Lions Hunt Report: Discipline Problems Huge Issue for Matt Patricia

Adrian Peterson

Getty Adrian Peterson reacts after a penalty.

The Detroit Lions raced out to a quick lead against the Green Bay Packers, but by the time everything was settled, that early start was all but forgotten.

Detroit’s 14-3 lead was short lived, and the Lions soon trailed quickly by halftime 17-14, and in a blink of an eye, 31-14. There was no meltdown this week late, and it simply came much earlier for Matt Patricia’s bunch, which wasn’t great to see.

The Lions are now 0-2 after a pair of failed hunts, and things are looking pretty bleak for the team to reverse their fortunes before things truthfully get out of hand in a big way.

What are some of the lessons from this defeat? Here is a look.

Undisciplined Penalties Keep Killing the Lions

With the game very much in the balance, the Lions fell into their old ways of mistakes. First, Oday Aboushi was flagged for a 15 yard personal foul call, stunting a Lions drive that could have swung momentum. Then, Will Harris was flagged for a few bad mistakes in the form of a helmet hit and a horse collar tackle. Numerous other Detroit penalties played a huge role in the Green Bay comeback and eventual blowout. All of this was bad news for Matt Patricia, considering discipline is a huge element winning teams often have. The mental fortitude to stay tough and play within the confines of the rules is often something Patricia talks about. In year 3, his team isn’t showing any ability to do that consistently when the going gets tough. It could be a troubling sign of things to come in the future if the train goes off the rails further in Detroit.

Matt Prater’s Accuracy Could Become Suspect

Typically, Prater is above reproach as a kicker in Detroit, and while he’s remained solid for the most part, for the second straight week, Prater missed a field goal from beyond 50 yards which could have shifted momentum in the game. This one was wind impacted and was from 57 yards, but it’s important ti point out that Prater missed a 55 yarder off the upright the same direction last week. Prater is rock solid, but it will be important to watch and see if the Lions can get him to split the uprights from distance in Week 3. Seeing Prater 0-2 on field goals from beyond 50 is a surprising stat. Had he made either, the Lions could have been in much better shape both weeks.

Detroit Might be in Major Trouble

The Lions are now 0-2. They face a trip to Arizona, a place they collapsed last year. After that, a visit from Drew Brees is on tap. It’s very possible the Lions could be heading into their bye week with an unsatisfactory record. If that’s the case, does the team make a change at coach early and try and salvage the year? A lot will depend on the heart and hustle they show in the games. So far, though, Matt Patricia hasn’t been impressive in his 3rd season as coach and much more is needed from the team, especially on defense.

D’Andre Swift Bounced Back Well

If there’s one positive for the Lions on offense, it’s the fact that the team got T.J. Hockenson involved, managed to get Marvin Jones in the end zone and also got the ball early and often in the hands of Swift in the passing game. Last week, Swift’s drop was a huge focal point, but on this day, he put up a solid 68 yards in the passing game, It might not look like much, but the drop is now in the pass and confidence has been established. That’s a big positive for the rookie after what was a horrible week. It was nice to see the team get the ball to Swift and nice to see his response.

Lions’ MVP vs. Packers: Jack Fox, P

The Lions had a few nice drives, but other than that early, what was the bright spot for Detroit? Arguably it was only the punting of Fox who is averaging 54.2 yards per-punt. Obviously, one of the top players on the team being a punter is bad news, but it’s actually good news for Detroit given the fact they had to replace Sam Martin. So far, they’ve done a nice job in identifying the talent of Fox.

Lions’ Lamb of the Game: Will Harris, S

Harris was roasted multiple times, had multiple bad penalties and looked out of place most of the afternoon. Detroit’s young safety wasn’t the total reason the team lost, but he’s also a 3rd round pick and should be playing much more disciplined football within the scheme. It wasn’t a great day for any Lions defender much less defensive back, but Harris was exposed in a big way on this day, and that’s tough given the high pick the Detroit regime spent on him in 2019.

Lions’ Stat to Note vs. Packers: 236 Yards

Aaron Jones ran wild against the Lions’ defense and managed to deliver a horribly lopsided number for the team to chew on in terms of total yards. Detroit’s defense hasn’t been particularly good against opposing running backs this year and Jones added to that pain. Matt Patricia’s group barley touched him on a few of his best plays and runs. Another mess for the Detroit defense.

Lions’ Quote to Note

“In the end, it’s obviously just got to improve.” -Matt Patricia, on whether or not the Lions scheme has been successful in Detroit. As he said, they’ve tried to make it work, but there needs to be some big improvements on the coach’s side of the ball he works hardest at.

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