Examining The Physical Errors That Led To The Lions’ Big Second Quarter

By Matthew Marczi

There is no doubt that errors of both a physical and mental variety on the defensive side of the ball led the Detroit Lions to 27 points in the second quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ last game, which they were able to overcome in the fourth quarter.

Examples of each are plentiful, but let’s stick with the physical errors for now, starting with a pair of missed tackles late in the first quarter that helped lead to a scoring drive early in the second for the Lions.

Running back Joique Bell got things started with two minutes remaining in the first quarter on an 18-yard run. He not only ran past a diving Troy Polamalu effort, he cut back across Ryan Clark and Will Allen. It’s one thing when your safeties miss tackles on the same play under normal circumstances, but when you have three on the field and they all miss? And Bell isn’t exactly the most fleet of foot.

Just two plays later was the first of many demerits on the day for Ike Taylor, who not only allowed Calvin Johnson to record his first reception, but proceeded to badly whiff on the tackle to allow a first down. You can talk about how hard it is to tackle Johnson all you want, but this particular effort would not have brought down a small child. In fairness, however, Taylor did swipe his towel. If this were flag football, that would have been a great effort.

At least that missed tackle only led to a few extra yards and a first down though.

Blame Ryan Clark all you want for bailing out on an underneath route rather than sticking to an over-under with Taylor on Johnson. That doesn’t change the fact that Taylor missed the tackle on the 34-yard line.

This is simply a poor tackling effort, and I’m surprised to see the amount of defenders he’s gotten this week. His missed tackles were bad. His tackling in general this year has been on the decline. Yes, it’s Calvin Johnson. If you know it’s Calvin Johnson, you approach the tackle accordingly.

Now this one has nothing to do with a missed tackle, but it most certainly is a physical error. Watch closely. Did you notice? The Lions sent a receiver on a crossing route over the middle with William Gay chasing. Little did he realize Lawrence Timmons was running the other way to shadow the back out of the backfield. The two collided and Bell got a free release with a caravan of linemen in front of him for a 37-yard gain. Bell found the end zone two plays later.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.


    In the first GIF, Al Woods and Steve McLendon are giving Heyward and Hood a breather. Watch McLendon’s motor and his launch on the tackle. When do we see Heyward and McLendon together? They seem to wreak the most havoc.

  • steeltown

    Wow that first gif is hard to watch..and I love Ike and Clark but they are definitely starting to show their age, Clark more than Ike, week after week I see Clark miss tackles that even a year ago he would’ve made. That angle he takes in the first gif is terrible.


    I can’t help but hear Curly saying “woob woob woob woob woob” during the run.

  • srdan

    Nice find.

    I do agree that the combo sounds great, but in todays passing NFL those big bodies are meant for run stopping. But since our LBs aren’t producing pressure consistently, why not try?


    McLendon did stop the run………… 18 yards downfield.

  • cencalsteeler

    The tackling by the secondary is embarrassing. Lunging with their heads down and a lot of arm tackling. I can’t believe this has not been addressed by the media yet, or better yet, been resolved by Lake.

  • Impact3697

    Clark actually played pretty decent against the run other than that missed tackle on Bell.

    The plays that bug me, are the two deep pass plays where he jumped a shallower route, only to see the pass be thrown deep over his head.

    One to Calvin Johnson, where at the least he and Taylor could have gang tackled him, and held him to 50 yards

    The other late in the game, on a similar play, this time to Gay’s man, Ogeltree. The ball was dropped but it should’ve been another 50 yard pass play

    On both of these plays he should’ve stayed deep, and provided help to the cb’s. It seems Clark is gambling this year more than ever, when playing deep safety. In year’s past, when we were successful on d, Clark was the patient, stay at home safety, and Polo was the one gambling a bit. This year, it seems to be both of them..

  • blackandgoldBullion

    They used to get pressure with only 4-5 guys when the defense was great. This allowed plenty of guys to cover, safeties could stay at home and on occasion you would get a surprise CB or safety blitz that would cause chaos.

    Now they find themselves gambling more out of necessity. Hopefully they are just 1 or 2 pieces away from getting the correct mix. Hey, maybe they just need a little more experience.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    On the 2nd Ike wif, it was the same pattern that Will Allen got his pick from. f you look at the coaches tape the corner should have rotated to the deep part on that side of the field. Don’t care if you re superman, no one covers CJ the whole field and when you have that much room to cover you are vulnerable.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s not about the coverage, it’s about the poor tackling.

  • alex

    they look like our tackles trying to block an outside speed rush…

    but in all seriousness, im afraid of life without Ike and Clark next year, even given there current problems…