The Detroit Lions season opener against the New York Jets on Monday night was definitely a football game… I think. Detroit got ran over and almost the entire team looked terrible as they were embarrassed 48-17 on Monday Night Football. Here are a few things we learned from an absolutely putrid performance.
The coaching is still bad
The Lions looked like a team that was not ready. They were outclassed in every part of the game by a team that had less talent than them on the field. Matthew Stafford played one of his worst game ever. The play calling was terrible – Detroit was running the ball still down 24 points late in the third – and the offense struggled throughout. The defense looked unprepared as well, like when Nevin Lawson and Tavon Wilson didn’t know who’s responsibility it was to pick up Robby Anderson in coverage leading to a long touchdown. This performance would be inexcusable in a preseason game and the entire Lions coaching staff has to go back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong.
The run defense is still bad
Coming into the season we all had some concerns about the Lions run defense. They were steam rolled by the likes of Peyton Barber and Chris Warren in preseason, but we also hoped that the team would look better once Patricia’s game plan went into full effect Week 1. Isaiah Crowell had 102 yards on 10 carries, including a long 62 yard touchdown run. New York’s top two running backs combined for 7.3 yards per carry. Jarrad Davis, Jaylen Reeves-Maybin and Christian Jones all had awful days in run defense and one of the Lions biggest weaknesses from last season seems to have carried over into the new one.
The run game is still bad
Detroit invested heavily in their run game this offseason, adding LeGarrette Blount, Kerryon Johnson and Frank Ragnow to the mix. We still have not seen the results, though. The team averaged 2.6 yards per carry, including a -3 yard day for Blount and 3.4 yards per carry for Johnson. Theo Riddick, a glorified slot receiver, was the teams leading rusher wit 20 yards on 4 carries. Adding a run game to the offense was supposed to be the key to the Lions success, but for now it seems like Detroit still has a lot to figure out.
The secondary is bad
The Lions secondary started the season off with a bang when Quandre Diggs intercepted Sam Darnold for a touchdown on the team’s first snap of the season. It was all downhill from there. Nevin Lawson was beat twice for touchdowns and rarely looked like he knew where he was supposed to be on the field. Glover Quin had a quiet day. When Darius Slay went out with an injury it was Jamal Agnew, not Teez Tabor, who replaced him, meaning that last year’s second round pick may have totally fallen out of favor with the coaching staff before his career could even find its footing. They were playing against a rookie quarterback with a sub-par offensive line in front of him. They allowed that rookie to gash them all night as they walked off the field embarrassed.
We were right to be concerned after preseason
Detroit looked awful in preseason and it carried into the regular season. All the same issues that haunted the team in preseason still exist. The secondary that looked bad in preseason looked bad. The run defense that looked bad in preseason looked bad. This performance should not have been surprising as it was.