After making three consecutive comebacks in the fourth quarter to win games, I have constantly said that the Detroit Lions can’t assume that they will always be to make a comeback and count on the defense to win them games every week. On Sunday afternoon, the Lions proved me right as they loss to the Arizona Cardinals with a final score of 14-6.
- Every Sunday, the Lions rely on their defense to helped them win games. Although the Lions defense did not look ready to play when this game started as they allowed 14 points to be scored in the first half alone. The Lions top-ranked defense did eventually clamp down in the second half , as they held the Cardinals to zero points scored in the second half, which was brought on by key pass rushes to force an important three-and-outs and cornerback Cassius Vaughn and linebacker Josh Bynes, who both had key interceptions in the game. Nevertheless, the defense wouldn’t be able to save the Lions in this one, which is why the Lions suffered a loss. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the defense did their job and allowed the Lions multiple opportunities to win this game.
- After having a good game last week with 81 all-purpose yards, running back Joique Bell came right back against Arizona with another great game, this time with 115 with all-purpose yards. If you ask me, Bell truly was the diamond in the rough for the Lions on Sunday. No matter what struggles the Lions offense had against the Cardinals, Bell was right there, constantly running hard and turning short yardage plays into big yardage gains and first down conversions especially in the second half. However, just like the defense’s great effort, it wasn’t enough for the Lions to win.
- Normally, the kicking game is my negative column for the main fact that the Lions have struggled to convert field goals every game. However, in their loss against the Cardinals, kicking was their least of their of problems. In fact, their success in the kicking was the only reason they had six points on the board in this game. Looking back at the film, I know place-kicker Matt Prater may have not have the most impressive game, but it doesn’t change the fact that he converted both of his field goal attempts, including a long 50 yarder in the first quarter of the game. Again, I’m not saying it’s anything to stick your chest out about but it doesn’t change the fact that Prater’s success was one of the few positives that the Lions had today.
- Defensively, I have to credit the Lions since they didn’t allow the Cardinals to score any points in the second half. Nevertheless, that doesn’t change the fact, that I saw way to many mis-tackles in this game by the Lions in this game. While I can understand that it isn’t the most easiest thing to do against talented group like the Cardinals. It’s still inexcusable that the Lions defense miss so many tackles. To be honest, it was because of those missed tackles that the Cardinals offense had so much success in the first half, oppose to second half, where the Lions did a better job of tackling. Although mis-tackling hasn’t been a huge problem this season for the Lions, I still have to bring it up, when it comes becomes problem regardless of whether the Lions win or not.
- Another area I have to site as a negative, was the Lions secondary. I know above I gave to credit the Lions since they didn’t allow the Cardinals to score any points in the second half. Nevertheless, none of that changes the fact that the Lions secondary was exposed in this game, as they allowed quarterback Drew Stanton to do what he wanted to do through. In fact, the only plus, that you can take a way from the defensive pass coverage is the fact that Stanton was picked off twice. However, if you ask me, that had more to do with Stanton telegraphing his passes than the Lions playing great defense in coverage. Which is why I am once again saying that while the defense did play well as a whole, the Lions secondary still has some growing to do, considering they were routinely beat in coverage against the Cardinals, not to mention that they allowed them to convert too many third downs, through the air.
- In addition to the defense’s tackling woes and secondary issues, the Lions also went back to being a penalty machine both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Offensively, every time the Lions seemed to be putting together a good drive, that drive quickly turned negative with costly penalties like holding, hands to the face and false starts. Then defensively, it was the same story, because as the Lions defense got big stops, we saw the Cardinals move forward because of more costly calls like pass interference, defensive holding or encroachment. Although the Lions did step up and do a better job of not acquiring costly penalties in the second half, the Lions might have seen a much better execution and better final score in this game, if they hadn’t been their own worst enemy with the penalties.
- Offensively, I have issues with just about everybody, from the quarterback to the wide receivers. However, some of the blame has to go to the coaching staff. Despite having offensive struggles for weeks and plenty of offensive struggles in the first half, I almost saw no adjustments made, as the Lions continue to struggle offensively. When I say adjustments, I’m talking about different ways to get Golden Tate the ball considering he only had two catches or the game. While I’m not one to take anything way from the good defense that the Cardinals played, it doesn’t change the fact that the Lions offense had multiple changes to win this game but didn’t take advantage of them.
- One of the reasons that the offense continues to struggle is because quarterback Matthew Stafford, who didn’t play well at all in this game. If you ask me, his inconsistent game and overall struggles once again goes back to his inaccuracy and touch with the ball. If you go back and look at this game, the Lions’ offense had multiple opportunities to make plays both in the open field and the end-zone. However, thanks to Stafford inability to be a consistent accurate passer with touch, we saw a lot of receivers miss opportunities. At the beginning of the season, I said, that Stafford had improved in a number of ways, specially his footwork and his ability to have a short-term memory and move on from his mistakes. However it doesn’t change the fact that Stafford has been in-accurate passer all season long. While the struggles of the offense don’t solely fall to his feet, a good amount of blame goes to Stafford’s in-accuracy and lack of touch with passing the ball, which continues to affect the Lions passing game.
- Looking beyond Stafford, I am still seeing inconsistencies from the wide receiving core of the Lions, who aren’t getting open quickly enough. For the last few weeks, wide receiver Golden Tate was the only bright spot in this offense and while it was great to see him become a go-to-guy for Stafford recently. I constantly said that there will be times that Tate will be isolated or not be targeted as much. Therefore, others receivers like Jeremy Ross, Ryan Broyles, Corey Fuller and Eric Erbon who are all capable receivers with play-making ability will need to step up. While they had their moments here and there, the fact is that they couldn’t get separation or create consistently for the Lions offense, which something they need to change quickly.
- Besides Stafford and the Lions receiving core, the Lions offensive-line woes unfortunately continued in this game as well. Think about it, not only did they allow Stafford to be sacked four times and be hit a total of nine times but they also made Bell’s job much harder as he was pushed behind the line of scrimmage multiple times, putting the Lions behind the chains most of the game. Again, I’m not saying they were the sole reason that the Lions offense struggled, but they were a contributing factor.
Overall, I would like to say I am surprised that the Lions loss this game but, I can’t say that I am. As I mentioned above, I have constantly said that while this Lions team has improved drastically, they still have a lot of growing to do and quite a few flaws to correct. However, because they have been winning, those flaws and issues sometimes get overlooked.
Nevertheless, there is nothing that the Lions can do but simply learn from this and get ready for next week’s match-up against the New England Patriots. As I said before, a loss doesn’t change anything, this Lions team is still a good team with plenty of talent and skill, they just happen to experience a loss while going through their learning experience.
Even though, I’m sure there are some who will disagree with me, because the Lions haven’t officially made the playoffs yet. I still believe that it’s not to early to say that the culture is changing with the Lions.
The Lions are 7-3 right now and while there is still plenty of football to play. It doesn’t change the fact that the Lions have had success despite their injury struggles and overall offensive struggles. It’s just so happens that they loss today because of the struggles I mention above. However, thanks to the Caldwell and the ever-changing mentality in Detroit, I’m sure Lions will bounce back.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Producer of “The Morning Heat” on Hot 107.5 and Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit
For more of L-Beasley’s (Lauren Beasley) sports news and in-depth sports content, click here.
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3. Brandon More3 of 36
4. Frank Alexander4 of 36
5. Stedman Bailey5 of 36
6. Robert Mathis6 of 36
7. Will Hill7 of 36
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26. Donald Stephenson26 of 36
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28. Brandon Meriweather28 of 36
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31. Aldon Smith31 of 36
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Lions Inconsistencies Come Back To Hurt Them As They Lose To The Cardinals, 14-6 was originally published on wchbnewsdetroit.com