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Monday open thread: How would you grade Darrell Bevell’s first game as head coach?

Bevell’s first career win is in the bag.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions, unlike the New York Jets, don’t care about your tank aspirations!

It may have hurt their draft position, but the Lions got some much-needed optimism: a win. The Lions haven’t been starved for victories, having won as recently as Week 10, but this week was a different story. A new era—the post-Matt Patricia era—kicked off in excellent fashion.

Darrell Bevell’s first foray into the world of head coaching was largely successful, beating their division rival Chicago Bears. That was a feat Patricia could not achieve during his tenure with the team, going 0-5 against a team that hasn’t had an above-average offense in years. The Lions were notorious for making Mitchell Trubisky look like a competent quarterback, only further adding to the embarrassment of losing.

Sunday’s game still had a decent Trubisky performance, but the team was at least able to create big plays to turn the tide of the game. Romeo Okwara had a strip sack to give the Lions the ball with prime field position, and it turned out to be a game-winner. Kevin Strong, a recent signing and call up, stuffed David Montgomery on fourth down to end the game. Given the injuries in the secondary, it could have been worse.

The Lions defense will likely struggle to improve much this season, but you can hardly blame Darrell Bevell for that. The groundwork that Patricia and Bob Quinn set could take years to change. What can change, however, is the offense, and that unit was flying against the Bears.

The #LetStaffCook movement finally brought life to the offense, with Matthew Stafford throwing for over 400 yards for the first time this season. Despite the offense missing Kenny Golladay and D’Andre Swift, and Tyrell Crosby getting hurt early on, the Lions dropped 34 points against an elite defense. Stafford had a poor interception, and the run game wasn’t outstanding, but the trademarks of a Patricia-led team are gone:

Bevell’s offense took risks, deep shots, and most importantly, victory from the jaws of defeat. Detroit had a two-minute, 96 yard drive near the end of the game to bring them within a score. Aside from the heroics against the Falcons, sparked by a massive Atlanta blunder, this was one of the few instances of the offense playing inspired. It feels like a storm cloud has departed from Detroit.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

How would you grade Darrell Bevell’s first game as head coach?

My answer: I would give it an A.

Outside of passing on an onside kick attempt—a decision that proved moot when Okwara forced a fumble—I cannot pinpoint any calls that stood out as bad. As I mentioned, the struggles of the defense are a remnant of Patricia and they will not be fixed any time soon given the personnel available.

The offense lived up to the preseason hype that has long been missing, and they did it with Marvin Jones Jr., Adrian Peterson, and Quintez Cephus as the focal points! T.J. Hockenson is slowly developing into one of the best tight ends in the league, and the offense will only get better with Golladay and Swift back. Even though Bevell is still calling the plays, it feels like the Lions are playing to their strengths more.

There are still concerns going forward, and Bevell isn’t going to earn the head coaching gig after one game, but this is a step in the right direction for a team that looked lost.

Poll

How would you grade Darrell Bevell’s first game as head coach?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    A
    (420 votes)
  • 45%
    B
    (415 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (62 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (3 votes)
908 votes total Vote Now