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O'HARA'S BURNING QUESTIONS: How much did Stafford's absence hurt Lions?

Lions-Buccaneers burning questions: A tuneup for the Bucs heading to the playoffs and an overhaul coming for the Lions in the Bucs' 47-7 win at Ford Field.

Question: How much impact did the coaching shakeup have on the Lions, with interim head coach Darrell Bevell and four assistant coaches prohibited from participating in the game because of COVID-19 protocols?

Answer: It obviously didn't help anything, but it's no excuse for the Lions being outplayed by such a wide margin. The Lions were never competitive, and the Bucs took full advantage to dominate the game on offense and defense.

The Bucs scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions to hold a 34-0 lead at halftime. Tom Brady put on a quarterback clinic for the Bucs, passing for 348 yards and four TDs in the first half.

That was it for Brady. Backup Blaine Gabbert took over in the second half and threw a TD pass on the Bucs' first possession to make it 40-0.

The Lions' only touchdown came on Jamal Agnew's punt return in the third quarter.

Question: Matthew Stafford left the game with an injured right ankle when he was hit by Bucs linebacker Devin White on the Lions' first possession. Stafford did not return.

How much did his absence hurt the Lions?

Answer: It had to have some impact. The offense did not score a touchdown without him. Chase Daniel took over and played until the fourth quarter. David Blough finished the game.

The real concern is about Stafford's future, not what the offense did or didn't do in a blowout loss. He hasn't finished three games this season because of injuries, and he missed the last eight games last season with a back injury.

The fact that he was not made available for a postgame interview is cause for some concern that the injury is serious enough to prevent Stafford from playing in the season's final game next week against the Vikings.

White got to Stafford unblocked and hit him with a clean shot. There was a breakdown in the protection. That should not happen, no matter who's calling the plays.

Question: How did this loss compare with some others in the Lions' history?

Answer: That question was asked in the press box. My answer is that it stands on its own, just like some other one-sided losses.

Changing the culture is a primary focus of what the Lions are trying to achieve in their search to hire a new general manager and head coach.

If they're successful, they can eventually can compare big wins instead of ranking lopsided losses.

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