Leshoure's first showing is an impressive one
The Lions have waited equally as long to feature a running back with his unique blend of power and agility.
Those skills were on full display Sunday in Tennessee, as Leshoure became the first Lions running back since Billy Sims on Sept 7, 1980 to rush for at least 100 yards in his NFL debut. Leshoure finished with 100 yards rushing on the button, including his first-career touchdown. He also added 34 receiving yards on four receptions in a 44-41 Lions overtime loss. Sims had 153 yards against the Rams in his debut.
"Took us a little bit to get rolling," Leshoure said. "The first half, we had some possessions where we had missed opportunities to get it in as far as touchdowns. But it is what it is, but we're learning from it and we plan to come back next week with a win."
Leshoure, who started in place of
Like the Rams and the 49ers the first two weeks, the Titans came out in a two-high safety set and dared the Lions to run the ball against seven-man boxes and pass the ball underneath. The ability of Leshoure to get chunks of yards on the ground in the first half opened things up for
That's an important dynamic moving forward for Lions.
Struggling special teams
The Lions are struggling to find consistency with their special teams and the unit was anything but in Sunday's loss to the Titans.
They allowed a 65-yard punt return touchdown – albeit on a trick play, 'Music City Miracle' style – and a 105-yard kickoff return.
The kickoff return by Darius Reynaud was particularly disheartening because it came on the heels of a nine-play, 46-yard Lions drive that culminated with a 3-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion from
"Poor play," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said when asked about his special teams after the game. "They caught us on the throw-back. We had all the momentum in the world. We get out and score and give it right back to them on that long kick. That's a combination of kick and coverage. Ball placement wasn't good, our coverage wasn't good."
All in all, it was a bad day for the Lions' special teams.
A defensive no-show
The Lions are supposed to have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, right? Well, I'm not sure where were they Sunday in Tennessee, because they certainly weren't in the backfield making things uncomfortable for Titans quarterback Jake Locker.
The final stat book reads zero sacks for the Lions on Sunday. Even worse – the unit had just one quarterback hit.
Sacks can be misleading sometimes. Quarterbacks can be under duress and not be sacked, but the rush still affects the game. That wasn't the case Sunday with the Lions defensive line. Locker was able to survey the field from a pretty steady pocket all game, and when things did break down, he was able to get out of the pocket and was effective.
"We're going to learn from this game," said Lions defensive end
Locker finished 29-of-42 passing for 378 yards with two touchdowns. His passer rating was 113.0.
"We have to rush better," Schwartz said. "We have some injuries in the back end and we rely on those guys up front. We certainly not only need to rush better but also do a better job of containing the quarterback who we knew had good legs and the ability to create a play on his own."
With the injuries to the back end of their secondary, the Lions have to rely on their defensive line taking some of the pressure off the secondary by getting a good rush. They let the secondary down Sunday.
Hill shows why a solid backup QB is a must
When Stafford suffered an "upper leg muscle strain" in the fourth quarter, Hill came onto the field and was levied the responsibility of trying to lead the Lions back from a 14-point deficit with 1:16 left in the game. Hill calmly led the Lions down on a seven-play, 80-yard drive that finished with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson to trim the Titans lead to 41-34.
After recovering an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, Hill connected with
He finished 10-of-13 passing for 172 yards with two touchdowns. His 157.9 rating was nearly perfect (158.3).
Hill's performance Sunday was good, but will probably be remembered for the play he missed at the end of overtime instead of the ones he made to get the Lions into overtime in the first place. He failed to get the 10 other guys on offense on the same page on the game's last play, which is ultimately the responsibility of the quarterback. Instead of attempting to draw the Titans offside and kick a game-tying field goal in overtime - which was what Schwartz wanted to happen - Hill took a snap from center
"I'll take full responsibility for that," Hill said after the game. There was a miscommunication and it's up to the quarterback to get all 11 guys on the same page, for sure."