The Detroit Lions lost again, and the final score looks a lot more flattering than the game was. Detroit fell 35-29 to the New Orleans Saints, and will now head into their bye week with a 1-3 record. Here are a few takeaways.
Patricia will likely survive the bye week
As much as you hate to hear it, Lions head coach Matt Patricia may have saved his job the past two weeks. While Detroit lost again in Week 4, they played a team that many would consider real contenders pretty close. Detroit only lost by six, and could have won if quarterback Matthew Stafford did not miss a few key passes throughout the game.
The head coach will likely remain on the hot seat, and I would be very surprised if he is still the coach in 2021, but firing a coach in Week 5 is a huge move to make. In theory, the Lions still have a chance to contend for the playoffs in 2020, and the team could improve after the bye.
As popular as it was to say after the team got hammered by the Green Bay Packers in Week 2, firing Patricia will not be happening anytime soon.
Poor run defense returns
Detroit has invested a ton into stopping the run, but nothing seems to be working. Once again in Week 4, the Lions run defense was embarrassed.
The Saints top two running backs, Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray combined for 147 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Murray’s second touchdown was an especially embarrassing one for the Lions. New Orleans dialed up a power run on third-and-goal from six yards out, and bulldozed their way into the endzone for a score.
Late in the game, the defense began to put it together. They got a few key stops, shut down New Orleans’ run game, and allowed the offense to play their way back into the game. In the end, though, it was not enough.
Detroit’s defense has a lot of things to figure out over their bye week, but figuring out what they’re doing wrong defending the run has to be the top priority.
A more aggressive offense
The Lions’ passive offense has been a point of concern for nearly a decade, but Detroit came out firing this week. They were aggressive, they put the ball in the hands of Stafford, and looked like a team that was really playing to win.
They attacked downfield more often as well. On a late must-score drive, they caught the Saints off guard by taking a deep shot into the end zone. They abandoned “run-run-pass” for much of the game as well.
Unfortunately, Stafford looks like his best days are behind him. His accuracy is sporadic, and he missed a ton of throws that you would expect him to hit with ease. The aforementioned deep shot to start the drive should have resulted in a wide open touchdown to Marvin Hall, but Stafford just could not get the ball to him.
It appears that their gunslinging quarterback is not as dependable as he once was, but at least the play calling is finally looking like it is where it needs to be.