To score 14 points in an 18-second span
- • with an onside kick recovery sandwiched in between
- • only to then lose after a simple case of miscommunication on a missed snap, is truly stunning. What's even more stunning is the Lions' 1-2 record to start this season and their current place in the NFC North division cellar.
So, after Sunday’s loss to the Titans, is it time to reevaluate our expectations for this Lions team and this season?
Not quite yet.
This team certainly has some issues that need to be rectified if they're going to bounce back this week against a Vikings team riding high off a Week 3 win over the 49ers.
- • The secondary needs to play a whole lot better. They played probably their worst game of the season Sunday in Tennessee, allowing two big pass plays of over 60 yards and letting Titans quarterback Jake Locker throw for 378 yards with a 113.0 quarterback rating. The play of all three safeties hasn’t been good since Week 1.
- • For a second straight week, the offense had to settle for four
Jason Hansonfield goals, twice in the red zone and twice just outside the red zone. The Lions have been much too slow to push the ball down the field in the pass game. For as bad as they’ve looked offensively in the first half of the last two games, they’ve been as equally impressive in the second half. Lions still looking for a four-quarter effort from their offense.
- • Penalties continue to haunt this team at the most inopportune times. Two in particular –
Bill Bentley’s holding penalty on a long third-down attempt and Stephen Tulloch’s personal foul which occurred in overtime and allowed the Titans to kick the eventual game-winning field goal.
But as easy as it might be today to write this Lions off (and attempt to use up any vacation days you might have been saving for a January playoff run), remember that it's just three games into a 16-game season. There’s still a lot of football to be played.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots, two teams mentioned among the Super Bowl hopefuls in the AFC, woke up Monday with the same 1-2 record. I'd venture a guess that both of those teams will be playing in January.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz started the season 1-4 in 2002 when he was a defensive coordinator in Tennessee. That team rattled off victories in 10 of their last 11 games before losing in the AFC Championship Game.
Bad starts aren’t the end all in the NFL, but things need to get corrected in a hurry if the Lions want to get back even and enter their bye week with at 2-2.
- • They need safety
Louis Delmasback in the lineup, but if that isn’t this week, they have to get better play from that unit and their secondary as a whole.
- • The slow starts and the settling for field goals has to be a thing of the past. The Lions need to start forcing defenses to adjust to the way they want to play, not the other way around.
- • They need to quit with all the penalties and get more out of their special teams.
"There's one or two things you can do after a game like this," Lions defensive end
"We're going to learn from this game. We're going to make corrections and make sure the mistakes we made today won't happen again and just move forward."
The Lions have issues, as their 1-2 start would indicate, but there’s still time to make the proper corrections.