Another week, another loss for the Detroit Lions in 2021. This time they went to Soldier Field and played pretty ugly in a 24-14 loss to NFC North rival the Chicago Bears. This may have been the Lions' worst performance of the year.
As always, here are my thoughts on this game:
There’s aggression, and there’s over-aggression
The Lions were the latter on Sunday in Chicago. The Lions attempted to convert on fourth down three times. It’s not that trying to do that is bad, it’s that there’s a time for that. That time probably wasn’t when you were down 14-0 early in the game. It definitely wasn’t when you’re down 10 points with less than five minutes left and you’re well within kicking range.
I’m not going to strap the cone of shame on Dan Campbell and the coaching staff. These are growing pains. If there were a time to make these mistakes, it’s at the beginning of a full-on rebuild. But they have to realize that these are, indeed, mistakes and they cannot bring this into the future. Campbell said after the game that he does not regret any of the fourth down attempts, though.
What happened to D’Andre Swift?
The Lions coaching staff said that they were going to get Swift more involved going forward. So naturally, there was an expectation that Swift would see a lot of the field against Chicago. When it was all said and done, Swift did have eight carries, but most of those came late in the game. Jamaal Williams handled the load for the Lions early with 14 carries for 66 yards. The Lions did attempt to use Swift in the passing game with six targets, but it just felt like the Lions' coaching staff just did not believe in Swift today.
The Lions defense has renewed Bears fans faith in Fieldsanity
Last week Justin Fields had a very bad game. He got sacked nine times and completed just 30 percent of his passes. It was a rough first start. On Sunday, the Lions gave Fields the medicine they give every ailing quarterback: A dose of their defense. Before you knew it, Fields was looking like Y.A. Tittle out there. The rookie did throw an interception and he fumbled too, but he finished 12-of-18 for 215 yards and looked comfortable all game.
Then there was this
Goff has another bad game
This may have been Goff’s worst game for the Lions. On the stat sheet it looks okay. He was 24-of-38 for 299 yards and two touchdowns. On the field, he overthrew guys, underthrew guys, hurried into bad decisions, telegraphed his reads, and, again, put himself in the position to fumble a couple more times. It’s getting hard to watch every week.
Kalif “Not Usher” Raymond’s big day
Raymond didn’t take things nice and slow on Sunday. He showed up and had the best game of probably any player on the team against Chicago. Raymond caught three passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. With Raymond’s speed, the Lions should be looking to use him more often, especially when it pays off with performances like this.
We just can’t have nice things
It looks like the Lions have lost another important piece for the season. Romeo Okwara went down early in the game and limped off the field. After the game, Dan Campbell said it didn’t look good at all and that it might be an Achilles injury. That’s a tough break, especially since the Lions just signed Okwara to a $39-million contract extension this offseason. The Lions defense was already all-world bad, without Okwara, they’re all-universe bad.
Cephus is quickly making himself a household name
Quintez Cephus has gone from a guy we weren't sure about to possibly the only guy that will be left standing after this season. Cephus has shown that he can be a number one receiver for this particular Lions team. In the future, he could be a fine number two receiver, especially if he keeps bringing down big plays like the 33-yard catch he caught in early in this game. In total, Cephus ended the day with four catches for 83 yards.
It’s a rebuild, but geez. Have an identity
I don’t know who this team is. One week they’re hanging in there with a potential Super Bowl contender, the next week they’re getting shellacked by 1-2 Bears team with a rookie quarterback coming off one of their worst games ever. Who is this Lions team?
I know it’s super early, but there has to be the slightest amount of continuity here. The Lions have to try to look like the same team every week in some ways. Right now, the only thing we seem to know about this team is that they don’t give up. If that’s their identity, then that’s cool for now I suppose. But the team that gets down and fights their way back is not something that can last long. It’s been done in Detroit for years. The Lions were the team you could count on to try to make a comeback. Too often they were also the team you could count on being behind. It’s no way to succeed long term.