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Lions vs. 49ers: What Just Happened?

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A collection of thoughts on the Lions week two game

NFL: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

What’s worse? Getting blown out on national television by a bad Jets team or coming within an inch of a win in San Francisco? I think most people will go with the first one here, but for me, it’s the second, simply because the second had me pacing around the house with my heart beating like crazy, only to feel disappointment and sadness in the end. The Lions lose their Week 2 matchup with the 49ers, 30-27.

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

Not quite the bounceback you hoped Stafford would have...

... but it was a bounceback nonetheless. Matthew Stafford looked like his old self for the most part on Sunday. He threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns. He even completed 63.3 percent of his passes. On paper, this looks like a pretty dang good game.

But to steal from the FOX broadcast, this game was all about almosts, and Matthew had a lot of them on Sunday, specifically on deep passes. Stafford tried to hit Marvin Jones Jr. on a long pass three times and the two just couldn’t connect on any of them. I’ll give Stafford plenty of flack for overthrowing, but I’ll also give Jones some flack for being a step behind on Sunday. Which brings me to my next point.

The Lions receivers are right on the top of the ladder, but they won’t reach for the belt

The Lions receivers remind me of a ladder match in the WWE. They’re slowly climbing the ladder and they’re almost there. Almost to glory. Then this happens.

Look at Marvin go through that table.

What I’m getting at here is for the last two weeks, the Lions receivers, specifically Marvin Jones, have been in position to make a major play and then they drop the ball or the ball goes through their hands or they just get fingertips on it. It’s eating the Lions’ chances at victory alive.

But it oddly gives me hope. If the Lions are able to connect on these moments in the immediate future, they can be that elite offensive unit that everyone knows they have the potential to be. If they don’t, I‘ll jump through a table myself like I’m from Buffalo.

You’re killing me, Theo

I won’t ride Theo Riddick too hard here. These things happen. But Theo-riddick-ly, if he catches one of those passes at the end of the game, we’re talking about a whole different ending to the game. Dang it, Theo!

The Lions defense was actually okay

They can’t stop the run to save their lives, but the Lions defense put on a decent show down the stretch on Sunday. They were able to stop a 49ers offense that had been running all over them all day, and it gave the offense a chance to come back. They only allowed three points and 51 yards in the fourth quarter.

But that wasn’t all. The Lions actually had a pass rush on Sunday, too. They managed to get to Jimmy Garoppolo six times. That is very encouraging, especially since we can all agree the pass rush looked like the Lions’ biggest issue over the summer.

In the secondary, losing Slay for any amount of time is going to suck, but even without Slay, the Lions were getting some good coverage at times. Some of that coverage led to a few of those sacks we were talking about.

But alas, it was the Lions’ secondary that did them in in the end. Tracy Walker almost made a name for himself when he grabbed what looked to be a huge interception to set up the Lions in the red zone for a chance to win. But then that thing happened. You know the thing.

The Lions shot themselves in the foot with penalties

This thing. I absolutely loathe this. It’s the thing that makes me want to turn the Lions off and go listen to Mumford and Sons in my basement until I fall asleep.

You know you secretly like them as much as I do. You also know you don’t know why.

The Lions committed 10 penalties for 105 yards in all. The thing about them is that they all happened in moments when the Lions were gaining momentum. I’m specifically talking about the back-to-back holding calls on Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow that took the Lions from first-and-10 in the red zone to first-and-27 and an eventual long field goal.

This isn’t new. The Lions have been doing this for years and I can’t understand why. It sucks to watch other teams march down the field unabated while the Lions push themselves backwards. Speaking of push.

Blount showed he can still be a hot head

I’m not going to react like so many people on social media did. I saw a lot of people with this dumb take: “At least Blount is showing that he cares.” How? By setting his own team back and potentially costing them another possession?

The players do care. They’re not Vontae Davis. They won’t retire at halftime. If you need blatant idiocy to feel good about the team, I just think that’s dumb. This helped nobody. This not only put the Lions back a few yards, it also put them down to just one running back for a short period of time while Riddick was dealing with an injury.

I sincerely hope that’s the last time Blount does something like that and you should too. There’s just no room for that when you’re down three scores.

Like I said, I still come away somewhat encouraged

To go back to the FOX broadcast team one more time, the game of almost means something to me. It means that someday those almosts will turn into wins, and I think the Lions are just inches away from that. It’s all about the little things right now. I’m a crazy person and everyone knows that. But I still think there’s a winning record in here somewhere. I even think there’s postseason berth.

Don’t get me wrong. I still think there’s also a giant chance that this season turns into an unmitigated disaster and the Lions get a great draft pick in April. I could go either way at this point, but what I’m really hoping for is that the Lions decide which team they’re going to be already, because my heart can’t take much more of this.