The Detroit Lions lost a wild one against the Oakland Raiders in what will be there final game in the Oakland Coliseum. A last gasp effort to tie the game came up short, and they fell 31-24, dropping back below .500 on the year with a 3-4-1 record. Here are a few takeaways from an exciting game.
The secondary is a problem
Detroit’s secondary was amazing in the opening month of the season. They gave everyone they faced off with a battle, and held one of the league’s best passing offenses in the Kansas City Chiefs in check. The secondary of only a month ago has vanished now.
Darius Slay had a great game against the Raiders but it is hard to say that anyone else did. Both Rashaan Melvin and Justin Coleman were not at their best. Rookie safety Will Harris had a rough day as well. The once elite secondary has played an absolute stinker for the second straight week, and it looks like a real problem for the team going forward. Coming into the season it looked like the lack of talent in the defensive backfield would hurt the team. While Matt Patricia’s scheme was able to fill in the cracks for a few weeks, it is clear that the stark lack of talent is rearing it’s head.
Christian Jones and Jarrad Davis need to be better
Detroit has an even bigger problem at linebacker. Christian Jones—who was signed to a two year extension this weekend—had another horrible outing. The linebacker seemed lost in zone coverage for most of the day and did not provide much in run defense either.
His partner at linebacker, Jarrad Davis, was not much better. Davis had trouble against play action, could not stop the run at all and outside of a few select plays did not provide much as a pass rusher either. Both of their starting jobs seem safe at the moment, but rookie Jahlani Tavai being the team’s best off-ball linebacker is a worrying prospect going forward. This has always been a position that had caused the Lions problems, and it seems that nothing has changed.
Two different Matthew Stafford’s
This was the most polarizing game quarterback Matthew Stafford has played this season. The quarterback finished with 406 yards and three touchdowns, and while that stat line is great his play was not at its best. He was on fire in the first half, hitting every throw and navigating the pocket with ease. He was given good protection and made the most of it, and Detroit’s offense was on a roll.
In the second half his accuracy was everywhere. He missed throws that he usually nails. His decision making was suspect as well. Stafford has never been a very consistent quarterback, but his play reminded us of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Week 9.
On the team’s last drive, where they had a chance to tie up the game, he looked like his first-half self again. He hit every throw and was near perfect (outside of a sack where his feet got tangled with a lineman). That is good, as it is clear his clutch gene has not gone anywhere. Detroit wins this game if they get 60 minutes of first-half Stafford, though.