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TIM AND MIKE: Week 8 observations

Not good:The Lions' woes in the red zone in Sunday's night's 20-15 loss to Pittsburgh have been well documented. The offense was 0-for-5 in the red zone in the contest. But an even closer look into the numbers shows just how bad the offense was inside Pittsburgh's 20-yard line. Matthew Stafford was 2-of-11 passing for six yards with a sack. The Lions ran five times for four yards. Not good all around. – Tim Twentyman

0-for-4th: Whether it's by choice or by necessity, the Lions have come up empty on fourth down. They were stopped twice on fourth down Sunday night, making them 0-for-6 on fourth down this season. They were stopped the first time when head coach Jim Caldwell passed up a short field-goal opportunity to go for it late in the third quarter. The second time was late in the game, on what proved to be the Lions' last possession. – Mike O'Hara

Very good: Kicker Matt Prater is one of this team's most valuable players through seven games. Prater connected on all five of his field goal attempts (48, 37, 51, 34 and 19 yards) and tied a career single-game high. Prater has joined Jason Hanson as the only kickers in team history to record five field goals in a game at least twice. Hanson accomplished it three times. – *Tim Twentyman


Marvin Jones Jr., rising stats: His production is trending in the opposite direction from last year, when he started fast and trailed off. He had six catches for 128 yards against the Steelers. In the previous two games he had six catches for 96 against the Saints and six for 54 against the Panthers. His three-game total is 18 catches for 278 yards. – Mike O'Hara

Coaching decision(s): There's been a lot made of Jim Caldwell's decision to go for it on 4th and 1 at the Steelers 1-yard line late in the third quarter with a chance to take the lead with a field goal. People have argued the decision either way. A lot hasn't been said, however, of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and his decision to throw the ball on 2nd and 3rd down late in the game. The throw on 2nd and 6 was particularly head-scratching. The Lions were in a position where they were having to burn timeouts in an attempt to get the ball back. An incomplete on 2nd down stopped the clock with 1:45 left and preserved a timeout. Tomlin and the Steelers got bailed out by a pass interference on 3rd down, but that was a very aggressive approach to an end-game scenario. – Tim Twentyman

TJ Jones, rising status: He has gotten more snaps in the wide receiver rotation of late and produced. He played 58 snaps Sunday night, and had four receptions for 88 yards with a long gain of 34 yards. Against the Saints before the bye, he played 52 snaps and caught three passes for 33 yards, with a long gain of 24 yards. – Mike O'Hara

Rookie development: Continue to watch the development of rookie linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin. His speed stands out, as does his ability to close in coverage. He recorded five tackles vs. Pittsburgh, including a tackle for loss in just 22 reps on defense. We could see those reps increase moving forward if his play continues to rise. – Tim Twentyman

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