Frustrating Statistic Helps Define Struggles of Lions During 2021

Jared Goff

Getty Jared Goff leaves the field after Detroit's Week 6 loss to Cincinnati in 2021.

Thus far, it feels as if nothing has gone right for the Detroit Lions, and that point can be proven in quite literal fashion by looking at many of the early statistics for the team in 2021.

Detroit simply isn’t getting it done on either side of the ball, and that’s the main reason they are 0-6. Injuries have played a big role for the Lions, but the team has struggled in their own ways on the field, and perhaps surprisingly, have never seen their offense play with a lead.

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ESPN’s Mike Clay tweeted the revelation that the Lions have never played a single offensive snap with a lead during the 2021 season thus far.

The closest the Lions came to seeing their offense hit the field with a lead was in Week 2 against Green Bay. Detroit took multiple leads in the game that were quickly erased, and also maintained a 17-14 lead into the locker room at halftime. They then kicked off to the Packers in the second half. Following that kick, Green Bay promptly took the lead back, and the Lions never scored in the game again. Discounting Week 2, the Lions have had to play catch-up from being down double-digits in all of their other games, meaning the pressure has firmly been on the offense to light up the scoreboard when they just aren’t capable.

Add it all up and it’s clear why the Lions have struggled. They haven’t had a chance to pad a lead or even play from ahead. It’s hard for a team to win games when they have to constantly come from behind. An offense is forced to throw more, which can lead to more mistakes, especially given the struggles the Lions have had to endure with health up front and at wide receiver.

Overall, this only proves why the Lions have been so bad. Up to this point, they have rarely given themselves a good chance to win a game with this statistic in mind.

Lions Offense Struggling Statistically During 2021 Season

Perhaps the biggest reason the Lions haven’t been able to find a win is the fact that their offense has been unstable. The team’s defense has given them a chance, even in weeks they are playing inconsistently. Unfortunately for the Lions, their offense has been dreadful this season. Through Week 6, Detroit’s offense has regressed statistically, and are currently ranked 27th in the league in terms of total offense. Detroit’s passing offense has been bad, ranking 25th in the league with just 229 yards per-game and 7 touchdowns. The team’s rushing offense hasn’t been much better, placing 23rd averaging 91.8 yards per-game and just 5 touchdowns. Combine everything and that’s not a lot of scoring or production for the team whatsoever.

Given the team’s injuries, the Lions are going to have to find a way to gut out some close wins. It’s clear the offense isn’t capable of putting up huge numbers to help win shootouts, so an overall change in approach could be needed for the team to weather this storm.

Potential Lions Turnaround Could Hinge on Faster Starts

Obviously, the team is looking for a way to jump-start their offense, and a big way to get that done would be jumping out to an early lead in a game. Doing that would allow the defense to settle in, and could provide a chance for the offense to establish a better game plan more centered around Detroit’s strengths, such as running the ball, short passes and a clock control offense.

Detroit quarterback Jared Goff understands the importance of a fast start to the team. As he told the media on Sunday, October 17 following Detroit’s Week 6 loss to Cincinnati, the Lions have to find a way to stop talking about getting it done and be about it on the field.

“I think we can say as much as we want, we want to start fast,” Goff admitted after the loss. “We can say it over and over again, but until we change something or do something differently about it, how can we expect a different result? It’s something we’re consistently working on and trying to get better at is starting fast and giving our defense a little bit better chance than we’ve given them the last three or four weeks.”

If the Lions want to erase a losing streak and make sure to reverse this ugly and galling statistic, an early lead could be the best way to go about getting that done.

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