Well, that hurts a little. The Lions season is sort of in peril now after their 31-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The team looked lost and the coaching staff got outcoached by the turkey hole guy—yet they still had chances.
As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts.
With the game on the line at the Raiders’ goal line on fourth down, and the Lions desperately in need of a touchdown, the coaching staff pulled Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. off the field and ran a goal line play action fake to their third-string tight end. It clearly did not work and prompted everyone, even the commentators, to wonder why the Lions ran that play.
No shot at Logan Thomas. He’s a capable pass catcher in certain situations. This was not one of those situations. The Lions coaching staff continues to make people wonder if they should be the coaching staff running this team.
Abandon the run
J.D. McKissic had a few decent runs on Sunday. But outside of that, the Lions completely wasted downs with their run game in Oakland—especially in the fourth quarter when the Raiders stopped McKissic for a loss, and then the Lions ran Ty Johnson right back to the same tacklers on the very next play. Why do this?
The Lions have a quarterback in Matthew Stafford who has the ability to make plays, and this Lions offense continue to try to force the issue. I thought this would be an issue that would leave with Jim Bob Cooter, but it continues to persist under Bevell.
I know they won’t abandon it, but 90 yards on the ground just isn’t going to cut it.
Speaking of Stafford...
The commentators tried really hard to pin this loss on Matthew Stafford for some reason. The truth is he, once again, had a pretty good game. He completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
There was that interception, but that’s a one-and-a-million interception for Daryl Worley. He couldn’t make that catch again if they tried it 100 more times.
Not trying to play Stafford protector here, but the Lions have a lot of issues, and he is just not one of them. Maybe I am defending him a little.
Lions defense is incapable of stopping the run
You guys already knew that, though. The Lions let the Raiders rush for 171 yards on Sunday. That makes 1,086 rushing yards in all that the Lions have allowed this season. That’s not the worst in the league, but it’s been the Lions’ big weakness that teams are exploiting like it’s going outta business. The Vikings really put it on display, and now every opponent since is running it right down the Lions throat.
What happened? This was supposed to be where the Lions thrived. Well let’s see. Damon Harrison Sr. is regressing at an all-time level, Da’Shawn Hand can’t stay healthy, Mike Daniels was probably a waste a money, and guys like Trey Flowers and A’Shawn Robinson just aren’t getting it done. The linebackers aren’t helping either.
The Lions are about to spend all their money and probably the majority of their draft picks on the defense this offseason. Sadly, that doesn’t do anything for the Lions now.
Taylor Decker may have to go
The Lions took Decker with the 16th pick back in 2016, and after a really strong rookie year, he has taken nothing but steps back. Currently Pro Football Focus has him graded at 62.8. That’s not horrible. It’s also not what you want your first-round left tackle to be graded at.
On top of Decker continuously getting beat, he has also developed a penchant for getting called for holding and killing drives. You just can’t have a guy dragging the team down like that.
Next season Decker is due $10.35 million the final year of his deal. Don’t be surprised if he never sees that from the Lions. At this point, it looks like he will be a casualty at the end of the year. The big factor for the Lions in this possible decision is that none of that fifth-year option is guaranteed. There is no dead cap if Detroit decides to move on.
Where does this team go from here?
I hate to say it, but that’s probably it for the Lions this year. They have a favorable schedule coming up with games against the Redskins, Bears, Buccaneers and Broncos, but the rest of the division keeps storming ahead—even though they all lost this week.
Being below .500 and having that dang tie on their record going into Week 10 with injuries all over the roster, I just don’t see how this team can turn things around and make the playoffs. It’s not impossible, but would you put money on it? I certainly wouldn’t.
The only thing you can hope for—besides the miracle that probably isn’t coming—is that the Lions have a great offseason and possibly make a change at defensive coordinator.
I really hope I’m wrong, but right now this team looks really bad. It makes you wonder who that team was against the Chiefs early in the year? Are Lions fans just doomed to always wonder what could have been? It seems that way. Because here we are ending this thing with another sad song.