Free Press sports writer Carlos Monarrez answers three questions after the Detroit Lions’ 42-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field:
Is Lions’ meltdown on the players or the coaching?
Where do you start? How and why did this Lions implosion that started late in the first half happen? It was one of the Lions’ worst short stretches of football in recent memory. In an 80-second span, the Lions committed three costly penalties and gave up 14 points. A holding call on backup left guard Oday Aboushi stopped the clock with 1:08 left in the second quarter to give the Packers too much time for a final drive, and safety Will Harris’ consecutive personal fouls made that drive even easier. Matthew Stafford made poor decisions on at least two unnecessary sacks and he threw a pick-six. The Lions came out flat and got run over on the first play of the second half on Aaron Jones’ 75-yard touchdown run. Is it the coaching? Is it the players? It probably has to be both for a team to look this bad in a blowout defeat.
[ Opinion: Lions’ season essentially over after flop in Green Bay ]
Should the Lions fire everyone?
I know. You want to fire everyone. Fire the coach and the general manager! The Ford family should sell the team! After a loss like this — especially on the heels of a loss like last week’s — everyone wants to break out the torches and pitchforks and storm the castle. And it’s true Matt Patricia’s 9-24-1 record is looking worse by the minute. But it’s too early. Just like it was too early when the Lions went up, 14-3, to think they had exorcised the ghosts from the Bears loss. Yes, the team doesn’t look good right now. But it has only been two games with two more coming up that should provide a more reasonable chance at victory. Be honest. Did you ever pick the Lions to win this game? I predicted a closer loss, but still a loss. If the Lions get healthier and clean up their mistakes, we all might end up looking back at this game in two weeks as the result of running into what’s shaping up to be the NFL’s best offense. Two games is too early to make a big judgment.
Can the Lions fix this?
After the slew of mistakes and bad penalties late in the second quarter that led to a Packers touchdown, Lions radio analyst Lomas Brown said: “That’s what good teams don’t do. They don’t shoot themselves in the foot.” He’s completely right. And that’s where the Lions’ salvation lies. Don’t shoot yourselves in the foot. It’s too early to say whether this team is truly bad or has a chance to be good. But it’s not too early to see that the run defense, which was without defensive tackle Nick Williams, needs to stop the bleeding. While they’re dealing with key injuries on both sides of the ball, the Lions have to cut down on self-inflicted mistakes. Mental errors are fixable. With more discipline and better luck with health, the Lions should have a much better chance to win one of their next two games.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Lions content.