Matthew Silka, Staff Writer
Lions’ QB Jared Goff steps back to pass late in the battle against the Dolphins. Photo//Leon Halip/Getty Images
After a disappointing offensive performance against the Dallas Cowboys, the Detroit Lions looked to bounce back against the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday.
And they did!
Detroit got off to an incredible start, scoring three straight touchdowns on their first three drives. The first drive saw Jared Goff make a few great passes that were followed by a Jamaal Williams rushing touchdown. 7-0 Lions.
Miami got the ball and was driving early, but a huge sack from rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez pushed the Dolphins back. On the next play, fellow rookie Kerby Joseph forced a fumble, knocking the ball loose from Miami WR Braylon Sanders after the catch. Rodriguez came up with the recovery.
Goff then found tight end T.J. Hockenson for a 58-yard gain, followed by a D’Andre Swift touchdown, making the score 14-0 in favor of Detroit.
Miami did bounce back though, as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took advantage of his offensive weapons, finding wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill on consecutive catches to get deep into Detroit territory.
After a costly penalty by Detroit to give Miami a fresh set of downs, Tagovailoa found Waddle again in the end zone to cut the lead to seven; 14-7 Detroit.
As mentioned earlier, the Lions went 3/3 on the first three drives. This time, Williams repeated for his second score of the game, making it 21-7.
Once again, Tagovailoa went straight back to his receivers, finding Waddle and Hill for two long catches in a row. Waddle again found paydirt to make the score 21-14.
With roughly five minutes to go before halftime, Detroit marched down the field, only to eventually stall and settle for a 42-yard field goal. Miami would do exactly the same, adding a field goal of their own.
With around 45 seconds to go before the half, Detroit had one last chance to put up some more points. After a Goff pass went through receiver Josh Reynolds’s hands in the endzone, the Lions settled for three points. They went into halftime leading 27-17.
Miami received the ball to start the second half, and they quickly made work of Detroit’s defense. It only took Tagovailoa five minutes to lead the Dolphins to the end zone, bringing the score to 27-24.
Detroit’s offense was forced to a halt due to a multitude of penalties on the ensuing drive, as a quick three-and-out led to another great drive by Tagovailoa. Miami struck gold again, this time via a touchdown pass to tight end Mike Gesicki. This gave the Dolphins their first lead of the game.
No points were scored in the fourth quarter, as both defenses did well to stand their ground. Detroit was not able to find any success offensively when it mattered the most. The final score ended up being 31-27 with Detroit on the losing end yet again.
Head coach Dan Campbell reviews his playbook. Photo//Yahoo Sports
Sunday was yet another disappointing loss for the Lions. Leading for the vast majority of the game, the defense let another game slip away while the offense did not muster up a single point after halftime.
Goff finished the game 27/37 for 321 yards and a touchdown. A very respectable performance after struggling the last couple of weeks. His decision making and pocket presence were much improved.
On the other side, Tagovailoa had his way all day, finishing 29/36 for 382 yards and three touchdowns.
The Lions secondary was unable to contain Hill and Waddle, which made the difference on Sunday. Hill caught 12 balls for 188 yards, while Waddle had eight receptions for 106 yards and two scores. Both teams nearly put up 900 total yards of offense combined, so it was quite the battle, especially in the first half.
After falling to 1-6, the Lions brass fired defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant. This was a result of having the worst defensive rating in the NFL through seven weeks. I cannot say that I am confident that this move will change anything for the better, but it is worth a shot! Why not? Nothing else has worked!
At this point, I do not see why Detroit should even try to win games, as a top five pick would serve them much better than finishing 5-12 and losing valuable draft capital.
With over half a season to go, Lions general manager Brad Holmes has a lot of consideration to do with how he wants to continue this rebuild. Holmes showed his hand slightly on Tuesday, trading former first-round pick TE T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings for a second and third round pick. Is this a sign of another rebuild, or was T.J. simply not part of the Lions’ future plans?
The Lions (1-6) will look to secure a win next week against the struggling Green Bay Packers (3-5) who have lost four in a row.