When news had broke that Shaun Rogers was suspended for four games after violating the steroid policy, everyone knew that the Lions defense would suffer. I just didn't think it would be this bad so quickly.
The normal interior defensive line was completely gone in the Jets game on Sunday. Not only was Shaun Rogers suspended, but Shaun Cody was out with an injury. That meant that some makeshift work would have to be put into place. Things didn't work out so well. Inexperienced players at the defensive tackle position proved to be a weak spot in the defense.
The Jets came out on top over the Lions 31-24, and the main reason for that win was because of the run game. New York piled up a total of 221 net rushing yards that was just too much for Detroit to handle. Over and over NY just pounded it down the middle and seemed to pickup a good chunk of yards on every play.
It wasn't only the fact that the Jets were so successful on the run, but the way they did it is just frustrating. It's not like they were doing something really special or different; they just played old-fashioned, in your face football. Instead of the "three yards and a cloud of dust" theory, the Jets had a five yards and a pile of Lions type of thing working for them.
What really angers me is that the running back that hurt Detroit the most is a rookie. Leon Washington had no problem getting through the d-line, and that was the one thing that cost the Lions the game. Even when Detroit still had a chance to get the stop and possibly have the opportunity to get the ball back in the closing stages, Washington powered through to pickup the game-clinching first down.
The Lions luckily have a bye week to regroup and try to come up with a better way to stop the run, but with Shaun Rogers out for three more games and Shaun Cody continuing to have an injury, relief may not be coming soon. Even with the Cody injury, if Shaun Rogers would've been there on Sunday, I have a feeling things would've been different.
Adjustments will definitely have to be made before the next game, especially since the team coming to Detroit is the Falcons. Atlanta is one of the best rushing teams in all of the league, and with both Mike Vick and Warrick Dunn having the capability to run on you, that defensive line just has to step it up.
It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out with a decimated interior defensive line, but just look on the brightside. Shaun Rogers' first game back will be against former Lions quarterback Joey Harrington on Thanksgiving. And you can imagine Rogers will be hungry, and I'm not just talking about for a turkey dinner.