The Detroit Lions got absolutely demolished by the New England Patriots today, being shut out 29-0. This loss was extremely embarrassing for many reasons, but the main one being the highest-scoring offense in the NFL being held to zero points all game. On top of that, this loss was devastating due to the number of injuries that happened during the game. So what all went wrong to cause this? Let’s recap the whole game and how the Lions can improve over the bye week.
The Lions’ Offensive Struggles
The biggest struggle of the Lions’ offense this game was surprisingly the offensive line. While they were blitzed a lot the interior line failed to hold up, and Matt Judon was destroying Taylor Decker most of the game. Goff was under a lot of pressure due to that, which caused him to make some very questionable throws. Even when the pocket was clean though, Goff was making bad decisions all day and missing a lot of throws. The line also affected the run game a lot, having a total of 27 rushes for only 101 yards.
The best thing to focus on during the bye though is to shake off that performance and get back to what they were doing. The Lions had the highest-scoring offense going into the week, then they switch up the scheme this week and get shut out by a very strong Patriots defense. Goff needs to shake this performance off and focus on getting back to what they were doing in prior weeks. Plus after the bye, the Lions will be getting back Swift, a fully healthy Amon-Ra St. Brown, and a fully healthy Jonah Jackson.
The Lions’ Defensive Struggles
There was no main source of why the defense was bad this week, it was the entire unit not playing well. The pass rush could not get to Zappe whatsoever, with Charles harris out and Hutchinson being double-teamed most of the game. The run defense was also extremely lackluster, letting all of their backs run all over us for a total of 34 rushes and 177 yards. While they weren’t given any help by the pass rush, the secondary also didn’t play well at all, allowing Bailey Zappe to complete 81% of his passes. The Secondary lost all 5 starters throughout the game however to injury.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done to this defense in order to fix it, and not all of it can be done over the bye. The big thing that can be fixed is simply moving the scheme around, and putting players in a position to succeed on the defense. For example, Aidan Hutchinson played better at Michigan when in a two-point stance, and the Lions have had him in a three-point stance all season. The only other thing that can be done to improve the defense over the bye is resting people with lingering injuries, so they hopefully don’t have as many injuries going into and during games.
The Lions’ Coaching Struggles
There have been many question marks when it comes to the coaching decisions of Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn this year. Most questions have been surrounding Aaron Glenn though, due to the major step back the defense has taken after getting better. His scheme and playcalling have been atrocious this season, and when proven it hasn’t done well he has not changed it. Campbell’s decisions are in question for many reasons as well, mostly stemming from his madden like playcalling on fourth down. Also, he is in question for letting Glenn do what he’s been doing without questioning it.
The best way the coaching can improve over the bye is simply by Dan Campbell taking action and fixing common mistakes. If he can snap out of his mindset of going for it on every fourth down and not trusting kickers, but still go for it when it’s the best decision, he could majorly improve his coaching abilities. The final thing he could do is let Glenn know if he doesn’t fix his defense, then he’ll either take over playcalling duties or even threaten his job.