The Detroit Lions are a bad football team, but for most of the season’s first seven weeks they had an endearing quality about them, that they would do everything short of biting off kneecaps to get a win.
That narrative no longer applies after the Lions put on an embarrassing display of football for the second time in three weeks, losing to the lowly Philadelphia Eagles, 44-6, at Ford Field.
The Lions (0-8) have lost 12 straight games dating back to last season and are the only winless team in the NFL. They are off to their worst start since 2008, when they became the first team in NFL history to go 0-16. And Sunday’s loss was their most lopsided defeat since a 47-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last December, when a large portion of their interim coaching staff was in COVID protocol.
The Eagles, 2-5 entering the game, had their way with the Lions from the opening kick Sunday.
They scored on six straight drives (not including one kneel-down snap at the end of the first half) after starting the game with a punt, ran for a season-high 236 yards on 46 carries and kept the Lions off the scoreboard until the game was well out of reach midway through the fourth quarter.
The Lions, coming off a nail-biter of a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, were sloppy and inefficient on offense, overpowered and outmanned on defense, and outcoached on the sideline.
Twice, the Lions drew penalties for having too many men on the field on defense. Quarterback Jared Goff threw a pass out of bounds on purpose on fourth down for the second time in three weeks. And first-year coach Dan Campbell mismanaged a two-minute drill at the end of the first half, when the Lions were stopped on third- and fourth-and-1.
The Lions, who had a similarly uninspiring effort in a 34-11 to the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks ago, when they were shut out for the game’s first 51 minutes, were booed off the field at halftime and serenaded with chants of, “We want Blough,” in the second half.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts had a game-high 71 yards rushing on seven carries for the Eagles and dug Philadelphia out of a third-and-12 situation from its own 8-yard line with the game still in the balance early in the third quarter.
Boston Scott, starting in place of injured Eagles running back Miles Sanders, capped that drive with his second touchdown of the day and finished with 60 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Jordan Howard, promoted from the Eagles’ practice squad, added 57 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 12 carries, and Gardner Minshew played the entire fourth quarter in place of Hurts.
The Lions won the opening coin toss and elected to receive, but ran just four offensive plays before punting, then missed a 47-yard field goal on their second series.
Goff finished 25 of 34 passing for 222 yards and led a meaningless scoring drive in the fourth quarter, capped by rookie Jermar Jefferson’s first career touchdown run.
David Blough replaced Goff for the game’s series, to cheers from the smattering of fans still left in the stands. He fumbled on his second snap, but the Lions recovered.