It was certainly a tale of two halves on Sunday. After the Lions' offense and defense seemed to dominate both lines of scrimmage in the first half, the Chargers took over and scored 30 unanswered points until the final two minutes of the game. The Lions did a poor job of containing the Chargers on defense and did little to sustain any drives. It's only one game, but there are several things I think we know going into week two.
1. I think Ameer Abdullah is the real deal.
On Sunday Abdullah showed his skills as a runner, receiver, and return man. His touchdown was run was the highlight of the game, but it was his willingness to put his foot in the ground and head north and south that really stood out. I think Abdullah will be a matchup nightmare for opponents going forward, especially as a receiver. I don't think it's any fluke that he had four catches for 44 yards. By the end of the season he could be third on the team in catches.
2. I think the return game could actually be good this year.
After a few abysmal seasons returning the football, the Lions look like they might have a decent one-two punch in the return game. I like the idea of using both Abdullah and Tate in those roles. In Abdullah's three returns he notched 105 yards and had a long of 48 yards. In a full season last year, former returner Jeremy Ross failed to ever get more than a 41 yard kick return. I like that the Lions also aren't afraid of using Tate as a returner this year. Much like Abdullah, he's a dynamic playmaker that needs to be on the field as much as possible.
3. I think the veterans are showing their age.
It wasn't a good showing for many of the Lions' veterans on Sunday, especially on defense. Rashean Mathis was consistently beaten by Keenan Allen. James Ihedigbo was inconsistent even before his miserable tackle attempt in the open field. And Stephen Tulloch continued to look a step slow both in the physical and mental side of the game. Those are three players the Lions need to perform at a high level this season. With little depth behind any of them, they need to get better quickly or Lions could be in big trouble on defense.
4. I think the Lions need to get Calvin Johnson more involved.
I know the Lions have weapons all over the field, but four targets is just not enough. It's one thing if the Lions were able to consistently move the ball without him, but as the failed drives started to pile up it's hard not to wonder if Johnson was even on the field. I'm glad that Matthew Stafford didn't try to force the ball his way, but it's hard to accept such a limited role in a loss.
5. I think the Lions were simply out-coached in the second half.
I give the Chargers credit. They did a terrific job at diagnosing what was hurting them in the first half and dialing up a solid slate of counter moves. The Lions, on the other hand, failed to adjust to what was happening in front of them. Whether it was a failure to stop a barrage of in-breaking routes from Allen, or trying to blitz on third-and-19, it just seemed like the Chargers were a step ahead every time.