Detroit, while they were able to score 30 points, didn’t stop the Vikings early, late or in crunch time, leading to their ugly 42-30 loss. If there was hope earlier in the week, most of it was dashed by a surgical performance by the Vikings on the offensive side.
With the loss, Detroit has a losing record for the first time this season and will be challenged to bounce back in a big way this coming week as they stay at home to face the New York Giants.
Here’s some lessons that were learned from the contest.
Reinforcements Much Needed
Detroit’s defense isn’t competing at a high level in terms of getting after the quarterback right now. Kirk Cousins had a clean pocket most of the afternoon, and the Lions secondary didn’t put up much resistance at all. Takeaways didn’t happen, and big plays by the group that had been the hallmark in other weeks weren’t there.
It’s safe to say the defense has fallen behind the offense at this point. Health up front is liming the Lions from achieving their goals, so the Lions might have to go and make a big trade to help either the line or the secondary if they are serious about winning. Offensively, Detroit could benefit from another running back as they deal with the health of Kerryon Johnson.
The Vikings proved why both this defense and might not be good enough in the end, and it’s up to Bob Quinn to decide how to proceed with the deadline coming.
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Matthew Stafford Isn’t to Blame
Detroit fans have long had a crutch of blaming Stafford, the quarterback, for all of their problems. That argument is quickly becoming more invalid by the day. Detroit’s offense, led by Stafford, carved up the Vikings most of the afternoon. He made confident throws and passed for 4 touchdowns on the day in a losing effort.
Simply, the Lions might be in game thanks mostly to the exploits of Stafford himself. As he continues to perform, he gets further and further away of finding himself as mostly to blame for the team’s shortcomings, even though some fans will always hold him responsible.
Stafford went toe to toe with Cousins, matching him nearly by play for big play. The difference? Cousins, on this day, had a defense and a healthy running game he could count on. Food for thought for the Lions this week as they ponder moves.
Give Them a Reason to Cheer
The up and down atmosphere is one of the great challenges of an NFL game for each team, home and away. Detroit president Rod Wood seemed not thrilled with the fact that Lions fans weren’t exactly boisterous consistently during this game. While it’s easy to see his frustration, he must remember, Lions fans were frustrated too.
The team has to give their fans a reason to cheer for them on the field. Allowing big play after big play will not let an environment get to the fever pitch that anyone wants. The only way to prevent this? Make plays, and give the crowd a reason to go crazy. They didn’t have many on defense in this game, which took the fans out and rendered them a non-factor.
Lion? Marvin Jones, WR. Tough to find a more deserving recipient after Jones quite literally accounted for Detroit’s offense on his own, scoring 4 touchdowns on the day and allowing his team to hang in the game confidently. Jones might now garner more attention, leading Kenny Golladay to some breakout games. At least that is what the hope should be for fans after this game and the massive output.
Stat to Note: 503, the number of yards the Lions gave up on the day. Detroit’s defense didn’t have an answer for anything Minnesota threw at them, which has become a frustrating trend in this series as of late. The Lions need to do a much better job on defense in order to be able to win games. Allowing the Vikings to go for this many yards isn’t going to get that done. Just a few more stops could have made the difference in the Lions winning and losing, as has been the case all of this season frustratingly so far.
He Said It: “Really good defense. I thought we did a nice job. Guys up front did well. We had to score more than we did, and we didn’t get it done.” -Matthew Stafford. The quarterback liked what he saw in terms of scoring, even though he lamented not being able to get the job done in the meantime.