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NOTEBOOK: Offense leaves points on the field in loss to Eagles

The Lions' offense started fast and finished strong on the way to scoring 35 points in an eventual 38-35 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in the regular-season debut for both clubs.

Detroit rushed for 181 yards and quarterback Jared Goff threw a couple touchdown passes, but there was still a lot the offense left on the field. After scoring on their opening possession of the game, Detroit's offense went through a four-possession stretch in the first and second quarters where they recorded three straight three and outs and Goff threw a pick six.

"That's ultimately what we'll look at what hurt us the most," Goff said of that four-possession stretch in the first half that allowed the Eagles to build a 14-point lead. "Lot of mental errors mostly. Stuff that can be cleaned up easily, but stuff that can't happen on gameday. Hopefully we can attribute it to first game stuff and hopefully next week stuff like that isn't happening."

Goff and the rest of the players on offense are going to hate to watch the tape on Monday and see how many plays they left on the field, whether it be drops or missed throws. There were a number of big plays they just missed on that could have ultimately changed the outcome of the game. Goff said after the game the offense felt like they could have scored 50 points Sunday.

"We left a lot of points out there," Goff said. "Tip your cap to the Eagles, they're a damn good team, but we shot ourselves in the foot all day long. Specifically on that lull."

Still, there were some encouraging things from the offensive performance Sunday. The team ran for 181 yards, led by D’Andre Swift's 144 rushing yards. Goff threw a couple touchdown passes to wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark. The offense was 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) converting on third down, an area where they ranked 31st last season (34.7 percent).

If not for that four-possession lull in the first half, it's probably a different outcome, but 35 points against a good defense is something the Lions can build on offensively.

View photos from the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions Week 1 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 11 in Detroit, MI.


It was a rather quiet debut for No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson Sunday. Hutchinson finished with just one combined tackle and no sacks. He had a couple pressures early in the game, but didn't finish them.

He also had a chance to make a play late in the game on a third-down run by Miles Sanders that netted the Eagles a big gain and helped them run out the clock late.

"Listen here, he'll be better next week," head coach Dan Campbell said of Hutchinson. "He needed this and they all needed it. Most rookies, that's the way it goes, you get into your first game and it's just a little different. And look, I've got to watch the tape, but I know that he'll be better next week than he was this week. And so will (Malcolm) Rodriguez and so will all those rookies – so will Kerby (Joseph). And so – that's just nature of the game."


It was a big mystery coming into the game as to who would call offensive plays between Campbell and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. It was Johnson, and Campbell said he liked the job Johnson did overall.

Besides that four-possession lull in the first half, the Lions scored five touchdowns, including four touchdowns on their last five possessions. There's plenty to clean up, certainly, but not a bad start for Johnson and the offense.


Cornerback Jeff Okudah recorded 10 tackles and defended a pass in his first game back since suffering an Achilles injury Week 1 of last season. Since at least 1994, this is the first time a Lions cornerback has logged 10-or-more tackles and a pass defense. The last time a Lions corner did so was in 2009.

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