The Detroit Lions were able to push it to the very end but they inevitably fell short to the San Francisco 49ers. Detroit drops to 0-2 with a 30-27 loss and their playoff hopes already seem in doubt. Here a few things we learned in a heartbreaking loss:
Detroit needs outside help at corner
The Lions benched cornerback Nevin Lawson after he had a terrible performance against the New York Jets last week. 2017 second-round pick Teez Tabor took many of his snaps but was even worse than his predecessor. Tabor got embarrassed by rookie receiver Dante Pettis early on for a huge gain and was totally lost on a second quarter touchdown.
tabor is playing man coverge. rest of the team is playing zone coverage. walk in touchdown pic.twitter.com/pJD6rtgswQ— Mansur (@MansurShaheen) September 16, 2018
He got beat all day by everyone from Pettis to fullback Kyle Juszczyk. If neither Tabor nor Lawson can hold their own at CB2, then Detroit will need to look at either the free agent or trade markets to find help.
Matthew Stafford may have lost some of his magic
Detroit’s usually reliable Matthew Stafford is off to a shocking start to the season. While this week’s game against the 49ers was not as bad as his horrid performance against the Jets last week, it is still reason for concern. Stafford seemed to miss passes that he usually nails. His downfield accuracy was awful, missing two passes to Marvin Jones that may have been touchdowns. The quarterback missed on a lot of shorter passes as well and his ball placement was everywhere. His pocket presence was an issue last week and that seems to have carried over to Week 2 when he rolled out of the pocket and into a strip sack in the first half. The Lions usually reliable superstar quarterback is having a terrible 2018 so far and Detroit will need to alleviate whatever is wrong.
The run defense needs help
For the second straight week the Lions gave up a touchdown run of over 60 yards when Matt Breida rumbled down field for a 67-yarder in the third quarter. The defensive front has no gap integrity and the linebackers do not seem to know what angle they should take when trying to play the run from the second level. Teams will be able to run over this defense all season if nothing changes. Detroit needs to find a fix soon if the Lions are to get into the win column in the near future.
The pass rush exists
Detroit’s lack of a pass rush was one of the biggest stories all offseason and it haunted them in the season opener last week. Something seemed to have changed this week, though. The Lions pass rush had a real effect on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and they racked up 6 sacks. Linebackers Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones, Devon Kennard and Eli Harold all got in on the action as the Lions rush looked better than it has in a very long time. While the lack of quality personnel in the front-seven will always be an issue, it looks like the Lions may have creative coaching that can manage to make the most of it.