The defensive woes continue for the Detroit Lions. The Lions were a popular pick by many this preseason to return to the playoffs this season, perhaps making a run deep into post season play. Detroit is going no where after Week 17 of the regular season until the find a way to fix their secondary. While the Lions possess a very potent offense, they simply cannot stop opponents from passing the ball effectively on them.
Detroit left Tennessee on Sunday suffering a 44-41 OT loss to the Titans after posting an improbable 14 point comeback in the final 18 seconds. In overtime, a lack of communication and failed execution saw the Lions attempt to go for a first down when they could have simply kicked a field goal to tie the game at 44 and continue overtime play. Head coach Jim Schwartz explained after the game, that the Lions were trying to draw the Titans offsides and the center snapped the ball by accident because of miscommunication. A costly accident.
However, the game should not have had to come down to that. Detroit should have won this contest handily. Tennessee has one of the worst defenses in the league and prior to Sunday’s contest, the offense had only scored 23 total points. The Lions secondary made second-year quarterback Jake Locker look like a Pro-Bowl caliber signal caller, allowing him to pass for 378 yards.The Lions became the first team in NFL history to allow five touchdowns of at least 60 yards in one game.
Special teams breakdowns allowed for a record setting Titans performance with both a punt and kickoff return for touchdowns in the same afternoon, something which had never happened in Titans history. The high powered Lions offense was held in check in the first half, managing just 9 points off three field goals.
If you look at the Lions last five games, going back to last season, Detroit is just 1-4 and could be 0-5 if not for a late game rally against the St. Louis Rams. But what is more alarming is the frequency of which other teams are scoring on the Lions defense.
In the last four losses, teams have put up 161 points against Detroit. In week 17 last year, Matt Flynn put 45 points on the Lions, and he couldn’t beat out rookie Russell Wilson as the starter for Seattle this year. Drew Brees and the Saints added another 45 in the wildcard round of the playoffs. Alex Smith posted 27 and yesterday, Jake Locker posted a career high afternoon, managing 44 points. If you add in the 23 points Sam Bradford managed, the Lions are yielding nearly 36 points per game in their last six games.
This is a disturbing trend and a recipe for a failed post-season bid.