Last week was pretty rough for the Lions. They were on the wrong end of a wild game in which they gave up several big touchdowns, including special teams scores and a defensive touchdown, and they lost the game in overtime after they evidently accidentally went for it on fourth-and-1 and were stuffed. Losing to the Titans was bad for a team with playoff hopes, even if it was on the road. However, this week they got to return home to play the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have gotten off to a good start to the season, but they weren’t expected to be all that strong of a team, so a win for Detroit seemed a solid bet. It would mean the Lions would be .500 headed into the bye week, and a step in the right direction.
You know what is a step in the wrong direction? Giving up a touchdown on the opening kickoff. That is exactly what the Lions did, as Percy Harvin returned the kick 105 yards to make it 7-0 in favor of Minnesota before a lot of fans probably had a chance to find their seats. The Lions then took the ball and managed to drive pretty well in their own right, but eventually things petered out and they had to settle for a field goal. Feel familiar?
Before the first quarter ended, the Vikings added a field goal of their own to make it 10-3. In the second quarter, Minnesota and Detroit traded field goals, and at halftime it was 13-6 in favor of the Vikings. The Lions were only down a touchdown, far from an insurmountable lead. Early in the third quarter, inexplicably, Detroit gave up yet another special teams touchdown, as Marcus Sherels returned a punt 77 yards for the score. Late in the fourth quarter, Matthew Stafford got the Lions a touchdown on a 1-yard run to make it 20-13, but there would be no magic this week. The Lions lost to the Vikings, at home, to fall to 1-3.
And so, Detroit managed to lose a game wherein they gave up zero touchdowns on defense. They held the Vikings to 227 yards, and 4.1 yards per play, but their special teams failed them again, and their offense sputtered out a bit as well. I don’t think anybody expected the Lions special teams to be so awful this season, but letting up so many touchdowns in only two games is baffling. It’s probably unsustainable, even if Detroit has the worst special teams in the league, but the fact remains the Lions lost another game they should have won, and special teams played a big part in that.
Despite the injury, Matthew Stafford seemed to be doing fine, as he went 30-for-51 for 319 yards, and he also rushed five times for 14 yards. He was also sacked five times, which is another part of the reason the Lions lost. The running game was part of that as well. Leshoure did not meet the bar he set last week, as he only rushed for 26 yards on 13 carries. He did have four receptions for 37 yards, but he also had a fumble that the Lions lost. So, it’s quite possible he’s not the answer. It remains to be seen.
Joique Bell of all people led the team in receiving, as he gained 72 yards on six carries. Brandon Pettigrew had seven catches for 67 yards, while Calvin Johnson only had five receptions for 54 yards. He also got banged up a bit, but he returned to the game. Christian Ponder wasn’t asked to do much, he only threw for 111 yards, but Adrian Peterson rushed for 102 yards on 21 carries.
So now, the Lions are 1-3 heading into their bye week. They have lost to the Titans and the Vikings. I know it’s early, but I certainly don’t expect the Lions to make the playoffs now. These were two games they should not have lost. Yet, they did. Maybe this team isn’t as good as I expected. Maybe these games were both kind of fluky. I cannot be sure. All I know is that last season the Lions went 10-6 after going 6-10 the year prior. I’m started to think that Detroit might head in the opposite direction this year. It could be a lost season for the Lions. That’s what happens when you let up a ridiculous amount of big play touchdowns.