COMMENTARY | Everyone knew Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) wide receiver A.J. Green had the ability to have a monster game, and he didn't waste any time against the Detroit Lions (4-3) on Sunday, October 20.
Not to be outdone, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson also tore up the Bengals secondary as Johnson found the end zone twice, the first time he has done that since Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.
But a couple of special teams miscues coupled with the weak play of the secondary for the Lions helped the Bengals get the win.
Here are four things we learned in the Lions' Week 7 loss to the Bengals:
Lions had too many special teams miscues
The Lions found themselves leading 10-7 nearing the end of the second quarter looking to extend that lead to 13-7. David Akers attempted a 34-yard field goal, but it was blocked and returned to the Lions' 40-yard line.
The officials missed a blatant forward lateral during the return as Reggie Nelson passed the ball to Dre Kirkpatrick. Nelson would have been down at the Bengals' 46-yard line.
After the blocked field goal, the Bengals scored seven plays later to go up 14-10 just before the first half ended.
Another special teams miscue happened near the end of the game as the teams were tied 24-24. Lions punter Sam Martin shanked a punt that went just 28 yards putting the Bengals on their own 49-yard line.
Dalton threw two short passes to get the Bengals to the Detroit 36-yard line, and Mike Nugent made the game-winning field goal as time expired.
A lot of people will put the blame on Martin as to why the Lions didn't win the game. Obviously, his punt didn't help, but he isn't the sole reason. If you had told me before the game the Lions would be tied with the Bengals nearing the end of the game, I would gladly take that. Especially with the stat line Dalton had, but more on that later.
It's not easy to win games in the NFL. Not to mention, Martin has been a stud as far as punts go. He even had a 65-yard punt at the beginning of the game to pin the Bengals on their own 10-yard line. Martin isn't the sole reason the Lions lost this game.
Dalton, Green torch Lions secondary
We knew Green had the ability to have a monster game, and he didn't disappoint. He got things going early with an 82-yard touchdown catch just minutes into the game. Green finished with six catches for 155 yards and one touchdown.
It wasn't just Green who was making the Lions secondary look silly. Jermaine Gresham had 64 yards, Marvin Jones had 57 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler Eifert had 45 yards and his first career touchdown.
In all, Dalton passed for 372 yards and three touchdowns completing nearly 71 percent of his passes. The Lions couldn't sustain any pressure on Dalton, and he had time to go through his reads and choose the best option. Detroit had just one sack.
Stafford and Johnson also had a big day. Johnson caught nine passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns, and Stafford was 28 of 51 passing for 357 yards and three touchdowns.
Stafford was forced to throw for a large portion of the game as the Lions couldn't establish a running game, and the Bengals scored on their opening drive of the second half to take a quick 21-10 lead.
Lions stymie Bengals running game
One of the big question marks was how the Lions would do against the Bengals ground game. Between Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals ran the ball for just 51 yards.
Considering how poor the Lions run defense has been, I consider that a huge win. Of course, it didn't matter in the end as the secondary wasn't able to keep up with the Lions impressive run-stopping defense.
It's good to see the run defense make some stops, but it won't do the Lions any good in the long run if the secondary continues to give up big plays through the air.
Bengals quiet dancing machine Joseph Fauria
After a three-touchdown performance against the Cleveland Browns last week, the Lions were looking to get rookie tight end Joseph Fauria more involved in the offense.
It didn't work against the Bengals as Fauria had just one catch for 15 yards on four targets. Stafford was a bit off in his passes for a good majority of the game, which hurt Fauria's chances of making an impact.
Hopefully, the Lions don't abandon Fauria next week. He still has a lot of upside, and I'll chalk this performance up to Stafford being just a bit off on a good portion of his throws.
The Lions face a banged-up Dallas Cowboys team next Sunday before heading into the bye week. The Lions need a win if they want to salvage the second quarter of their season with a .500 record and keep up with the Packers and Bears.
Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Lions for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.
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