FIRST DOWN: STAFFORD TAKES THE BLAME
Before stepping to the podium following Detroit’s 48-17 loss to the New York Jets, quarterback Matthew Stafford went in front of his teammates in the locker room and took the blame for the loss.
“I told those guys in there, ‘I’ll take this one,’” Stafford said. “I hope I never have to say that again. I don’t want to do it. I’ll push myself as hard as I can to make sure I don’t have to.”
Stafford threw four interceptions in the game, including one that was returned 36 yards for a touchdown by Jets linebacker Darron Lee in the third quarter. It’s the most interceptions thrown by Stafford in a single game since he threw four against Tampa Bay in a loss in 2013.
Stafford said he felt good about the game plan coming in, but just didn’t make enough good throws or good decisions.
“It’s my fault,” he said. “It can’t happen. Can’t have those huge momentum negative plays for us. I’m just going to do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Stafford finished the game 27-of-46 passing for 286 yards with one touchdown pass to wide receiver Golden Tate (21 yards) and the four interceptions. Three of the four interceptions by Stafford occurred in Lions' territory. The Jets scored 13 points off those turnovers.
Detroit’s defense and special teams deserve equal share in the loss, but a 10-year veteran like Stafford is understandably disappointed with himself after a performance like that. His 47.9 passer rating is his lowest since Week 14 of the 2012 season against the Cardinals (37.6).
“Story of the game is turnovers,” Stafford said. “We had too many of them. I had too many of them. Can’t do that to our team.”
SECOND DOWN: GOLLADAY A BRIGHT SPOT
A lot’s been expected of second-year wide receiver Kenny Golladay this offseason after he showed flashes of terrific play as a rookie.
Golladay didn’t show much in the preseason, but the Lions could have been saving the 6-foot-4, 213 pound receiver for the regular season.
Golladay caught seven passes for 114 yards (16.3 average), and was one of the few bright spots of the night.
He looks like he can be a nice third piece to the Lions' passing attack alongside Marvin Jones Jr. and Tate.
THIRD DOWN: RUN GAME STALLS
All offseason we heard about the Lions wanting to be more physical and improve their run game.
One game into the 2018 season, and the run game still looks a lot like it did last year and the year before.
There was little to no push upfront along the offensive line, and even the additions of veteran running back LeGarrette Blount (-3 yards rushing) and rookie draft picks, guard Frank Ragnow and running back Kerryon Johnson (17 yards), didn’t make much difference.
The Lions were out-gained on the ground 169 to just 39. Detroit averaged 2.6 yards per attempt. That after ending last season last in the NFL in yards per game (73.6) and yards per attempt (3.4).
“It came to a point there in the third quarter where we just didn’t have control anymore in all three phases,” head coach Matt Patricia said after the game. “Anytime you give up a long run like that (Isaiah Crowell’s 62 yarder in the third quarter) you’re obviously going to be in a bad situation with the rushing game. We just have to do a better job.”
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 1 game against the New York Jets.
FOURTH DOWN: DISAPPOINTING DEBUT
This was probably not how Patricia envisioned his Lions debut going down, but the first-year head coach wasn’t running from his team’s disappointing performance to kick off his tenure.
“Obviously, we have to coach this a lot better than what we did tonight and we have to go out and execute a lot better on the field,” he said. “We have to do a better job altogether. It starts with me.
“I think in general, all of it just has to be better. Just start from the top and work our way down. I don’t think there’s anything you can say other than it’s all just execution and coaching and all that stuff has to be better from that standpoint.”
While it’s just one of 16 games in the grand scheme of things, the way in which the Lions were thoroughly dominated in all three phases has to be disappointing for Patricia and his coaching staff.
There weren’t many performances like this over the years in New England, where Patricia won three rings as an assistant coach.
“I’m going to be most disappointed in myself,” he said after the game. “I think that’s where I always start. I have to do a better job and that’s always where I’m going to take it. And we’re going to go and we’ll look at it on film, and then obviously get everything corrected that we need to have corrected, both in coaching and playing.
“We regroup and we push forward. That’s part of this game and that’s what it is. They’re not obviously easy games when they turn out like this, you don’t like to have them go that way. You don’t like to lose in general. It doesn’t really matter, we obviously just have to do a better job.”