Detroit Lions’ ceiling this season will be determined by its leaky defense

Detroit Free Press

Free Press columnists Carlos Monarrez and Shawn Windsor answer three questions after the Detroit Lions’ 28-24 loss to the Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis:

What does Sunday tell you about the Lions’ ceiling?

The Lions continued their impressive offense under coordinator Ben Johnson, who called an effective and mostly aggressive game in a 28-24 loss at Minnesota. The fact the Lions even had a chance against a pretty good Vikings defense was all due to Johnson’s offense. But the Lions’ true ceiling is going to be dictated by the defense, which struggled to contain running back Dalvin Cook after having success early in the game, then struggled in the secondary in the second half. Cornerback Amani Oruwariye had a tough day with six penalties called against him, even though he had a hard assignment guarding Adam Thielen. Give the defense credit for holding the Vikings to 14 points midway through the fourth quarter and recovering Cook’s fumble late in the third quarter. But giving up 14 points in the final eight minutes revealed the Lions’ Achilles heel.

I watched Sunday’s game with Free Press columnist Shawn Windsor and he demanded to the final word, so he’ll chime in on the next two questions.

The defense needs work, yes. But is it holding the Lions back?

No. Dan Campbell’s in-game decisions are.

There is no guarantee that if Campbell had elected to go for it on fourth-and-4 with a little over a minute left in the game the Lions would’ve picked it up. But at least the Vikings would’ve had 10 more yards to gain on the drive in which they scored the winning touchdown.

Kicking a 54-yard field goal made no sense. It offered little protection. Pick up the first down and the game is finished.

What’s odd is that Campbell was aggressive most of the game in spots that made sense. You might quibble with one decision at midfield that gave the Vikings a short field, but the Lions had success picking up the fourth down conversions.

To get conservative when it really mattered undermines the earlier aggressiveness. If you’re not going to stick your neck out with the game on the line, what does it mean?

Unfortunately for Lions’ fans, another gut-wrenching loss.

JEFF SEIDEL:Gamblin’ Dan Campbell played it safe and the Detroit Lions got burned

Should the NFL call unsportsmanlike penalties for touchdown celebrations?

I know some people don’t want anyone to have fun at an NFL game, and therefore think Jamaal Williams should be suspended for the season after “hip” dancing in the end zone to celebrate his 13-yard touchdown run, but this is silly.

All Williams did was sway his hips around. In fact, he could’ve kept a hula hoop on his hips if he’d had one. Should hula hoops be banned now, too?

I can’t believe that you think a hip dance will lead to a pole dance or something even more suggestive. That’s like saying edibles lead to heroin.

I suppose the league doesn’t want the entire offense to act out Shakespeare under the goalposts. But only because it would take too much time.

Besides, one person’s hula dance is another person’s tango or square dance. Why punish any celebratory dance? It’s hard to get into the end zone.

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