut him just before training camp, and the Lions quickly signed him. The former California-Davis standout has gone from possibly being released again to probably being the No. 2 quarterback because second-round pick Drew Stanton went on injured reserve with a knee injury and Orlovsky was hurt in the second preseason game.

Even though O'Sullivan's job seems to be secure, he has been through enough to avoid being c*cky.

"The way I can sleep at night is by knowing that I prepared as hard as I could and I played as well as I could," he said.

O'Sullivan threw a perfect pass on an 18-yard touchdown to Sean McHugh late in the first half, then Rian Lindell kicked his first of three field goals as time expired in the first half to start the comeback.

Reserve running back Fred Jackson pulled Buffalo within three with a 5-yard run early in the third quarter and the plodding game was won by the Bills (2-2) as their rookie quarterback drove them downfield with some clutch passes on third downs.

Kevin Kasper, possibly motivated to make a spectacular play and earn a final roster spot, brought the final kickoff out of the middle of the end zone while teammate Brian Calhoun tried to stop him and turned over the ball.

"If you try to do too much -- secure the ball," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said.

Both teams played without several key players, keeping them healthy for next week's opener.

Detroit (2-2) sat about half of its starters, including receiver Roy Williams, running back Tatum Bell, defensive tackles Shaun Rogers and Cory Redding. The Bills held out several players, including receiver Lee Evans and cornerback Terrence McGee.

Marinelli was pleased to get out of the preseason relatively healthy, but he was disappointed with how his team played in the final half.

"I was very direct with them after the game. I said, 'Some of you hurt yourselves after we gave you every opportunity,"' Marinelli said.

Notes

Lions RB Kevin Jones (foot) was examined Thursday, and the team plans to decide Friday whether he will be active for the first six weeks of the season. ... Detroit FB Jon Bradley (should) was hurt in the first half, but Marinelli didn't think the injury was serious. ... Bills LB Keith Ellison (ankle) was injured, but an X-ray showed it was just a sprain. ... Nall was 3-of-5 for 29 yards. ... Detroit opens at Oakland while Buffalo hosts Denver. ... Michigan basketball coach John Beilein, a native of upstate N.Y., attended the game.
 09-01-2007, 01:15 PM         #166
QueenzBaller26 
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ddaammmnn.. yall dont geta break huh
 09-01-2007, 06:09 PM         #167
PinoyKing 
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You guys cut a 4th-Round pick AJ Davis, pretty odd.
Why would you draft a guy that high and then cut him?
Not like you guys are loaded at Corner anyways.
 10 years ago '04        #168
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cause he proly fu*king sucked..... thats the only way u get cut on this team.... even the injury get to stay.. sad but true....
 10 years ago '04        #169
MiamiDade 55 heat pts55
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wats up with the avy bet, n*ggas!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?
 10 years ago '04        #170
onlyonesmoke 2 heat pts
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Detroit is going down in oaktown... the place is going to be packed!!!!!! and i will be in the building like awayz.....
 10 years ago '04        #171
.Mase Da Rula.|M 1 heat pts
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Im the only lion fan dont yall get it...
 10 years ago '05        #172
Garnet & Gold 42 heat pts42
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[pic - click to view]



Mason lonely much?
 10 years ago '04        #173
onlyonesmoke 2 heat pts
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 LordMason DaRula said:
Im the only lion fan dont yall get it...

lol... dont worry... i will be here for you till the game.... Raiders all the way... its about to go down at Mcfee.... Raiders nation...YEEEEEEEEE
 10 years ago '06        #174
banga 8 heat pts
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yall are next. mark the impending a.ss whooping on your calenders.




  1 - 0 STRK: 1 w in a row WIN PCT: 100% 322 (0) 
  Career: | Aug 14: 1-0, Rank #474 | Aug 12: 1-1, Rank #832 | Aug 11: 2-2, Rank #801 | Aug 10: 73-38, Rank #99 | Aug 09: 2-2, Rank #404 | Aug 08: 12-6, Rank #342 *
 10 years ago '05        #175
The Utmost 1 heat pts
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 LordMason DaRula said:
Im the only lion fan dont yall get it...
this why i respect dude
 09-09-2007, 03:36 PM         #176
QueenzBaller26 
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ooooo wweee


lions got some life in em huh

can this be the year???????? can this be the year the black and blue division come back ????

i hope so man
 10 years ago '04        #177
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we got u vikes next week.. u lucky ya rookie rb doing things....

we'll see week two....

avy bet any 1??
 10 years ago '04        #178
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Ex-Lion Utley knows what lies ahead for Bills' Everett
By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
September 10, 2007

Mike Utley didn't see the hit until the next day.

Now, he can't stop following the updates on the health of Buffalo reserve tight end Kevin Everett, who suffered a severe spinal injury that could leave him paralyzed while making a tackle against Denver on Sunday.

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Utley's concern for Everett is genuine and personal.

It's been nearly 16 years since Utley, a former Detroit Lions guard, was paralyzed after a neck injury in a Nov. 1991 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Utley was blocking on a pass play when he was hit and crumbled to the ground. As he was carted off the field, Utley gave a "thumbs up" gesture to the crowd.

"You do everything you can to prepare yourself. But this can happen," Utley said Monday from his home in Washington state. "I'm sorry to see this young man got hurt."

While Utley is paralyzed below the chest, he has regained most of the use of his hands and some voluntary movement of muscles in his lower legs and feet.

The 41-year-old Utley proudly claimed he can bench press 300 pounds. He's also 80 pounds lighter than his playing weight of 315 pounds.

"I'm diligent about taking care of myself," Utley said. "It's mandatory that I do this."

Everett's injury occurred when he ducked his head while tackling Denver's Domenik Hixon on the opening kickoff of the second half.

"It was a clean shot," Utley said. "There was nothing wrong and nothing vicious."

After his injury, Utley went to Craig Hospital in Denver, a world-class facility that specializes in spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

He's hoping Everett receives first-class care as well.

"I'm sorry to be crass and blunt, but we have a young man who's a great athlete, and now we have to get him to a place where he'll have the best chance to win," Utley said. "He got to the NFL through hard work. He knows how to work hard. He's going to need that to get better. If there's a will, there's a way. If there's a way, there's a chance to win."

Utley is busy these days promoting his bike tour that takes place Sept. 29 in eastern Washington. The purpose of the ride is to raise funds to help find a cure for paralysis. Utley also has a foundation dedicated to finding a cure.

"My wife gets 100 e-mails a day on spinal cord injuries," Utley said. "We want to help. You can either sit around, feel sorry for yourself and wait for a cure, or do something about it.

"The image I want to project is I'm still an athlete. I'm still very muscular. But I have earned the right to be back this way. I condition, lift weights and eat well."

On the Net:
 10 years ago '04        #179
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Winners, losers and other thoughts: Week 1
By James C. Black, Yahoo! Sports
September 9, 2007

James C. Black
Yahoo! Sports
So Bobby Petrino, are you still telling me you have no regrets?

No one could blame you when you sat at a summer news conference, surrounded by your Atlanta Falcons bosses Arthur Blank and Rich McKay, and stated, "I have absolutely no regrets about taking this job. I'm very motivated and energetic toward the challenge." Realistically, who would stand up in a moment of weakness after officially learning Joey Harrington is the starting quarterback instead of Michael Vick and say, "I want out?" But there's no way coach Petrino doesn't look at what his old team, the Louisville Cardinals, did on Thursday night or what former Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub did in his debut for the Houston Texans against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday and not wonder "what if."

As the suspended Vick was likely enjoying what's left of his freedom Sunday afternoon, Harrington & Co. did what was anticipated – they struggled against the Minnesota Vikings. OK, enough with the pleasantries – they stunk up the Dome. Only consolation: It was the Metrodome and not the Georgia Dome, a place where many boo birds will be heard if the Vickless Falcons are regularly limited to a single field goal.

Meanwhile, Schaub showed he's more than a preseason darling. The one-time Falcon, traded shortly before the NFL Draft, helped continue the horrific year for Falcons fans. Schaub connected on a long touchdown pass to Andre Johnson and finished with 225 passing yards as Houston trounced the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-3.

But that's OK, Bobby. Maybe this "challenge" will lead to the No. 1 pick in next year's draft, where you can select Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm.

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Here are some other observations gleaned while channel surfing NFL Sunday Ticket during Week 1:

Biggest winners: The three franchises that realized or re-established that they have clutch kickers. Jason Elam continued to prove he's one of the best kickers of all time when he calmly hit a 42-yarder with no time left as the Denver Broncos beat the Buffalo Bills, 15-14. Conversely, the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins turned to young kickers Mason Crosby and Shaun Suisham to notch victories in the waning moments and in overtime.

Biggest losers: I could easily go with a predictable choice here: the Cleveland Browns, Rex Grossman, Harrington or J.P. Losman. Instead, I'm going to pick on a couple of guys from the "Show Me Nothing" state. So much for the Chiefs' whole Damon Huard-Brodie Croyle debate. A couple more outings like this (168 passing yards, three sacks, two interceptions) and Huard will find himself holding the clipboard. Meanwhile, the "next big thing" in fantasy football, Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams, was a Week 1 bust: 61 total yards, no touchdowns and two fumbles.

Biggest "flip flop" of the day: I was all set to bash the Oakland Raiders for starting Josh McCown over Daunte Culpepper, but then the Raiders rallied for a 21-20 lead over the Detroit Lions so I figured I would give them the benefit of the doubt for another week. After their implosion, though, I'm back to my initial thought: It's bad enough that No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell was somewhere other than suited up at RaiderNation. But Culpepper, by all accounts, performed the best among the active quarterbacks and you start McCown? Maybe, just maybe, there's a reason why the Raiders are 15-50 since getting spanked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl x*xVII.

Wishful thinking: As I watched Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio stroll the sideline wearing a suit and tie, I thought: It would be cool to see Bill Belichick ditch the hoody (or in the case of Sunday, the league-issued polo shirt) for just one week and go all Armani on folks. I know it's too much to ask, but I reserve the right to hold out hope.

Most impressive rookie debut: It's unfortunate that starter Chester Taylor had to leave the game early with a hip injury, but raise your hand if you're surprised that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has already made his presence felt. Clearly, Peterson's health is a question mark, but if he stays on the field, don't be surprised to see him put up numbers closely resembling Sunday's: 103 rushing yards, 60 receiving yards, one touchdown.

Most impressive moment: New England Patriots coaches had to be thinking "no, no" when Ellis Hobbs fielded a kickoff eight yards deep in the end zone and ran it out … until he broke a tackle near their 22-yard line and took it to the house for the longest kickoff return in NFL history.

Most impressive catch: Tennessee Titans tight end Bo Scaife's twisting catch between Rashean Mathis and Gerald Sensabaugh on the sideline in the first quarter against the Jaguars should hold up as one of the top 10 catches of the season.

Go ahead and say "I told you so": All offseason, I vehemently explained why the Patriots are not the team to beat, suggesting they would struggle establishing chemistry at wide receiver; Adalius Thomas was not a cure-all to their issues at linebacker; and injuries (Richard Seymour) and such (Rodney Harrison's suspension) will put plenty of zzzzzs in the armor. Great debut by Randy Moss, but even after beating down the Jets, I'm sticking to my stance.

Decisions that need to be re-thought: Following the Packers' first punt, new returner Greg Lewis muffed the kickoff after briefly taking his eyes off the ball. Green Bay recovered the fumble in the end zone for the game's first touchdown. In the fourth quarter, as the ball bounced with five Packers in the vicinity, Lewis decided to field the ball in an attempt to save a couple of yards. The risky move prompted an announcer to say: "Greg Lewis is doing a good job of letting everyone know he has never returned punts before." Eagles coach Andy Reid was probably thinking the same thing.

The other "Mr. Clutch": I know Adam Vinatieri is regarded as the best kicker of this era, so much so that people are already suggesting he should be the second kicker (behind Jan Stenerud) inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Given his credentials (the "Tuck Rule" game, Super Bowls x*xVI and x*xVIII), I won't dispute that, but let's not overlook Elam's accomplishments. With his frantic kick with no time remaining against the Bills on Sunday, he has delivered yet another game-winner for the Broncos. Almost as impressive, his make against the Bills kept alive his streak of never having missed three field-goal attempts in one game.

Annoying useless fact: During the Eagles-Packers game, one of the announcers made this remark regarding Green Bay rookie Mason Crosby: "He also holds the record for the longest field goal (58 yards) above sea level without a tee in NCAA history." Two words: Who cares?

Impressive yet underrated offseason signing: If the opener is any indication, the Titans made an incredibly smart move with the relatively cheap (one year, $1.8 million) re-signing of running back Chris Brown. All he did was finish with 175 yards on 19 carries while the rather thick – and far from swift – LenDale White (eight carries, 66 yards) looked like he was more interested in finding some munchies than the hole.

First bad feeling of the season: I try very hard not to overreact to anything we see in the first two weeks of a new campaign. However, with a couple more horrendous efforts from the Cleveland Browns, coach Romeo Crennel will be getting his "Butch Davis on" and be unemployed before the season ends.

James C. Black is the NFL editor for Yahoo! Sports.

Updated on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 8:55 pm, EDT
 10 years ago '04        #180
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Detroit 36, Oakland 21
Preview - Box Score - Recap

By JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer
September 9, 2007

Detroit Lions defensive end Dewayne White, left, is congratulated by teammate Detroit Lions defensive tackle Langston Moore, right, after Dewayne recovered a fumble during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007. Detroit won 36-21.
AP - Sep 9, 8:43 pm EDT
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A 17-point lead quickly turned into a one-point deficit. The opposing crowd was roaring its approval. The kind of situation that would have doomed the Detroit Lions a year ago was easily overcome in the season opener.

Jon Kitna backed up his big boasts by throwing a go-ahead, 32-yard touchdown pass to Shaun McDonald with 4:15 remaining, and Dewayne White caused two turnovers in the closing minutes to help the Lions spoil Lane Kiffin's coaching debut in Oakland with a 36-21 victory over the Raiders on Sunday.

"I said during the offseason that how we handle adversity will be telling for this ballclub," Kitna said. "I think we're starting to turn the corner on that now. Guys are expecting to make plays now, and you saw the results."

Kitna predicted in the offseason that the Lions would end a string of six double-digit loss seasons with at least 10 wins. That was heady stuff for a team coming off a 3-13 season. But Detroit lost eight of those games by seven or fewer points, lacking a few big plays at clutch times.

Kitna and White delivered in the season opener.

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The matchup between the NFL's two worst teams from a year ago turned highly entertaining in the second half when former Lions backup quarterback Josh McCown led the Raiders on three touchdown drives to turn a 17-0 deficit into a 21-20 Oakland lead with 7:43 to go.

Kitna then completed four of five passes on the game-winning drive, capping it with his third touchdown pass of the game. Facing no pressure, Kitna moved around in the pocket until McDonald broke open in the end zone for the score. McDonald then taunted the fans in Oakland's Black Hole, celebrating the go-ahead score.

"In the fourth quarter, when it got loud, we didn't blink," Kitna said. "We kept executing and doing what we needed to do."

The Lions added to the lead when Jason Hanson kicked a 23-yard field goal with 2 minutes left after McCown was intercepted by White.

White then stripped McCown on the next play and recovered a fumble to set up a 14-yard score by Tatum Bell that iced the game. White's big plays validated the $13 million in guaranteed money the Lions gave him in the offseason to sign with Detroit.

"He's a playmaker," coach Rod Marinelli said. "He's always been that, and it's his time. He's got the keys to the car."

Kitna finished 27-for-36 for 289 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Bell added 87 yards rushing on 15 carries as the Lions gained 392 yards against last year's third-ranked defense.

Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, left, talks with Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli, right, after their NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007, in Oakland, Calif. the Lions defeated the Raiders 36-21.
AP - Sep 9, 8:15 pm EDT
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"With that amount of points, we should be able to win football games," Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison said. "We just didn't pull it out."

Despite the loss, the Raiders showed much more offensive spunk than they did a year ago, when they managed only 12 touchdowns on offense on the way to a 2-14 season. McCown, who beat out Daunte Culpepper for the starting job, completed 30 of 40 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns, but also turned the ball over three times.

Ronald Curry had 10 catches for 133 yards and a 4-yard score and LaMont Jordan scored on a 12-yard run and had 159 yards of total offense. But McCown's focus is on the missed opportunities.

"It just makes me sick," McCown said. "I dwell more on the negatives right now, the turnovers and the things like that. Those are the things that I go over and over in my mind."

Kiffin, 32, became the youngest man to coach a game in the NFL since Harland Svare took over the Los Angeles Rams as a 31-year old in 1962. The Raiders fans disagreed with his decision to start McCown, booing the offense and chanting "Daunte! Daunte!" after McCown was intercepted early in the third quarter.

"Fans have the right to their opinions," Kiffin said. "After the third touchdown in a row they weren't chanting for Daunte anymore."

That first interception set up a 16-yard TD pass from Kitna to Calvin Johnson that made it 17-0. Making that score even worse was the fact that the Raiders passed on the chance to draft Johnson, picking quarterback JaMarcus Russell instead. While Russell remains unsigned in a contract dispute, Johnson had four catches for 70 yards in his debut.

"There's definitely a winning attitude here," Johnson said. "I wasn't here, but a lot of guys say it's totally different around here this year. This is a great way to come out and get started."

McCown then put it together in Oakland's best offensive stretch in years. He threw a 42-yard pass to Curry that set up Curry's touchdown. That ended a stretch of 232 minutes, 44 seconds without a touchdown for the Raiders, dating to last season.

They got into the end zone again less than 3 minutes later. Stanford Routt's interception of a pass that deflected off Roy Williams' hands set up Jordan's score that cut it to 17-14. A 7-yard pass to Justin Griffith on the next drive gave Oakland the lead, but Kitna made sure it wouldn't last.

Notes

Sebastian Janikowski missed three long field goals in the first half for Oakland, just the third in his career he missed three field goals in a game. ... Raiders C Jeremy Newberry left with a thumb injury after one series. ... Detroit RB T.J. Duckett left in the first quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return.
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