LIONS LEFTOVERS: Plenty of blame to go around in Lions nightmare loss to Pittsburgh Steelers

Lions Leftovers is the weekly post-game commentary from Detroit Sports Nation contributor Rob Otto. The opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Detroit Sports Nation.

Well, that was quite a debacle, huh? The Lions had a chance to beat a team that many believe to be the best in football. But they didn’t. They fell 20-15 at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers. If you are hanging your hat on that, please show me where in the standings they keep track of “moral victories”.

Things were bad all over for the Lions. The coaches wouldn’t call the right plays, and even when they did, the players couldn’t execute them. Jim Bob Cooter is as much to blame for this loss as Matthew Stafford.

Detroit ran 18 plays in the red zone and scored zero touchdowns. Stafford threw for 423 yards, but he was just 2-for-11 passing inside the 20-yard line, and the team scored zero touchdowns. The team punted only once in the entire second half, and after that, they had three drives of at least nine plays with each going 74-yards or longer after that. Oh, AND THEY SCORED ZERO TOUCHDOWNS! I mean, come on.

I would like to point out that I posted that one after Detroit’s FIRST field goal.

This one came much later:

Even outside of the red zone, Stafford made some big mistakes. He had Marvin Jones wide open on one play, but Stafford’s throw was high and behind his receiver. Stafford wasn’t rushed, he was just inaccurate, forcing Jones to make a miraculous, athletic catch. However, had Stafford been on-target, Jones had a real chance to run this in for a game-changing touchdown. Watch it again.

Those are the plays Stafford is being paid a lot of money to make.

Then there is the decision-making of Jim Caldwell.

One of the things that bothers me the most about this team is how often they put themselves in a good offensive position, only to settle for field goals. However, when you fail three times from the one-yard line, and you have the chance to go ahead with a field goal, you take it!

Do not forget that on the third-down play, tackle Rick Wagner was shaken up. The Lions got an entire commercial break to decide whether or not to go for it KNOWING that Wagner was out. They still made the wrong decision, especially since a shotgun pass that turned into a QB sneak was the best they could come up with.

If this was a series that began at the nine, and they got to the seven, then the four, then the one, I guess I could justify the decision a little more. That isn’t what happened. The series started at the one and went nowhere. Caldwell’s decision to go for it changed the rest of the game, and not for the better.

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As soon as Stafford got taken down at the three on fourth down, I am guessing that you thought the same thing I thought, “Here comes a 97-yard touchdown drive.” I just didn’t expect it all to come in one play.

Once Caldwell made the decision to go for it the first time, he, of course, would follow that up by going for it late in the fourth quarter inside the 20 trailing by eight, right?

Nope! One bad decision compounded by an even worse decision. As much as I believe they should NOT go for it on the first occasion, that decision makes it necessary to go for it in the latter one.  However, failing on the first made Caldwell gun shy on the second.

A coach that is afraid to do the right thing? Is that who you want? And thanks to his premature contract extension, you get more years of decisions like that. Enjoy!

I said in this column a few weeks ago that things will not change with this franchise as long as the fans continue to accept mediocrity. After all these disappointing losses over the last month, I am hearing more of you calling the team out for the mistakes they are making. Good. Keep that up, and maybe somewhere down the road, we won’t have to sit through awful Sunday’s like that anymore.

The only fun I had while watching this disaster on Sunday night was the Halloween-themed memes I posted on the Detroit Sports Nation Twitter account. It is a small consolation, but enjoy!

And just because I cannot resist…

If that doesn’t make you scream for Halloween, nothing will!

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