The Detroit Lions now stand atop the NFC North. They improved to 4-2 on the season with a 31-17 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, a game during which they were down 17-7 at halftime and Calvin Johnson was little more than a decoy on the field.
The Browns, meanwhile, saw a streak of three straight wins come to an end. As Chris Pokorny at Browns blog Dawgs By Nature points out, the Lions seemed to be the beneficiaries of several curious calls by the officials. That said, the Browns made plenty of big mistake of their own to let the Lions storms through them in the second half.
At the end of the day, though, Cleveland has themselves to blame. They couldn't generate a lick of pressure on Matthew Stafford. Despite the fact that Johnson was largely a decoy, Reggie Bush provided a spark for the Lions. Inside linebacker Craig Robertson did not have a good day in coverage, and the defense allowed an undrafted free agent tight end, Joseph Fauria, to catch three touchdown passes against them and do a stupid touchdown dance after each of them.
Unlike during their Week 5 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Lions were able to get generate a passing attack even with Johnson hobbled. Tight end Joseph Fauria came through, in particular, according to Sean Yuille at Lions blog Pride Of Detroit.
Fauria had 3 targets, 3 catches and 3 touchdowns on Sunday. Now that's efficiency. He has proven that he is a big-time weapon in the red zone, but I want to see more of him before the Lions get inside the 20-yard line. Brandon Pettigrew has really stepped it up as of late, but especially with Tony Scheffler out, Fauria deserves even more looks. He's been reliable when the ball has come his way, unlike most Lions targets, and I really want to see them unleash Fauria now that he's been "freed."
Highlight of the game? Definitely the weiner dog races.