Detroit Lions: Have the Wheels Completely Fallen Off in Detroit?

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIIOctober 23, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Brandon Pettigrew #87 of the Detroit Lions is hit and flipped out of bounds by Charles Tillman #33 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are 2-4 in 2012 and they do not resemble a team that can reach the playoffs in a crowded NFC.

They simply don’t do many things well.

Running the football is almost an afterthought to a Lions offense that led the NFL with 666 passing attempts last season and is on pace for 739 passing attempts in 2012.

As a result, Detroit is 19th in rushing yards per game this year—but it isn’t getting much production from the passing game, either.

The Lions have averaged 306.7 passing yards per contest, a symptom of two overtime games and playing in catch-up mode all season.

Through the first six games of 2011, Matthew Stafford threw 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. In the same period of the 2012 season, Stafford has just five touchdowns and six picks.

The offense isn’t doing its job well; neither is the defense.

Detroit is allowing an average of 210.5 passing yards per game—good for sixth-best in the league—because teams frequently aren’t forced to throw on the Lions. When they do, they’re successful. The Lions have given up eight passing touchdowns and picked off just two passes in 2012.

The deceptive yardage is reminiscent of the 2011 St. Louis Rams team that was too busy getting gashed on the ground to give up much through the air.

Detroit is 16th in rushing yards allowed per game this season, but its de facto defensive Achilles heel is the return game.

The Lions special teams has surrendered four return touchdowns this season, all four coming in the last two weeks, resulting in a pair of losses. 

Only one other NFL team has given up two return touchdowns.

Every facet of the team has to be addressed going forward for the Lions to have success this season—an unfortunate thought for Lions fans as the team has already had its bye.