The Lions made history Sunday afternoon in their 20-13 loss to the Vikings… and it wasn’t item that special teams coordinator Danny Crossman is going to want to put on his resume any time soon.
In the Super Bowl era the Lions became the first team to allow a kick off return for a touchdown and punt return for a touchdown in consecutive weeks. In fact that last time this happened came well before Super Bowl I in 1967… how about all they back in 1940, a year before the United States became involved in the second World War.
Who would’ve thought that the Lions defensive special teams would be worse than the actual defense before the season started…
On the opening kickoff, Percy Harvin went untouched for a 105 yard touchdown giving the Minnesota Vikings a very early 7-0 lead. Later in the third quarter the special team woes would continue as Marcus Sherels would return a punt 77 yards for a touchdown giving the Vikings a 20-6 lead.
From there the game was lost for the Lions who continued to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns as the Minnesota defense held the Detroit running game in check while Matthew Stafford got little help from his supporting cast.
After having a very productive week against the Titans, Mikel Leshoure barely got going rushing for only 26 yards on 13 attempts. Meanwhile Stafford seemingly out performed Vikings QB Christian Ponder going 30/51 for 319 yards. However Brandon Pettigrew continued to drop passes including a potential TD while Calvin Johnson had the ball jarred loose in the end zone. Furthermore Stafford got zero protection in the pocket getting sacked five times after giving up just four sacks combined in the first three games.
“We got our butts kicked up front with sacks and we couldn’t run the ball,” Schwartz said. “Physically we have to be better.”
The Lions’ only touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when Stafford once again had to do it himself rushing one yard for the score.
Now the Lions head into the bye week 1-3 and looking for answers in just about every aspect. If you look how this season has gone so far, the Lions could very well be heading into the bye 0-4 after starting out last season 5-0.
Detroit obviously has tons of work to do if they hope to be successful two weeks from now in Philadelphia.
Notes: Lions DE Cliff Avril left in the fourth quarter with a back injury. After the game Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Special Teams coach Danny Crossman’s job was safe.
h/t: Associated Press