Short of their defense playing perfectly and pitching a shutout, it’s becoming clear that the Lions aren’t going to be out-gunning many teams the rest of the way. In a defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6, the Lions only managed to put a field goal and a single touchdown on the board in an ugly 34-11 loss. They accounted for just 228 yards of total offense, including an ugly 36 rushing yards on the day. It was a very old-time feeling performance, and not in a good way for Detroit.
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Simply put, the Lions aren’t going to win a game this season if the offense they showed on Sunday shows up again this season. The Lions can ill-afford anything other than a perfect game on both sides of the ball, so when Jared Goff is zipping the ball past open wideouts and throwing critical interceptions, it isn’t going to be a recipe for success whatsoever.
The Lions have struggled with injuries in 2021. They struggle on defense with consistency. Short of offensive explosions, the team isn’t getting over the hump and winning a game this year. It’s possible given what has happened across the roster with personnel that the team will continue to struggle to put up points. To combat this, the Lions have to consider everything in terms of shakeups, from personnel decisions to schematic changes.
If things remain the same, the Lions could conceivably become the first 0-17 team in NFL history. It’s probably not what fans want to hear, but it’s suddenly looking more realistic.
What else was learned from this latest disappointment? Here’s a look.
There Was Little Fight From the Lions in Week 6
Detroit hung in there for the first half of their game against the Bengals, but notably absent was the trademark fight they have shown most of the season. In spite of being undermanned, the Lions have managed to put up a fight in recent weeks and not give up, especially on defense and in the second half of games. That wasn’t the case this time around for the Lions. Detroit seemed to pack it in on defense in the third and fourth quarters which led to the blowout. Every once in a while, games like this are going to happen, especially when the Lions are as undermanned as they have been this season. It’s human nature to give up a bit, and it looked as if the Lions were ready to give in this game.
T.J. Hockenson Must Clean up His Mental Mistakes
It was a bad day for T.J. Hockenson statistically with 74 receiving yards, and in terms of the intangibles, it was rough for the tight end. Hockenson managed to rack up a few key penalties from a false start to a hold and struggled with consistency on the field most of the day. It’s one thing to put up numbers that show how good you are as a player, but it’s another thing to show what a complete player you are by finding a way to do the little things right. Hockenson wants to be the next big thing at tight end, and if it’s to happen, he is going to have to find a way to clean up the technique as well.
Amani Oruwariye Looking Like Top-Flight Cornerback
With yet another impressive pick in this game, Amani Oruwariye brought his total to 3 interceptions this season. There have been a lot of negatives this year for the Lions, but Oruwariye isn’t one of them. The cornerback is playing well this season and doing a good job to create sudden changes for his defense and his offense. In a lost season, it’s important to remember what has gone right in certain places. Oruwariye has been one of those things for the Lions.
Lion? Julian Okwara, Linebacker
The Lions didn’t get many elite performances all afternoon from anyone, but it was nice to see Julian Okwara get his first career sack on the afternoon. It isn’t going to be a silver lining for the fans considering how bad the team is as a whole, but needing a pass rush given injuries, Okwara needs to step up. It was a breath of fresh air to see him take steps toward doing that this week.
Lamb? Detroit’s Whole Team
The Lions didn’t do enough to win on either side of the ball. It wasn’t a good effort from the Lions whatsoever any single way from any player. It’s been rare so far this season to say this, but the Lions were simply bad overall and put a stink bomb on the field collectively.
Lions’ Stat to Note: 9
That was the team’s number of penalties on the day. A big reason the Lions fell behind and never got going was penalties. Discipline has come and gone through the years, and consistency with that needs to start in the trenches with penalties and execution. Detroit racked up 77 yards in penalties on the day, and that was far too big a number to note for the team.
Lions’ Quote to Note
“We didn’t do anything right,” head coach Dan Campbell said in a post-game press conference. “Offensively, we had no rhythm, we had no tempo, we couldn’t execute on third down, missed opportunities, and that’s the story of the game. … That was a beat down.”
The coach was very succinct on his feelings after the game, tearing into his team for their effort. He admitted he didn’t believe Cincinnati was 30 points better than Detroit, so it’s very clear the coach was frustrated as a whole with his team — including himself.
“When you get whipped like that, that’s on me,” he said. “That’s a reflection on me. … A team is not 30 something points better than us. There’s no way.”