There was no drama and no doubt about what went wrong with the Detroit Lions in their latest loss.
It was all as clear cut as the final score: Cincinnati Bengals 34, Detroit Lions 11.
There was plenty of anger and disappointment from head coach Dan Campbell over the way the Lions lost to make their record 0-6. That was far different from his tearful reaction at his postgame press conference a week ago after the loss to the Vikings on a field goal on the final play of the game.
In that game, he felt bad for his players for the way they'd lost two games in three weeks on long last-play field goals.
After the Bengals' debacle, it was more anger and disappointment for how they failed to compete at any acceptable level, particularly on offense.
"That was obvious here ... we got whipped," Campbell said. "That was brutal. They went after us. They were ready to go. We didn't do anything right. We played a little defensively early in the game, first half. We were in it.
"We couldn't sustain. Offensively, we had no rhythm. That was a beat down."
A beat down for sure, one that made the Lions the NFL's only winless team.
This week's Monday Countdown looks at Campbell's reaction and how some of his most pointed comments were directed at the offense in what is becoming a weekly theme. There is also a look at quarterback Jared Goff, who was scrutinized again by Campbell, and Goff's comments about his role and performance.
There are also takeaways on offense, defense and special teams, what's trending and the bottom line.
We start – again – with the head coach.
1. Coach comments:
Campbell took a harsh look at his team for its performance – more accurately, lack of performance – and he did not exempt himself from criticism.
It was the first time in what already has become a difficult season that the Lions did not show up ready to play. They had lapses in all five of the previous five games, but they competed hard. That was not the case against the Bengals.
The Lions had nine penalties. Some of them showed a simple lack of concentration.
"More importantly, the focus was not there," Campbell said. "I told them this. I'm going to look at everything. That's my job. When you get whipped like that, that's on me. That's a reflection on me.
"A team isn't 30 some points better than us. There's no way. We weren't in that fight."
Even the offensive stats, meager as they were, were misleading, Campbell said.
"You look at our stats offensively ... they were in prevent cover two," he said. "We should make some plays. Defense – if that's the way it's going, our defense can't allow them to score. So be it. That's life. You've got to hold them and keep us in the game
"I know this: I'll be looking directly at myself first tonight before I look at anything else. That's the bottom line. You don't get whipped like that.
"Your coach has a hand in that. That's the truth."
2. The quarterback:
Campbell stressed more than once that he did not consider pulling Goff and bringing in David Blough. Blough started five games in 2019 after Matthew Stafford went out for the season.
Blough is the backup this year, with Tim Boyle on injured reserve.
However, Campbell has singled out the offense multiple times for not performing up to expectations, and has expressed concerns about Goff's high level of turnovers.
Goff had lost four fumbles and had three interceptions going into Sunday's game. He added an interception Sunday, making it four in six games.
"I don't feel like we can accurately judge him one way or another," Campbell said. "I don't feel that way yet. I will say this, I feel like he needs to step up more than he has. I think he needs to help us, just like everybody else does.
"He needs to put a little weight on his shoulders -- make some throws and do some things. He needs help."
3. Goff, bigger role:
Goff did not seem fazed by Campbell's comments when they were related to him during his postgame media session. Goff has maintained an even keel since arriving in Detroit, and that did not change.
"I feel I can always do more," he said. "You're never in a position where you feel complacent. Of course, we're nowhere near that.
"I've got some experiences to rely on that I can relate to these guys and give my best – be the best leader I can be.
"It really tests who you are at times like this. It's hard to be the same person. We've had a lot of character to this point. I think we've got a good group. And a group that won't give up on each other."
4. Takeaways, offense:
- The Lions had four first downs in the first half and didn't get No. 5 until after the Bengals scored their third TD to make it 27-0 with 12:38 left in the fourth quarter.
- The running game had been solid, but it failed to carry the load against the Bengals. D'Andre Swift had 13 carries for 24 yards. Jamaal Williams had four carries for 11 yards.
- Tight end T.J. Hockenson had eight catches for 74 yards, with a long reception of 33 yards. They were decent stats, but they seemed empty because the majority came after the Bengals had taken a big lead.
5. Takeaways, defense:
- The first half was decent – 149 yards as the Bengals took a 10-0 lead. The big breakdown was a 34-yard catch by rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase that set up a late field goal that made it 10-0.
- The gates opened in the second half. The Bengals never punted on five possessions, getting three TDs, a field goal and a kneel down.
- One high note for the defense: Five passes defended, two sacks and an interception.
6. Takeaway, special teams:
- Jack Fox boomed some punts. He averaged 55.5 yards on six punts, with a long punt of 64 yards.
- Up: Cornerback Amani Oruwariye. He got his third interception of the season.
- Down: Team focus, to borrow from the head coach. No better example was getting a false start penalty when the offense was going for it on fourth and one. A lack of poise and concentration.
- Even: Linebackers Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Derrick Barnes. They performed well again.
8. Bottom line:
It was projected to be a tough season for the Lions, and it has lived up to that. That doesn't make it any easier to take.