The Detroit Lions are not really accustomed to getting national attention, especially when they’re losing. The only time the national discussion seems interested at all with the Lions is when there’s something particularly embarrassing that happens to the team or their head coach says something funny.
But despite Sunday’s 28-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Lions are getting some serious praise from legitimate national outlets, and we’re not just talking MMQB ranking the Lions 19th in their Week 8 power rankings.
Head coach Dan Campbell got some serious praise from not one, not two, but three different national outlets. Let’s take a quick look at all three.
Football Outsider’s “Lions Know the Value of Taking a Shot” is a really neat, analytical look at each major coaching decision Campbell made—not just the surprise onside kick and the two fake punts. The only decision their model didn’t like was a second-quarter punt on fourth-and-2 from their own 38-yard line, but I think most people would agree going for it in that situation is aggressive for even the riskiest head coaches.
FiveThirtyEight’s “At Least The Lions Tried” is a good read, despite its condescending title. It’s basically a panel of writers discussing Campbell’s aggressiveness, with most falling in love with the strategy. Here’s my favorite back-and-forth from the conversation:
neil: There is something to be said for making the opponent not take anything for granted against you, though.
The Lions are the “watch out, they’re a little crazy” team of the NFL this year.
sara.ziegler: LOL, I love that.
I think you made a key point there, Neil — you have to be playing to win, not just playing to be respectable.
neil: Weirdly, I think that approach has earned Campbell a lot more respect than you’d think for coaching an 0-7 team.
sara.ziegler: He’s a great role model for coaches on bad teams!
Finally, Kaelen Jones of The Ringer penned a piece called “Dan Campbell Isn’t Afraid to Go Down Swinging.” The article concludes, perceptively, that despite their 0-7 record, the Lions hold none of the dysfunction that typically comes with such a record.
“The Lions lack talent, but not effort,” Jones wrote. “There hasn’t been a decrease in the latter throughout the Lions season, even as the losses have piled up. It’s a testament to Campbell, whose squad is adopting an on-field persona similar to their coach.”
- We’ve sadly lost far too many Lions legends this year. The latest is Pro Bowl linebacker of the 1960s and 70s, Mike Lucci:
- Haven’t had enough Penei Sewell yet? Justin Rogers of the Detroit News did a great film breakdown ($) of his Rams game full of delicious GIFs.
- Alex Anzalone has had a hell of a stretch in pass coverage:
When targeting #Lions LB Alex Anzalone in coverage this season:— Brandon Olsen (@WNS_Brandon) October 25, 2021
152.3 passer rating
36.1 passer rating
You’d have a higher passer rating spiking the ball every down.
- You may have noticed that the Lions had some issues getting to the line in time against the Rams. They took a delay of game penalty and had to take a timeout to avoid a second one. On Monday, Campbell explained that the team was dealing with headset issues.
- This will be the last time Kelly Stafford is featured in Notes (probably). She had a nice message to Lions fans after the game:
- Speaking of Stafford, Matthew was mic’d up for his reunion with the Lions. There’s not a lot there, except for a humorous exchange with Levi Onwuzurike: