However, as they have done most of the season, the Lions failed to find the right mix of plays to put away a game. In spite of leads of 14-0, 17-3 and 20-13, the team succumbed late and ended up losing to the Packers 23-20. It was another frustrating defeat, but now, the Lions will have to wait much later in 2020
Detroit’s season of injury and misery is mercifully over, and their tank has finally been completed. Now, the only thing left to sort out is where the team will select in the draft, as well as who stays and who goes later this offseason.
What else was learned in this contest? Here’s a look at some lessons from the final game of the season.
Will Harris and Tracy Walker Ensure Lions Future Bright at Safety
Perhaps the biggest story of the day was how effective the Lions’ safety trio played, led by a rookie in Harris and a second year player in Walker. This duo looks set to dominate in 2020 with a solid game, and that is what the team will need, especially after the puzzling trade of Quandre Diggs. On the afternoon, the duo combined for 7 total tackles and 1 sack. Throw in rookie Amani Oruwariye at cornerback who picked off a pass and the Lions have the makings of some decent talent on the back end for 2020. Great news.
Lions Draft Tank is Complete
With the loss, Detroit will be guaranteed a top five pick in the draft. They could still end up with the No. 2 pick if the Washington Redskins win. It might be more likely that the Lions end up right where they are at pick No. 3. Obviously, Detroit fans have to cheer for the Redskins and the New York Giants to win in order to help themselves out with the draft. A high pick, wherever it lands within the top five, will help Detroit re-stock the cupboard a bit which is needed.
Lions Must Start Firing Coaches
Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn are back, but that doesn’t change the fact that nearly the entire defensive staff should be completely gutted and every spot on the team needs to be taken a look at with a magnifying glass. The Lions had a massive failure of a season, and ownership already said it wasn’t good enough and changes were coming. Now it’s time to deliver on the promise of change. Patricia has to hit the ground running and re-make his defensive staff so that he might get a jump start on a much better season.
Detroit’s Running Game in Good Shape
A major positive for the Lions all afternoon was their ability to essentially push around a Green Bay defense which was not resting starters and was playing for keeps. Detroit’s combo of Kerryon Johnson, Ty Johnson and Bo Scarbrough got loose to the tune of 160 yards. Perhaps the best news is all of those players are young. This shouldn’t stop the Lions from finding some insurance policy this offseason, but at the very least, the team has been able to run the ball much, much better this season. That should play to their advantage in 2020, when they will need to have a ground attack that looks just like this or better.
Lion? Will Harris, S. The team needed to see some signs of life from their 2019 third round pick, and he delivered in a big way with 4 tackles and 1 sack of Aaron Rodgers on the afternoon, as well as some great instinctual play at the position. It is nice to see the young player break out and have his best game of the year in the season finale.
Lamb? Danny Amendola, WR. Amendola didn’t play with any composure on the afternoon, as evidence on a late play in which the veteran wideout was hit with a 15 yard penalty for a shove. Despite throwing a touchdown, Amendola also didn’t make many big catches in the season finale. The Lions badly need Amendola to be a better leader and not spot the opposition yardage late in the game.
Stat to Note: 171, the number of rushing yards the Lions had on the day. It’s been a while since the team had a rushing attack in which the arrow was trending up, but this one looks like it could be good under Darrell Bevell. Obviously, the team still needs to look hard at upgrades and what they can do to be even better next season, but they might be on the fast track to a solid season already in 2020.