Lions Leftovers: Same Old Lions reappear in Sunday’s loss to Carolina Panthers

They had you fooled, didn’t they? A 3-1 start (and should have been 4-0 according to most of you) with the defense outperforming all predictions. Just wait until Matthew Stafford and this offense get rolling! This team can play with the big boys! They are going to win the division! This is the year they win a playoff game!

Well, today’s Lions Leftovers is all about the truth, so let’s reheat them.

The Lions reverted to the team of old in their 27-24 home loss to Carolina on Sunday.

First off, don’t give me the “they only lost by three” crap. If you watched that game you know that Carolina’s defense relaxed and stopped taking away the underneath routes the way they did for the first three quarters. When the Panthers needed a play, they got it.

What we saw when it was really a game was Stafford overthrowing his receivers. Except for Eric Ebron, who he hit right in the hands, just to see Ebron drop it.

Don’t tell Ebron though. We don’t know the half!

The offensive line was as healthy as it had been since the opener, but that isn’t saying much. Without Taylor Decker, who is still at least a few weeks more away from returning, the line looks slow and outclassed. They cannot open holes in the run game, but they make up for it by not being able to pass protect.

That lack of protection may have even lost them their starting QB. Stafford’s injuries could force him to miss his first start in over six years.

Of course, it is not like he has been lighting it up. The offensive woes are squarely on the shoulders of Stafford and that offensive line, but let’s not leave out James Robert Cooter. The “Quarterback Guru” has neutered Stafford (not literally…that would be gross). Cooter is so worried about turnovers, that he has seemingly taken all deep routes out of the playbook. Stafford biggest weapon is the strength of his arm, and Cooter has turned him into a dinker and dunker.

However, if he doesn’t have time to throw, what does it matter if no one is running more than 15 yards down the field? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

If the offensive line was better, we wouldn’t be having this discussion,. Which is where Bob Quinn comes in. He overpaid T.J. Lang and traded a draft pick for Greg Robinson. The line is WORSE than it was last year. I didn’t know that was possible. Good eye, Mighty Quinn. Welcome to your time contributing to the “Rebuilding for 60 Years” era!

It is such a comedy of errors, and I haven’t even mentioned the defense, that allowed Cam Newton to look like Joe Montana.

The D also let backup tight end Ed Dickson go off for 175 yards. That is more yards than he has had in four of his seven professional SEASONS!

This team is so draining, I can’t even continue ripping them apart. They got your hopes up, then dashed them on the rocks, just like most of the seasons in your entire life. The big question is what is the aberration? Is it the 3-1 start, or is it what we saw on Sunday? Many Lions fans who have been burned before may already leaning toward the dark side on that one.

Let’s see if some of my favorite “Deep Thoughts” from Coach Thousand-Yard Stare can cheer you up:

Nope. Didn’t work. Sorry.

Lions Leftovers is the weekly post-game commentary from Detroit Sports Nation contributor Rob Otto.