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O'HARA'S MONDAY COUNTDOWN: What went wrong in Week 1 loss to Eagles

It might not have looked as bad on the scoreboard as the 44-6 loss the Detroit Lions absorbed at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles last season, but it was bad enough on its own merit to render comparisons unnecessary.

There was a frustration level in Sunday's 38-35 loss to the Eagles that was missing in the one-sided debacle last year. That loss made the then-winless Lions' record 0-8.

The 2022 version of the Lions has hopes of being playoff contenders, and Sunday's season opener before a supportive home crowd at Ford Field provided an opportunity to take an important first step in that direction.

Take nothing away from the Eagles. They deserved to win by the way they played. But they also got help from the Lions, who had long lapses on offense and defense.

This week's Monday Countdown looks at what went wrong for the Lions – a lot – and what went right – not as much.

There's a look at signs of hope, and obvious areas that have carried over from last season.

There are takeaways on offense, defense and special teams, what's trending, and the bottom line.

1. We start with the difference: It looked like the Lions were on the way to a big game game when they scored on their first possession -- a one-yard run by Jamaal Williams to finish off a 75-yard drive – for a 7-0 lead.

But their biggest problem surfaced immediately. The defense had no answer for quarterback Jalen Hurts.

As head coach Dan Campbell put it without trying to be funny, "Hurts hurt us." He rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown. He was especially effective on third down, keeping possessions alive when it looked like the Lions had him stopped.

The Eagles answered back after the Lions had scored on their possession with a 13-play, 75-yard drive to a tying TD. Hurts scored it on a one-yard run around right end that fooled the Lions' defense to such a point that Hurts literally walked into the end zone.

He completed 18 of 32 passes for 243 yards, with no TDs or interceptions. The Eagles piled up 455 yards against a Lions' defense that was supposed to be better but showed, instead, there's a lot of work to do.

That first possession was the start of a chain of three touchdowns that gave the Eagles a 21-7 lead.

"I think about what mistakes they made," Campbell said. "They really didn't (make any). They executed well. We struggled with their quarterback. Hurts hurt us.

"We had a lot of 'almost in position.' We just couldn't close it out."

2. Offensive lull: It was a good start, with the TD on the first possession and three in the fourth quarter in a rally that fell three points short.

The offense didn't get a chance to make it a fourth TD – or an attempt at a game-tying field goal – when the defense failed to stop the Eagles on their final possession.

"There were those times we stalled out," Campbell said. "Just some self-inflicted wounds there.

"We came out in the second half, we did a much better job. We were much more efficient. We were able to take some shots (deeper passes) because we were able to stay on the field."

A major wound was an interception thrown by quarterback Jared Goff that was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter that pushed the Eagles' lead to 21-7.

On the play, tight end T.J. Hockenson cut inside, while Goff threw outside, giving the Eagles an easy interception.

"A miscommunication" is how Goff described it.

3. Run Swift: Running back D’Andre Swift did that for the Lions. It started with a 50-yard run on the first possession and continued through the fourth quarter until he finished with 144 yards rushing, and one touchdown and three receptions for 31 yards.

"He can go to the house from anywhere," Campbell said. "I'm glad he's ours."

4. Takeaways, offense:

  • The first half was a warmup for wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. He had four targets and two catches for 11 yards. It was a different story in the second half. He had eight targets and six catches for 53 yards with one TD.
  • Offensive line: It held up for the most part. Goff was sacked once – on a play where he had to field a low snap.
  • Williams played his role as the power runner, scoring two TDs with 11 carries for 28 yards.

5. Takeaways, defense:

  • Hurts again: He had seven carries for 71 yards last year, and 17 carries for 90 yards Sunday.
  • Sack time: The Lions managed only one sack, and it didn't come from the front seven. Safety Tracy Walker got it on a blitz.
  • Jeff Okudah's day: He started and played most of the game. He had 10 tackles and one pass defended.

6. Takeaways, special teams:

  • It was a quiet day on kickoff returns for the Lions. They didn't have any. All seven of the Eagles' kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks.

7. Trending:

  • Up: Swift. He might not get 1,000 yards rushing and receiving, but he looks headed for a big season.
  • Down: Defense. It has to play better, simple as that.
  • Even: St. Brown. He picked up where he left off as a reliable go-to receiver.

8. Bottom line: The Lions have expectations this year – their own, and what their fans expect. They simply cannot have another one of those seasons where they get in a big hole early. That makes next week's home game against Washington all the more important. It's a big early test.

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