The Detroit Lions came into the 2020 season with designs of a playoff push and huge amounts of improvements, but they remain stuck in neutral thanks to the struggles of their coaching staff and specifically their boss.
Matt Patricia’s team is facing the start of the softer underbelly of their schedule, and they kicked things off to the worst possible start with a loss to the 2-5 Minnesota Vikings. Not only was the game a loss, but the team didn’t compete or execute whatsoever on the defensive side of the ball while failing to produce on offense.
After the game, all Patricia can offer is the same tired platitudes. Of course the Lions need to play and coach better, everybody who watched knows that. The question now becomes if Patricia is the right guy to entrust with getting them over the hump, and if Bob Quinn should be around to make the critical roster decisions.
Right now, there’s little reason to show the Lions have improved. They can trounce as many average teams as they want, but whenever they compete against a team with a pulse, it gets ugly. That’s a direct reflection on Patricia an the work of his staff this season and during their tenure.
There isn’t many ways the Lions have improved under Patricia since he took over, and this type of game only proves the gap between the rest of the NFC North’s elite teams and Detroit. That’s on Patricia.
With everything coming undone, it’s hard to imagine the coach can make a convincing enough argument to stay when everything should point to him going.
Here’s a few more lessons learned from this week’s frustratingly failed hunt.
Matthew Stafford Gets a Pass This Week
It was the week from hell for Stafford and his family. First, the quarterback came up as a potential COVID-19 high risk case and had to isolate away from his family. Then, one of his daughters fell and suffered a scary accident at home and the family struggled to find anyone to help thanks to COVID protocol. Stafford didn’t have a great day with 2 interceptions against Minnesota, but it’s tough to hold him too accountable given all he was dealing with inside and outside the lines. It wasn’t a great day for Stafford, but there will hopefully be better weeks ahead for both he and his family. Hopefully, this is the last time the Stafford family has to deal with such a roller coaster week.
Brayden Coombs Looks Like a Bright Star
Detroit has blocked 3 kicks in the last 2 weeks, and got a pair of blocks on Sunday. They’ve developed Jack Fox as one of the best young punters in the league. Even though Matt Prater is struggling, it seems as if a major common thread for the team is the work of Coombs with the team’s specialty group. The Lions need more coaching like this in the coming weeks and even years. Coombs has become a bright star for the team this year and his group is playing surprisingly well even as the entire team remains inconsistent otherwise.
Kenny Golladay Was Missed Yet Darrell Bevell Deserves Blame
Detroit’s offense isn’t going to look the same without its best player in Golladay, and now the Lions are a woeful 0-4 against the opposition without Golladay. Still, the team’s offensive coordinator hasn’t exactly been packing an elite game plan. He gets too conservative with the run and sometimes doesn’t seem to trust his playmakers. That’s got to change for the Lions, especially without Golladay in the mix. Bevell has had an average year with the Lions in 2020, and his lack of creativity and consistency is hurting the team at this point.
Lions’ MVP vs. Vikings: D’Andre Swift, RB
The Lions should really work on using Swift more, because when they do, he seems to churn out the yards. In this game, Swift ran for 64 yards and it felt like he didn’t break a sweat while doing so. The Lions typically struggle to develop runners, but they look to have a good one brewing in Swift. They need to feed him more and keep him on the field consistently.
Lions’ Lamb vs. Vikings: Everson Griffen, DL
All week long, Griffen talked the talk, but he couldn’t walk the walk during the game. He seemed super motivated to play the game of his life. Then, he was only able to put up a few tackles against his former team while struggling to make much of am impact in the pocket. Griffen is a good personality coming to Detroit, but if he is going to talk, he had better back it up. The Lions sure could have used a better pass rush in this game and Griffen struggled to help provide it whatsoever. Next time, he should probably keep a bit more of a low profile before the game.
Lions Stat of the Game: 206
That’s the number of yards the Lions allowed on the ground to Dalvin Cook. It was nearly a team’s worth of production from one man. That’s not a great look for the Lions defense, which needs to find a way to key in on players more routinely. They had no answer for cook whatsoever in arguably the ugliest defensive performance of the season against one player.
Lions Quote To Note
“It’s on everybody. We gotta coach better. We gotta play better.” -Matt Patricia. The Lions are running out of time to prove to their coach that they can get this done. Some would argue his time is already up after such an ugly and frustrating defeat.