Friday’s game couldn’t have got off to a worse start for the Detroit Lions (aside from suffering a major injury). For the entire first quarter, the Lions were outclassed by the Patriots in every phase of the game: offense, defense and special teams.
But then something funny happened. Before the first teams left the field, but after spotting the Patriots a 24-point lead, the Lions settled in and started to compete. Matthew Stafford threw touchdown passes on back-to-back drives and left the game only down 24-14.
The second team would keep the momentum going and Detroit would eventually score 28-straight points to retake the lead. Though they ended up losing the game on a last-second field, the full box score ended up shockingly close. Detroit actually outgained the Patriots 417-393, though much of that was gained well after the first teams were resting on the bench.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you feel better, worse or the same about the Lions after their loss to the Patriots?
My answer: Well, I certainly don’t feel any better or even the same as before Friday. The question here is do I feel a little worse or a lot worse?
The Lions defense couldn’t have looked any different from the team the Lions sported against Christian Hackenberg and Scott Tolzien in the previous two weeks. Not only did they give up three straight touchdowns to start the game, but they put up almost no resistance to New England. Over the course of those three drives, the Patriots faced just one third down.
Obviously the Patriots offense is the pinnacle of the NFL, but the biggest concern with the Lions defense is that many of the problems that plagued the unit in 2016 reared their ugly heads on Friday. Detroit could not cover slot receivers nor tight ends. The Lions couldn’t generate much of any pressure from their front four—or even when they blitzed. The Lions cornerbacks were occasionally in tight coverage, but when they were, they failed to make a play on the ball.
These were all of the problems we hoped were a thing of the past when Detroit added DJ Hayden, Jarrad Davis, Cornelius Washington and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. It’s clear there are still some issues there.
The offense was just as concerning. It took five failed drives for Matthew Stafford and the rest of the offense to find their bearings. Detroit showed no ability to run the ball early, was prone to back-breaking mistakes, and Stafford looked human in the first quarter. Thankfully, the Lions offense eventually snapped out of it, but it was still a lesser performance than expected.
This is all to say, I’m not really sure what to feel about the Lions right now. The talent level of their opponents went from one extreme to the other, and as a result, so did the play of the team. I don’t like to overreact to one—or any—preseason game, but it’s hard to come out of Friday’s game with any real positive conclusions for the Lions. So, I guess I feel a lot worse this morning.
How do you feel after the Lions’ loss to the Patriots?
This poll is closed
A lot better
A little better
A little worse
A lot worse