The Detroit Lions lost to the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 27-24 on Sunday. Here are my three main takeaways from the game:
Something isn't right with Chris Houston
Houston came into Sunday's game with a -4.5 grade on the season and the worst pass coverage grade on the Lions, per Pro Football Focus. After a solid first two weeks, he's been quite bad, perhaps because he had a hamstring injury at one point. Whatever the case may be, Houston's rough season continued on Sunday with him being burned for a couple touchdowns. It got so bad that the Lions actually benched him for Darius Slay, who has been pretty inconsistent all season. Houston had to return later on after Rashean Mathis injured his groin again, and he made no excuses for his play after Sunday's game.
Chris Houston took the blame for the loss. Said he would have benched himself if the coaches hadn't.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) October 20, 2013
Chris Houston bringing the heat: "It was a wake-up call, man. That first half was probably the worst football I ever played."— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) October 20, 2013
Considering Mathis can't stay healthy and Slay isn't exactly reliable at cornerback, the Lions really need Houston to return to his 2012 form. The Lions' pass defense was awful on Sunday, and he played a big part in that.
Stop taking the ball to start games
I'll have more on this later, but will Jim Schwartz ever learn that taking the ball to start the game isn't doing anything to help the Lions? They haven't scored any points to open games this season, yet Schwartz keeps taking the ball when the Lions win the toss. Would it be that bad to mix things up for a change and let the defense hit the field first, in turn allowing the offense to start the second half with the ball?
Calvin Johnson is healthy again
Johnson didn't quite look like himself against the Cleveland Browns, likely because he wasn't 100 percent healthy. He was on the sideline quite a bit, and he only had 3 catches for 25 yards. Sunday was a much different story, though. Johnson did look like himself again, and he finished with 9 catches for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of those scores was the result of him out-jumping three defenders, so I think it's safe to say Megatron is healthy again.