Lions week 7 review: Defense steps up while offense goes missing


Futile, this is the word I use to describe the Lions offense as the defense was the only aspect to only show up at Solider Field Monday Night. The Lions gave off that same ol’ Lions feel that Detroit fans know all to well with Detroit suffering a 13-7 whooping at the hands of the Bears.

Chicago manhandled Detroit from the first snap as Stafford hit Calvin Johnson on a 7 yard curl while Megatron was met by Chicago CB ‘Peanut’ Tillman as the ball arrived. Simply put this was the Bears letting Detroit know what they were in store for. Tillman leading up to the game even went as far to say he was going to play Johnson physical and would shut him down… which he did.

In fact Chicago’s defense shut down Detroit’s offense as a whole.

But where did it go wrong? I asked myself this and I couldn’t stop coming to the same conclusions. The first thing that came to mind was the second pass from Stafford to Johnson over the middle that was dropped. If caught Megatron would still be running perhaps changing the complexity of the game. After the drop though it just became an onslaught of defensive pressure on Stafford. I can admit though that Stafford was not sharp further failing to get a pass up to Johnson in the corner of the end zone as Tillman knocked the ball away. Stafford also over threw Johnson in another attempt down field. Stafford needs to find other options but he also needs Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew to step up.

But something else that is really frustrating is when Brandon Marshall is routinely moved around the field by Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Marshall also uses double moves to beat double coverage and is put in slant patterns to get him the ball and make a play up field. See where I’m going with this? Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan did not have a good game. From back-to-back possessions that had 2nd & 1, Linehan calls a pass play. That’s when that jumbo package with Riley Reiff as an extra blocker gets the call and gets you a tough yard or more. Another play call that comes to mind is 3rd & goal where Linehan calls an empty back field shotgun. To defend this the Bears drop seven into coverage with the result of no touchdown being scored. In fact Stafford was lucky not to be intercepted.

The Lions failed at every aspect on offense in this game. The Chicago Bears are known for being a tough team, that feasts on turnovers, especially fumbles. Tillman himself has forced over 30 in his 12 year career. The Lions clearly didn’t stress ball security fumbling six times which in a way is on the coaching.

At 2-4 I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. With game’s coming up against Chicago, Green Bay (twice), Atlanta and Houston things are certainly an uphill battle for the Lions at this point. That’s not even considering the Lions play Seattle this Sunday who have a very good defense and will do some of the same things the Bears did.

Now I’ve heard some of the complaints from Lions Nation regarding this team.

  • Stafford has happy feet.
  • Stafford has been inaccurate.
  • Stafford is side arming the ball.

Simply put he did this stuff last year. Now did you fail to see Stafford running for his life? Chicago had consistent pressure all night. The offensive line looks old as they did not pick up blitz’s when Chicago brought it and failed keep him clean. Again, it is on Stafford to make a few better throws but realize this is a combo meal and it’s all bad on offense right now.

The Lions did however have some bright spots.

The defense in back-to-back games has responded and played well. I heard “oh well Chicago held back and they knew they didn’t need points” which is the worst logic I’ve heard. If anything you know if Detroit is in striking distance late, they still have a shot. Chicago held back maybe because #90 Suh busted through a double team and crushed Cutler into the ground. All together Detroit had five sacks and nine hits on Cutler. After the Lions’ defense gave up a score in Chicago’s first possession they locked it down holding the Bears to field goals on short fields and blocked another.

Another bright spot was rookie Ryan Broyles.

Broyles got a chance as Burleson got hurt (we learned later he broke his leg, too bad) but the rookie stepped up and made a tough catch and getting touchdown for the Lions. The one thing we know is he catches the football coming out of college but can he justify his draft spot?

Bottom line the Lions are in trouble. With 10 games to go the Lions essentially have to go 8-2 if they want any hope at making the playoffs.

About Jason Bray

Detroit Sports Columist. Joined The Majors staff in 2012 covering the Detroit Lions.

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