The Detroit Lions have been bad on defense this season, and quite possibly one of the worst sequences they have had in the last handful of seasons came late in the first half during Week 9’s loss.
With the Minnesota Vikings simply trying to run out the clock and get to the locker room, the Lions allowed them to score in just a few short plays after being totally gashed. Minnesota ran the ball down Detroit’s throat without much opposition, and it looked far too easy for the Vikings to score according to ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky.
Orlovsky took a closer look at the sequence and couldn’t believe that the Lions gave up a touchdown so close to the end of half with the Vikings trying to run out the clock. He even tweeted that Detroit ran the same defense multiple times hoping for a different result they never got.
The plays themselves were not difficult to defend, but the Lions made them incredibly difficult given their defensive incompetence. Instead of going into half with a narrow deficit, the Lions went in deflated and defeated after scoring and then giving up a quick touchdown.
Obviously, to Orlovsky, the Lions simply didn’t try on defense to end the half as evidence of the game plan, which was the worst news of all for the team. It’s simply another way the Lions have looked bad on a key side of the ball in 2020.
Lions Defense Struggling for Consistency
Detroit’s defense tried everything to take steps forward this offseason but so far, it hasn’t paid off with many wins or consistency. They added plenty of new blood including big names such as Jamie Collins, Desmond Trufant, Danny Shelton and Jeff Okudah. They even added a new defensive coordinator in Cory Undlin. Unfortunately, the team has seen the same inconsistency that they saw before in other seasons. The strange nature of the 2020 offseason likely hasn’t helped, but it’s tough to make excuses for the defense at this point given the depth of all the problems and what has gone wrong on the field.
This is Matt Patricia’s third season with the team, and the coach has had time to put a clear imprint on what he wants his defense to be. So far, that hasn’t gone well for the Lions, and change has been incredibly slow to come for the roster, especially on defense. That’s not a good look for a coach who figured to be a defensive guru when he came to town in 2018 and is suddenly looking far from it.
Lions Defense 2020 Stats
This season, Detroit’s defense has been plagued with inconsistency in every single way, not merely before the end of the half. Their pass rush has struggled constantly, and the team has been up and down on the back end while battling injuries. Detroit also hasn’t forced enough turnovers and is generally unable to get off the field against good teams and good offenses. As a whole, the Lions place 24th in the NFL in total defense through Week 9 this season. They continue to give up points and constantly look underprepared, which is bad news for defensive coordinator Cory Undlin and his group.
The Lions will have to count on Undlin and Patricia correcting mistakes down the stretch if they want a chance at climbing back the rest of the 2020 season. Sadly for them, plays like this paint a picture of a team that is reversing course in a huge way rather than showing any tangible signs of improvement.
Plays like this show just how ugly things may have become for the Lions and their key personnel group.
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