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3 takeaways from the Lions’ loss to Washington


Detroit Lions v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions fell to 3-7-1 on the year after losing one of the most winnable games of their schedule in Washington. The offenses failure to do anything all day and a late interception from quarterback Jeff Driskel condemned them, and they lost 19-16 on a last-second field goal from Dustin Hopkins. Here are a few takeaways from a rough day in the nation’s capital:

Rough day for the pass protection

Driskel spent much of the day under siege as the Lions offensive line failed to protect him. While dealing with Washington’s pass rush that features the likes of Ryan Kerrigan and first-round pick Montez Sweat is a tall task, the Lions needed to do better. The tackles had trouble sealing the edges of the pocket for their quarterback and running back Ty Johnson had a few costly whiffs when tasked with protection as well.

Driskel tried to make the most of what he had, often bailing out of the pocket and running the ball on his own. The quarterback still had a bit of trouble dealing with pressure, though, taking a few sacks he could have avoided while failing to complete any substantial passes after bailing from the pocket.

While a lot of the offense’s failures in recent weeks can be explained by Matthew Stafford’s back injury, the offensive line has been playing so badly that it does not matter who is back there. They need to do a better job protecting the quarterback.

Big days for the lesser known players

When you think of the Lions, there are a few names that immediately come to mind. On offense Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kerryon Johnson. On defense the likes of Darius Slay and Trey Flowers come to mind. It was the stars we would least expect that shined in Washington, though.

Jahlani Tavai had a great game, constantly filling run gaps and being a nuisance up front for the opposing offense. Miles Killebrew, who had recently become an afterthought in Detroit, came back to life as a third-down specialist and made a few big stops for the defense. Amani Oruwariye, the rookie who had not even featured on defense until last week, snagged a crucial interception late in the game to stop what looked like a promising Washington drive.

As the Lions have been decimated by injuries and the season is all but over, the younger, lesser-known players shining is the best thing that can happen. It sets some sort of foundation for the future, and gives Detroit a better look at what they may have going forward. It’s also always great to see guys who usually do not show up on highlight reels get their chance to shine.

Rough day for the secondary

Outside of Oruwariye, it is hard to name any members of the Lions defensive backfield that can walk away from Sunday’s game proud of their performance. Former All-pro corner Darius Slay had a rough time dealing with rookie receiver Terry McLaurin and was often bailed out by errant passes by Dwayne Haskins. Will Harris was as bad as usual, and struggled without his usual partner-in-missed-tackles-crime Tracy Walker. Tavon Wilson was fine, but did not make his usual impact in the run game.

The secondary had its three best pieces available in Slay, Wilson and Justin Coleman, but still struggled. If not for Washington’s trainwreck of an offense, they would have given up way more points. This could be a problem for them going forward.