Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Tony Gutierrez/AP/Press Association Images Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson walks off the field.
# Gridiron
The Redzone: The pride of Texas mauled by Lions
We’re quarter of the way through the regular season and just two teams remain unbeaten, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Steven O’Rourke tells us how.

Detroit Lions (4-0) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

THERE ARE FEW things more pleasurable than seeing ‘America’s team’ lose. There’s a sense of entitlement about this Cowboy’s organisation – from the owner right down to the fans – you wouldn’t expect from a team that hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1995.

Indeed, they’ve only won the NFC East, not exactly a powerhouse of footballing talent, four times in the 15 years since they last won the world championship.

In fairness though, they’d every right to feel smug when they took a 27-3 lead early in the third quarter against a Lions team that were failing to live up to their preseason hype.

However, the Lions are a different organisation than the one that was the laughing stock of the NFL just two years ago. Two weeks in a row they’ve rallied from 20+ point deficits to win, putting in performances on offence and defence that mean they’re no longer just playoff contenders, they’re now genuine Super Bowl contenders.

There’s a lot of blame for this loss being levelled at Dallas QB Tony Romo but credit must go to the Lions defence who returned two of three interceptions for touchdowns and overcame an unusually quiet Ndamukong Suh.

From there, the offence and Calvin Johnson took over with Megatron becoming the first receiver in NFL history to catch two touchdown passes in each of the first four regular season games.

The Cowboys might have the most impressive stadium in the NFL, perhaps the world, but they’ve forgotten to build a team. Detroit, on the other hand,  have one of the most complete teams in the NFL. Guess which one is playoff bound?

Watch highlights here.

Performance of the week

Baltimore’s lack of offensive playmakers might ultimately cost them the AFC Championship this year but their defence is amongst the most impressive in the NFL.

In week one they destroyed the Pittsburgh Steelers and late Sunday night they ensured that Jets QB Mark Sanchez put in the worst quarterbacking performance since 2008 with a total quarterback rating of 0.6.

Indeed the Ravens got half their 34 points off three Sanchez fumbles and sealed their seventh straight victory over the Jets.

You can see highlights here.

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Play of the week

While there’s an argument for Devin Hester’s NFL record 11th punt return for the Chicago Bears, any punter that kicks to Hester should find himself collecting his P45 before the end of the game.

Instead, play of the week goes to Megatron. When you’ve a receiver who you can throw to in triple coverage and he still comes down with the ball for a touchdown, you know you’ve got something special.

See his catch here or below:

  • Detroit Lions 34 @ Dallas Cowboys 30
  • Carolina Panthers 29 @ Chicago Bears 34
  • Buffalo Bills 20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 23
  • Tennessee Titans 31 @ Cleveland Browns 13
  • Minnesota Vikings 17 @ Kansas City Chiefs 22
  • Washington Redskins 17 @ St. Louis Rams 10
  • New Orleans Saints 23 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 10
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 10 @ Houston Texans 17
  • San Francisco 49ers 24 @ Philadelphia Eagles 23
  • New York Giants 31 @ Arizona Cardinals 27
  • Atlanta Falcons 30 @ Seattle Seahawks 28
  • Miami Dolphins 16 @ San Diego Chargers 26
  • New England Patriots 31 @ Oakland Raiders 19
  • Denver Broncos 23 @ Green Bay Packers 49
  • New York Jets 17 @ Baltimore Ravens 34
  • Indianapolis Colts 17 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24

Steven O’Rourke is the Offensive Co-ordinator of Tullamore Phoenix American Football Club, winners of the IAFL DV8s national title in 2010 and 2011. Tullamore are always recruiting new players so, if you’d like to play football and not just read about it, Steven would love to hear from you.

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