Sunday afternoon, the Detroit Lions turned back the clock in several different ways. Early, they evoked memories of the 2008 team, which went winless. Then, they ushered a stunning comeback, reminiscent of the grit possessed by 2012's team. Finally, in overtime, the coaching staff turned in a blunder that ushered in memories of Marty Mornhinwheg taking the wind in 2002.
The Lions lost a wild game they never should have won against the Tennessee Titans. It wasn't just that they lost, however, it was how. This hunt was botched all afternoon top to bottom in the most maddening and frustrating fashion. After coming back with a gritty fourth quarter, the team listlessly threw the game away, only to miraculously tie the score and then fall apart in overtime. Oh, the Lions always find a way to delight in the fall, don't they? Here's more reverberations from the first stunning defeat of the season.
Pass Defense Is Beyond Atrocious. The Lions showed that their sixth rated pass defense was nothing but a mirage. Tennessee hit several big plays whenever they wanted them, and Jake Locker looked like Dan Marino most of Sunday afternoon. There were breakdowns and mistakes, in addition to long passes. The Titans got nearly whatever they wanted through the air, and it didn't matter much that their ground game stunk again. When everything was said and done, Detroit had surrendered 378 yards passing to Locker, and had allowed four receivers over 50 yards through the air, including Kenny Britt's 112. It looks like it doesn't matter who's playing in the backfield these days, chances are, they're going to get scorched. The coaching staff needs to figure out a way to limit the damage, because the Lions will remain a pretender if issues don't get fixed.
Special Teams Hasn't Fixed Anything. Though there was one surprise gadget-type play, the Lions were out gained on special teams and allowed a second touchdown on a kickoff after. Darius Reynaud took a kick 105 yards immediately after the Lions had taken the lead, which completely wrecked momentum. Once upon a time, Chuck Preifer directed some of the best special teams play in the league. Ever since, the Lions have been pathetic, and haven't shown any signs of improving. In 2011, the unit showed signs of decline. Now, they're helping cost the Lions games. That's beyond concerning.
Jim Schwartz Should Not Be Trying To Draw Teams Offside In Overtime. After the game, Schwartz claimed that the play in overtime was a miscommunication. Shaun Hill was only supposed to attempt to draw the Titans offside, then call timeout. Somehow, the ball was snapped by accident and chaos ensued. Is he telling the truth? Maybe or maybe not. Either way, the Lions and Schwartz didn't need to go for it in overtime, The field goal team should have been sent out, and the Lions should have lived to play another series after a Jason Hanson make. Yes, the defense was getting torched. Yes, special teams stunk. Yes, the spot was bad. Still, deep in the red zone, it's not worth the gamble to have a calamity like what occurred. Just kick the field goal and play defense.
Mikel Leshoure's Running Was The Lone Bright Spot. The Lions defense was abysmal. Special teams were pathetic, and the offense stalled at times. Despite that, Detroit managed to have a 100 yard rusher for the first time in seemingly ever. Leshoure ran well and gutted out yards, even finding the end zone. Yes, it's still early, but it certainly looks as if Leshoure can be what the Lions expect out of the backfield. As good signs go despite everything negative, this was one bright spot.
Penalty Watch: Instead of mentioning penalties as an area of concern, from now on, we'll just keep track of how many penalties the Lions collect. Today, they had 10 for 91 yards, which was longer than their furthest play from scrimmage or touchdown.
Lions? Leshoure played excellent, Calvin Johnson was his normal dominant self and Titus Young hauled in the improbable hail mary pass. Jason Hanson made a 53 yard field goal and contributed all of the scoring for a while.
Lambs? This category belongs to the entire defense this week.
What About The Five Things? Before this second road contest, we alerted fans to watch the pass rush. There wasn't much to speak of, as the Lions only generated one quarterback hit and got no sacks. Pass defense was beyond horrid. Matthew Stafford was much better until his injury, and Mike Muhchak fooled Jim Schwartz with the old "Music City Miracle" play. For a while, it looked as if the road warrior mentality was back, but out of nowhere, it disappeared.
Stalking The Next Prey: The Lions return home needing a win against the surprising 2-1 Minnesota Vikings next Sunday. The game is at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox.
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