Sunday’s 17-10 loss, at home, to the St. Louis Rams was a total disaster. For the first time this season, the Lions looked completely unprepared.
Getting outplayed by a superior opponent is understandable for a rebuilding team like Detroit, but not being prepared to play, against a winless team, after a bye week is unacceptable.
The Rams have one dependable offensive option, Steven Jackson. How did the Lions coaching staff not know Jackson was going to get the ball on that third down play which he took 25 yards for the go-ahead touchdown?
Offensively, the Lions were just as disappointing. NFL receivers should catch passes that hit them in the hands. There were six clear drops by Detroit receivers in the first half and a few more over the final two quarters.
The offensive line was horrible, although this should come as no surprise. Poor offensive line play has become as much of a tradition in Detroit as Thanksgiving Day football.
The execution was poor, but this loss falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff. Jim Schwartz and his staff had an extra week to prepare for an 0-7 team, and their game plan was horrible.
Any scouting report on the Rams will say that pressuring Marc Bulger makes him erratic. It will also point out that Jackson is the workhorse of the team.
These two factors alone should have been enough to convince Gunther Cunningham to bring pressure and load the box against St. Louis. Yet, the Lions continually dropped linebackers and safeties into pass coverage.
Keep in mind, the Lions final record this year does mean something. Detroit is playing not to have the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft, and teams like St. Louis are the direct competition.
Detroit cannot afford another Matthew Stafford-contract for a rookie next year. For the sake of the salary cap, and for the overall well-being of the franchise’s future, at least one team must finish with a worse record than the Lions this season.
The Lions go on the road for two tough games, at Minnesota and at Seattle, before returning home to face Cleveland. A loss to the Browns in three weeks could make the Lions a shoe-in for a 1-15 record and another No. 1 overall pick.