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FOUR DOWNS: Lions left looking for answers after disappointing defensive performance


One would be hard-pressed to find a more disappointing defensive performance in recent Detroit Lions history after Sunday's 48-45 loss to Seattle at home.

The Seahawks racked up 555 yards with 235 of those coming on the ground. The Seahawks ended the game with a first down run on a 3rd and 5 play with the Lions stacking the box. That's what kind of day it was for the defense. Seattle had nine possessions and scored on seven of them. The two they didn't were a missed field goal and a kneeldown to end the game.

Detroit's defense came into the game ranked last in the NFL in points allowed (31.0), and didn't rank higher than 25th in any major statistical category, and they didn't do anything to improve those numbers Sunday.

Obviously, something has to change.

"I've got a ton of faith in (defensive coordinator) Aaron Glenn," head coach Dan Campbell said after the game. "I think we sit down and we look at everything together. I think more than anything it's time for a deep dive."

Campbell said everything is on the table this week when it comes to trying to find some answers to their defensive woes to start the year. Whether that's coaching evaluations, scheme tweaks and potential personnel changes.

Campbell said he trusts Glenn and wants to allow him to do his job, but he also plans to look a lot deeper into what continues to plague this defense.

The 141 points the Lions have allowed in their first four games are the most in NFL history.

View photos from the Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions Week 4 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Oct. 2 in Detroit, MI.


It's very clear through the first quarter of the season where the strengths and weaknesses are on this football team.

Detroit's scored the most points in the NFL through four games, but they've also given up the most points. Detroit's offense ranks toward the top of the league in just about every major statistical category. The defense ranks at or near the bottom.

When an offense scores 45 points in the NFL, that's usually good for a win about 99 percent of the time. But the one thing quarterback Jared Goff said the Lions can't do after dropping to 1-3 on the season after another close loss is to start pointing fingers in the locker room.

"Keep supporting them," Goff said of the defense. "I've been on the other side of that and it's tough. You keep supporting them. They'll come around. I trust those coaches. I trust those players. I'll tell you one thing, I know what happens when you don't support them. It goes downhill really quickly."

If the Lions want to stay in the fight and work out of the hole they've dug for themselves early on, they have to stay together and do it together.


Goff lamented the fact that the offense couldn't do more to win a shootout Sunday against the Seahawks. He was particularly bothered by the pick-six he gave up on the first play of the second half that ended up being a huge play in the game.

Still, Detroit's offense put up 520 yards Sunday. They rushed for 145 yards and Goff threw for 378 yards with four touchdown passes. Detroit punted just twice in the contest.

There have been years in Detroit when both sides of the ball and all three phases have struggled to have success, but that's certainly not the case with this offense. They've scored the most touchdowns (18) of any team through four games. The next best are Philadelphia and Baltimore with 15. They're averaging 35.0 points per game. Unfortunately, the defense is allowing 35.3 per game.

Goff is in a good place right now. All the injuries the Lions had on offense coming into this game didn't matter much in the end, which is a compliment to Goff, this offensive line and coordinator Ben Johnson.

If the offense continues to play like this, Detroit will have a chance to win every game they play in.


With injuries to running back D’Andre Swift, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and wide receiver DJ Chark that prevented all three from playing against Seattle, the Lions needed some guys to step up in their place. Veteran tight end T.J. Hockenson said he was excited during the week when it became clear he was going to be a big part of the offensive game plan.

"We knew somebody was going to have to put the team on (their back), and make sure the ball was moving," Hockenson said after the game. "That was my goal coming into this game was to keep the ball moving and make plays when called."

He certainly did that.

Hockenson caught eight of his 12 targets Sunday for a career-high 179 yards and two touchdowns. His 81-yard catch and run in the third quarter was spectacular. After catching just 10 balls in his first three games, it was good to Hockenson step up and put up big numbers when the offense needed him most.

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