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Lions vs Rams: What Just Happened?

A collection of thoughts on the Lions week 13 loss

Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

It’s days like this that I hate the Detroit Lions. Let me explain. I wasn’t supposed to care about this game. This was supposed to be a rout I could lay on the couch and watch and enjoy a nap after. This article was supposed to be like 300 words about the Lions predictably losing to the best team in football.

Then they made me care. Then the Lions showed up and got the game to within a field goal. Then the Lions lost and gave me that feeling in the pit of my stomach that I hate getting every time this team loses a game I care about. What have the Lions done to deserve this punishment?

As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts.

That was Jim Bob Cooter’s last game with the Lions

Like Babe Ruth back in the day, I’m calling my shot here today. Whether it’s Monday or Tuesday, Jim Bob Cooter will be fired this week. Why, you ask? Well, go back and watch the Lions offense against the Rams.

Consistent run plays when your team can’t run the ball, consistently handcuffing your quarterback who has one of the best arms in the NFL, running the ball on third-and-long in the red zone and leaving your quarterback out to dry with all of this slow developing nonsense.

I understand that you don’t have Golden Tate, Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones Jr. I get that, but it’s not an excuse anymore. You know what you have in a quarterback and you have to let that quarterback play his game. Cooter refuses to do that and for that reason, he must go.

Patricia tried to rocket science the Rams and only wound up rocket science-ing himself

This was a really poorly coached game for Matt Patricia. He and Paul Pasqualoni drew up a nice defense for much of the game and we’ll talk about that. But what we need to talk about first of all is the horrible mistakes he made on Sunday.

First off, your defense has been playing well all day long. You’re down by a touchdown with all three timeouts and the two-minute warning. Logic says, you bury the ball deep and let your defense do what it’s done all day.

Instead, Patricia draws up an onside kick. An onside kick that showed me the easiest onside kick recovery that I’ve ever seen. The Rams then went down and scored and put the game on ice. I will never understand why Patricia did this.

Another big problem is the Lions not going uptempo at any point on offense. I’m not going to put it all on Jim Bob Cooter. At the end of the day, this has to go through Patricia before it gets on the field. So often I feel like he’s trying to be the smartest guy in the room while doing the dumbest stuff. Running an uptempo offense has proven time and time again to work. Yet Matt Patricia both refuse to let their team succeed in the one of the only ways it can. It’s just mind-numbing.

This defense showed up

I’ll give credit where credit is due. This Rams team has been dropping points all over teams all year long. Then the Lions, of all teams, gave them a run for their money almost the entire game. I’m not sure how much I can put on the defense on the last drive after their coach spotted the opposing team 50 yards.

But they were getting to Jared Goff all day and, for the most part, had a good day against Todd Gurley... until they didn’t. Damon Harrison Sr. and A’Shawn Robinson have been something to see as of late. This is the kind of thing that has to give you a lot of hope for the 2019 season. Lions fans should be happy with the job that their defensive line has done.

But then there’s this secondary

Remember the days when this wasn’t at all what Lions fans had to worry about? Those were good days. But they’re gone.

Sure Quandre Diggs made some good plays. That interception and that pass breakup he had were phenomenal. But stuff like that comes few and far between.

Glover Quin looks like a shell of his former self and it’s truly sad. We’ve so often claimed that he was the best safety in the league, and for a long while, he was one of them. But it appears time has caught up to him and he’s just regressing every week. I think we’ll be witnessing the final four games of Quin’s time in Detroit this year, and I really hate to say that.

What is wrong with Darius Slay? In 2017 you could make an extremely strong case that he was the best corner in the NFL that year. He went to the Pro Bowl and became an All Pro, as well. This year he looks like half of that.

I still think he’s a good corner and he’s still young. This isn’t the end for Slay by any means, but there has to be a reason that he’s having such a bad year.

Whatever the reason is, Slay needs to find his game again, because it’s clear that he’s lost a step in 2018, and opposing quarterbacks no longer have any fear of him. Maybe it’s because Mike Ford and Nevin Lawson are on the other side. I don’t know.

Keep your hopes up and stuff

Things are pretty bad right now, but there’s still a handful of things about this team that give me a lot of hope for next year. If the Lions can keep Stafford protected, keep opening holes for Kerryon Johnson, get a receiver that can separate, get Golden Tate back, get a lineman that can rush the passer, completely retool the secondary, get a new offensive coordinator that can utilize the talent the teams has, have a good free agency and a have a good draft, this team is on its way.

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