The coverage units on special teams have giant cracks. The defense is leaking, resulting in big plays and bad plays – and some non-plays, especially when it comes to getting to the quarterback.
The offense has been strangely misfiring for three weeks. And worst of all, quarterback
Three weeks into the season, and the Lions need a repair kit.
Their record is 1-2 after Sunday's loss at LP Field. The record alone doesn't put the Lions out of the race in the NFC North this early in the season, but the concern should be that at no point this year have they looked ready to add a second straight playoff appearance to last year's Wild Card berth that ended a 12-year drought in the postseason.
There were some brilliant highlights Sunday, but the Lions were lacking in the gritty, grubby details that teams have to execute to win consistently.
They either handed the game to the Titans, or the Titans swiped it from them.
Either alternative is bad – and does not bode well for the immediate future.
They gave up two touchdowns on special teams returns. They were tricked on a throw-back pass on a punt and surrendered a 105-yard kickoff after they'd taken a 27-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
And the Lions had their own weird plays.
The second TD came after the Lions recovered an onside kick. Two plays later,
"I've been around a lot of crazy games," Coach Jim Schwartz said after the game. "I haven't been around one like this."
The replacement referees were horrible again, but that's another story for another day.
Whether it was the refs, or bad bounces or the rub of the green or the stars lining up to give the woeful Titans their first win of the season, the bottom line is that the Lions have not been sharp.
Jake Locker, the Titans' second-year quarterback, has been skewered by fans and critics for his wayward performance in the first season.
On Sunday, he looked like Drew Brees and Matt Flynn, the star and career backup who shredded the Lions' secondary in their last two games last season.
The defensive line that is supposed to be a strength never got a hand on Locker, except when he was scrambling. He completed 29 of 42 passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't have a sack or an interception, and his passer rating as a sizzling 113.0.
"We have to rush better," Schwartz said.
There has to be a concern about Stafford.
He was hurt chasing Verner on his long run after taking the ball away from Pettigrew.
Stafford said he went into the game with a slight muscle injury he had sustained in practice during the week. He pulled up about 30 yards from the end zone as Verner was pulling away.
"It's just something that was bothering me a little bit during the week," he said.
He was asked if he'll be healthy for Sunday's home game against the Vikings.
"We'll see," he said. "I've got to take a look at it."
The Lions did enough good things to win the game.
The trouble was, the Lions did more than enough bad things to lose it.
A highlight reel of the big plays that went against the Lions would look more like Mad Men 13 than Madden 13. From the Lions' point of view, there was nothing entertaining about it.
And despite the yards on offense, it was baffling how Johnson was an after-thought in the first half. He had one catch for six yards, and only one other pass was thrown in his direction. He caught it – but barely out of bounds.
"We didn't see one single snap of single-high coverage," Stafford said, referring to how the Titans rotated their defense toward Johnson and kept a safety in his area.
"They were dropping seven, eight and nine the whole game."
The Lions had killer defensive penalties late in the game. And the miscommunication in overtime that led to Hill being stopped on a fourth-down sneak, thus ending the game, was a play that should never happen to a veteran team with a veteran quarterback.
Schwartz said the play was to try to draw the Titans offside, then call time if they didn't jump and kick the field goal.
"What it all comes down to, it's the coach's fault," Schwartz said. "I was right there to call time out."
Calling time seems like such a simple act.
When things are going bad, nothing is simple.