Detroit Lions will need to spend big (on draft picks, free agents) to fix putrid defense

Detroit Free Press

Free Press columnist Carlos Monarrez tackles (unlike the Detroit Lions) three tough questions from Sunday’s 48-45 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field:

What was the most disappointing part of this Lions loss?

It’s no secret that the Lions’ defense has struggled mightily; they entered Week 4 allowing an NFL-worst 31 points per game. But playing at home against the Seahawks was a chance to improve those numbers, since Seattle’s offense entered averaging 15.7 points, tied for fourth-fewest. Yes, the loss of safety Tracy Walker last week hurt, but to give up 48 points to such an inept offense exposes just how terrible this defense is and how much help it’s going to need this offseason. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has done a good job calling plays, but he needs more talent and depth on his side. The 2023 draft should provide some help, but the Lions need to spend considerably on free-agent upgrades on defense if they want to save some coaches’ jobs next year.

DAVE BIRKETT:Finding fixes for Lions’ NFL-worst defense starts Sunday vs. Seattle Seahawks

BOOTED:Lions replacement kicker Dominik Eberle misses 2 extra points in first half Sunday

Why didn’t the Lions run the ball more?

I have a colleague named Dave Birkett. (Perhaps you’ve heard of him.) He’s quite the youth sports coach, with the approximate combined expertise of John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, Tony LaRussa and Bill Bowerman. At one point during the Lions’ frustrating day on offense, Coach Birkett wondered why the Lions, who entered leading the NFL with 5.87 rushing yards per play, weren’t running the ball more.

After falling behind, 24-15, at halftime, Jamaal Williams rushed 51 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 31-23. I fully support the Lions’ intentions of having an aggressive, downfield passing attack — but even without D’Andre Swift, the run game should have been relied on more, earlier, to set up the pass. The Lions rushed 14 times for 66 yards in the first half, but they should have leaned on the run game even more behind Williams and Craig Reynolds.

SHAWN WINDSOR:Will the pain ever stop with these Lions? Hard to see it after loss to lowly Seattle

I’ll never argue with Coach Birkett again — well, at least for another week.

Which Lions player had the best game?

That would have to be T.J. Hockenson. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. During a week when reporters were starting to question his meager production this season — 10 catches for 82 yard and one touchdown — the fourth-year tight end came up huge. He had clutch catch after clutch catch, including a beautiful and determined catch-and-run down the sideline for 81 yards in the third quarter to set up a TD catch by Josh Reynolds. Hockenson finished with eight catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns. It was nice to see one of the Lions’ star players step up when the team needed him the most, even if the Lions couldn’t make it count for a victory.

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