The Lions haven’t won three games in a row since 2017. With a chance to jump back into the wild card race, it took a bit of effort to face-plant against the Indianapolis Colts. When the wheels fell off, they fell off quickly. Here’s three key takeaways that define the Lions’ failures.
Good, bad, ugly Stafford
Last week, it was perhaps far too premature to rush towards the rehabilitation of Matthew Stafford.
Unfortunately, today was the day to see the full atlas of the man. Yes: Stafford threw deep and found Marvin Hall 60 yards downfield. When he got into rhythm early, Stafford was finding a modicum of success.
But Stafford did not have a good performance. Early on, he was throwing high repeatedly. In the middle of the game, he was taking sacks, throwing a pick six and became one of the reasons why the Lions were suddenly in a deep hole. In the final moments of the game, he was reverting to a very young Stafford: impressionable, error-prone, not getting set, rushing his throws.
There’s no reason for all this ugly play from Stafford at this point in his career. When the Lions are in these spots, he has to be the steady rock. Instead, he’s taking hits and losing his cool.
Stafford ended this game with a bloody hand, and that deserves some attention through this week.
Fear and Loathing and First Half Offenses
The Lions are sticking to this offensive script, and there is nothing that the world, reality or practicality can do to stop that.
It doesn’t matter how many three-and-outs happen, or how much pressure is placed upon them by the opposing offense. The Lions care little for these things. The first half is going to be infuriating to an alarming degree, over and over. They want to run the football, they want to do short passes, they want to test, prod and try the opposing offense. They also, still, want to rotate the offensive line, even though it’s Week 8 in the NFL and you should have had this all sorted a while ago.
That is admirable, in some degree. But when Philip Rivers is dunking on your asses, philosophical flexibility becomes more appreciable. It would considerably lessen your stress on the back end.
The Lions only had the ball for around eight minutes in the first half. That alone should force everyone to take a hard look and reevaluate the approach.
Old ghosts haunting the defense
Remember when the Caldwell Lions would get caught having only 10 men on the field on certain plays?
Here the 2-pt and it is indeed 10 Lions pic.twitter.com/JyAEcbm9tN— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) November 1, 2020
The Colts came into Sunday ranked 22nd in offensive DVOA. The Lions made Rivers look rejuvenated, refreshed in the waters of youth, conquistadors, things of that nature.
In this phase of the game, everything was set up for the Lions defense to have a proper showing of steady competence. Instead, Jordan Wilkins picked up 89 yards on the ground.
Do you want to talk about how Jarrad Davis looked lost yet again in zone coverage? I don’t. Every issue that plagued pass coverage in the Falcons game was back on display on Sunday.