Alright, here we go again. When you sit down to write a Highs & Lows: Detroit Lions' article, after a loss like Sunday, it's a tricky task. Especially, when I personally had a first-hand account, from some pretty decent seats:
It was a Sunday that started by watching Geno Smith have his way, marching right through the defense to score an opening drive touchdown, followed by a quick three-and-out by the Lions' offense. Yet, immediately following Malcolm “Rodrigo” Rodriguez made a phenomenal play on Tyler Lockett and forced a fumble. Jared Goff followed by tossing a beautiful ball to TJ Hockenson and the Lions were back in it. Then Dominick Eberle missed the extra point and the Lions were still losing. Phew, are you as tired as I was through those first sequences of events? It didn't get better after that. The Seahawks continued to slice the defense up and the offense, while really good, just couldn't keep pace.
What are the Highs & Lows: Detroit Lions Week 4 loss to the Seahawks?
It seems as if in a situation like this, it's better to just rip the bandaid off. We will end on a high note today, but we have to start at the bottom, taking a Drakian approach:
Lows: Aaron Glenn's scheme is horrendous for the talent he has
It literally cannot get lower than the Detroit Lions defense. Through four weeks, they have given up the most points (141) in the entire NFL. They were swiss cheese in the run game and soft in the passing game. Whatever the Seahawks wanted to do they did.
This falls on one man's shoulders: Aaron Glenn. There is definitely a lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball and one that was not necessarily addressed through the offseason, but Glenn is the one responsible to scheme appropriately around a defense bereft of talent.
To put it simply, when tight ends are consistently running free in the flats, placing your defensive backs on islands through your use of blitzing, and not being able to stop off-tackle runs, your scheme is broken.
Kirby Joseph made his first start this week with Tracy Walker sidelined for the season with an injury. But consistently throughout the game, he was placed as the single-high safety as DeShon Elliot was brought down closer to the box and Jeff Okudah and Amani Owuariye were left on islands in man coverage.
At will, the Seahawks did as they pleased, even when the Lions had initially shut down their rushing attack. The Seahawks adjusted and stopped trying to run dives into the interior of the line, but adjusted to running off-tackle and speed/jet sweeps. The problem, Glenn and his assistants never seemed to adjust to counter this and it led to two huge runs by Rashaad Penny and a number of open throwing lanes for Smith and his receivers.
Dan Campbell has already said there are going to be changes made, whether schematic or personnel that take place and that has to start with the coaching staff looking themselves in the mirror and making the right adjustments to better suit their talent level on defense.
Highs: The Lions' offense should have the NFL on notice
Alright, well now that that's off the chest, let's move on to the brights spot and the highs for the Detroit Lions this past week. The Lions lost, we all know this, but their offense–man, were they good. Now, there's only one place to start: Jared Goff.
I will readily admit, I was not (and still am not) high on Jared Goff after week three. You can read all about that in my highs and lows from last week. But, I am a firm believer in giving props where props are due, and Jared Goff deserves props this week. This was his best game as a Lion this season, by far.http://gty.im/1430111223
What may be even more impressive is the fact that he did what he did (26-39, 378 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT) with a supporting cast of Josh Reynolds, Tom Kennedy, and Kalif Raymond. It was a slow start for the offense, going three-and-out on their first drive; they did, however, cash in a turnover on the ensuing punt, with a beautiful 32-yard pass from Goff to TJ Hockenson. Hockenson had himself quite a day, hauling in 8 of twelve targets for 179 yards and 2 scores–his first multiple touchdown performance of his career.
The offensive line struggled a bit with some penalties that hampered drives but ultimately held up long enough for Goff to be effective and for Jamaal Williams to rush 19 times for 108 yards and a touchdown. The line has been the strength of this team throughout their first four games and that with a bit of a patchwork interior.
All in all, the Lions' offense did more than enough for them to win the game against the Seahawks. There were costly turnovers, but they overcame them and still put 45 points on the board. Yet, the defense was so poor that even 45 points weren't enough on Sunday, as the Lions fell to 1-3 on the season, and the same old struggle seems to persist. Hopefully, this week's matchup with the Patriots will give us many more highs than lows last week as they look to grind the axe with the rocket scientist, and overall bad guy, Matt Patricia, and the New England Patriots.