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O'HARA'S MONDAY COUNTDOWN: Patricia's take on where Lions stand

It wasn't a carbon copy.

It might not even have been a cheap imitation – although in the razor-thin margin that divides success from failure in the NFL it might have been a very expensive imitation.

But there were enough similarities between the Detroit Lions' loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and their Week 1 flameout to the New York Jets to have cause for concern as to where the team is headed.

Sunday's score was certainly more cosmetic – a 30-27 loss with a chance to win or tie when the Lions had the ball at midfield in the fading seconds compared to the 48-17 debacle against the Jets on Monday Night Football.

My take on the Lions after two games is that they are still a work in progress under new head coach Matt Patricia – but with many areas that need to make progress.

The Week 2 Monday Countdown looks at where the Lions were better in Game 2, where they still need work, a problem of Matthew Stafford's that still needs work, how the Lions are different on defense in their pass rush, and more.

We start with Patricia's comment after Sunday's game that jibes with my bottom line take on where the Lions stand.

1.Patricia's view: Early on in his postgame session with the media, Patricia summed up with how the plusses and minuses added up in his personal coaching box score.

"Honestly, for me, all that matters is winning," he said. "It's all about winning."

The bottom line is the won-loss record: 0-2.

2. Breakdowns: There were too many against the Jets, and too many against the 49ers. And they happened across the board – again. Offense, defense, special teams. All three units cost the Lions points or field positon.

"It bothers me a lot when that happens," Patricia said. "We had breakdowns in all three phases. We had opportunities in all three phases and didn't capitalize on them."

3. Lions run game: It was better, with limited opportunities because of the way the game went. Rookie Kerryon Johnson had eight carries for 43 yards. LeGarrette Blount had eight carries for 38 yards. Combined, the two running backs had 16 carries for 81 yards, and slightly more than 5.0 yards per attempt.

Johnson was elusive. Blount ran with power. He moved the pile.

Against the Jets, the Lions' running backs combined to carry 13 times for 34 yards.

4. Run-game influence: Stafford's 30-yard TD pass to Kenny Golladay in the first quarter was directly a result of how the effectiveness of the running game early influenced the 49ers' defense. He finished off the play with an acrobatic move at the goal line, but the play-action fake let him get wide open and down the left sideline with a head of steam.

5. Run defense: Horrid against the Jets, and worse against the 49ers. And that's a surprise.

The Jets had 36 carries for 169 yards, with a 62-yard run for a touchdown.

The 49ers had 28 carries for 190 yards and a 66-yard touchdown.

On both long TD runs, somebody up front got out of a gap, and the opposition took advantage. It seems like a small item, but the Lions went into this season stressing gap control, and not turning the pass rushers loose as freely as the Lions did under the previous system.

The Lions have been burned twice by a player getting out of his gap. The third time – if it happens again – likely will not be somebody's lucky charm.

6. Paying for penalties: Only three for 15 yards against the Jets, and nine for 86 yards against the 49ers. And there were some costly killers.

Defensive holding on Quandre Diggs wiped out a late-game interception by rookie Tracy Walker that would have given the Lions a first down inside the 49ers' 10-yard line with a little more than two minutes left.

It was chip-shot range for at least the tying field goal.

Two – count 'em two – penalties for blocking in the back wiped out Jamal Agnew's fourth-quarter punt return for a touchdown. The Lions eventually scored on the possession, but it cost them three minutes of valuable clock time.

And back-to-back holding penalties on Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker in the third quarter turned a first and 10 at the 49ers' 18 into a second and 27 at the 35. The Lions had to settle for a field goal.

7. Stafford's miscue: He lost a fumble in San Francisco's terrotiry when he scrambled away from the pass rush to keep the play alive. The Niners recovered and turned it into a field goal – which became three valuable points.

"Obviously, the turnover is on me," he said. "I can't fumble the ball. I have to throw it away."

He had 11 fumbles last season, compared to seven the previous two seasons combined. Earlier this year, he said ball security is something he worked on in the offseason to improve.

8. Pass rush: The Lions had six sacks, and all of them came from players the Lions list as linebackers. However, in Patricia's schemes players such as Devon Kennard and Eli Harold are hybrid outside linebackers/defensive ends.

It doesn't rate with discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls, but we've gotten a look at how Patricia's going to run his defense. It's a week to week proposition.

9. Pass defense: It's not what most people thought it would be. It's supposed to be a strength of the defense, but that has not been the case based on how the Jets Sam Darnold and the 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo have performed against the Lions compared to what they did in their other games.

After having the first pass of his career intercepted and return for a touchdown, Darnold completed 16 of 20 passes (80 percent) for 196 yards, two TDs and no picks. His passer rating for the game was 116.8 – including the pick on his first pass.

In Sunday's loss at home to the Dolphins, Darnold completed 25 of 41 passes for 334 yards, one TD and two picks. His passer rating for the game was 74.6 – 32.2 points lower than against the Lions.

In last week's loss to the Vikings, 49ers Garoppolo completed 15 of 33 passes for 261 yards, a TD and three picks. His passer rating for the game was 45.1. Against the Lions, under a heavy rush, he completed 18 of 26 for 206 yards two TDs and no picks. His passer rating for the game was 118.4 – 73.3 points higher than it was against the Vikings.

10. Team unity: There have been a lot of stories about Patricia and his relationship with the players. All of that will be settled over time. On Sunday, the Lions looked like a team that would play for anybody – any coach, any group of teammates. Make that anybody, period.

Patricia did not discount his team's effort, or how it fought back to get in a position to win or tie in the last minute.

"This is a very tough team," he said. "They're in great shape. They work hard."

And Stafford, not speaking directly about Patricia but the mindset of the team when things go against them, said this:

"We go out there and play," he said. "Wherever they put the ball down, we play."

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