Was it surprising? No. Were there some extenuating circumstances? Sure. But no professional team should look that outmatched in any week of the season. So here are my three takeaways from that joke of a game.
There are no excuses for that kind of performance
Sure, the Lions have a mountain of excuses for Saturday’s performance against the Buccaneers. They were missing half their coaching staff, their best defensive players—Trey Flowers, Jamie Collins Sr., Jayron Kearse—were all sidelined, and then Matthew Stafford went and got himself injured on the third offensive play of the game.
But all of those problems are a direct result of their own previous mistakes. Missing Jamie Collins hurts because you drafted horrible linebackers for years. You don’t have a quality backup quarterback because you refused to draft one and then you spent way too much on a veteran clipboard holder.
The one thing that you may not consider their fault is the weird coaching COVID stuff. And, yeah, it’s a horrible spot to put a team in, but the Lions also reportedly weren’t following all of the COVID protocols. Plus, you get the feeling that if Bill Belichick, Andy Reid and the ghost of Vince Lombardi dropped down from the rafters, they still couldn’t made this team finish within 20 points of the Bucs.
The Lions had this ass-whooping coming, and it’s the direct result of where Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia and company have pointed this franchise over the past three years. And it’s completely unacceptable. These are professional football players, and you’ve made them look like third-string JV players.
I don’t know where the optimism for the future is
The best thing you can say for the Lions’ future is that is can’t get much worse. And even that feels like tempting with fate a little too much.
But, seriously, where do Lions fans look to for optimism right now? They’ve got two, maybe three pieces of a competent offensive line. They’ve got a good tight end, and maybe a good running back—who has now also fumbled in back-to-back games. Oh, also a good punter. Great.
I don’t even know where to start on defense. Their best player is probably Romeo Okwara, and he could be too expensive to bring back for a cap-strapped team. Otherwise, you’ve got a crater of talent with only mild hopes that they’ll improve under a different coaching staff. And sorry, I’m not ready to latch my hopes onto sixth-round rookie nose tackle who is part of one of the worst run defenses over the past few weeks.
Whoever the Lions decide to draft or sign in free agency will have a very good chance of coming in and immediately being an upgrade over whoever is here, because this is just absolutely embarrassing right now.
Jamal Agnew was fun again
TAKE THIS, BRAYDEN COOMBS:
Bet you feel really stupid now, huh?