The Detroit Lions were victims of a brutal 24-7 loss in week 2, at the hands of the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers just played better football on Sunday, and the Lions’ offense and special teams failed to take advantage of the opportunities that they did get. The game could have easily had an entirely different tempo, but miscues set the pace for Detroit from the very beginning.
The first quarter did indeed set the pace for the whole game. Nate Freese missed two field goals early on in the contest, and sits at an abysmal 2-5 on the season. For now, reports are that Jim Caldwell is standing behind Nate Freese as his kicker. However, if Nate Freese doesn’t turn his season around starting now, the Lions will not have a choice but to look at other options. Running Freese out of town right now is probably not an option for the organization.
Another low for the Detroit Lions was turnovers. We’ve said it time and time again, if the Lions want to be a serious contender for a division title, then they have got to stop turning the ball over. 3 turnovers versus Carolina is unacceptable, and the Lions know that. Joique Bell said, “I let my city down.” I wouldn’t go that far, but Bell’s fumble was a definite momentum shift in the Carolina Panthers’ favor. The Lions were about to cap off one of the most important drives of the game before Bell’s fumble. It was a drive that could have, should have, would have shifted the game’s momentum back in Detroit’s favor.
The Detroit defense stood strong for much of the game. Only a few weaknesses really shone through on the defensive side of the ball. While Tahir Whitehead and the Detroit linebackers have been rushing the passer better this season, they have given up a lot of big catches to opponents’ tight ends.That is definitely a trend that will need to stop sooner rather than later.
Other then failed opportunities and turnovers, there weren’t too many negatives for the Lions on Sunday. They got beat by a better team, and they failed to take advantage of opportunities. Even the worst teams in the NFL will remain competitive under these circumstances. The Lions’ offense is definitely going to have to play better against Green Bay.
Darius Slay is playing better pass coverage than ever, and he looks like who the Lions were hoping he could be. Slay is excelling in man to man coverage during the season, and he has shown vast improvement even since the preseason. The big thing Darius Slay is doing now to impress is getting his eyes on the ball. He is almost always attached to the hip of receivers he is guarding, and now he is showing that he can find the ball with more efficiency. Slay’s biggest test will be this upcoming Sunday, though, against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ wide receivers.
The defensive line of the Detroit Lions are who we thought they were. Ndamukong Suh was reeking havoc on Sunday, even if his numbers didn’t show it. George Johnson will tell you that his two sacks came from Suh being double teamed, and the game film doesn’t lie. The Lions were all over Cam Newton, recording 5 sacks, and keeping constant pressure on the young quarterback. The Detroit defense will need to do more of the same to be effective against Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers’ offensive line has been struggling.
Some things are going to have to change next week, but don’t get too down on the Detroit Lions yet. They had a rough performance on the road, and it was against a playoff caliber team. With any luck, the Lions will get a rematch, in January.