Updated: Apr 29
Matthew Silka, Staff Writer
Lions QB Jared Goff gets sacked by LB Matthew Judon. Photo//Michael Dwyer/AP
After giving up a league-high 48 points to the Seattle Seahawks last week, Detroit traveled to New England to face a Patriots team led by fourth-round rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe. Their usual starter, Mac Jones, was sidelined with an ankle injury.
Poised to take advantage of the situation, Detroit instead found themselves on the back end of an absolute battering at the hands of Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Detroit received the ball to start the game and had a decent drive going as they marched into Patriots’ territory. However, the drive stalled as the Lions faced a fourth-and-one decision. Head coach Dan Campbell elected to go for it, and failed.
New England was not able to fully take advantage of the good field position and settled for a field goal to give themselves the early 3-0 lead.
After the score, Detroit swiftly got into the red zone after a few nice passes from Jared Goff. However, Goff then kept his eyes in the direction of tight end T.J. Hockenson for a bit too long, which allowed New England defender Jack Jones to come up with the interception.
Rhamondre Stevenson immediately broke away for a 50-yard run, but the Lions’ defense held up yet again and forced New England to kick another field goal, making it 6-0.
After a few stalling drives, the Lions found themselves in a fourth-and-nine situation at the Patriots 30-yard line. Campbell made another interesting decision as he decided to go for it instead of trying a 50-yard field goal with newly-signed veteran kicker Michael Badgley. On the ensuing play, Goff coughed up the ball and Patriots’ defender Kyle Dugger scooped and scored for the touchdown: 13-0 Patriots.
To make matters worse, Detroit went three-and-out on the next drive. With under two minutes to go before halftime, New England managed to get into field goal range yet again and convert, making it 16-0 going into the half.
Continuing the trend, New England’s first drive of the second half was another field goal to push the lead to 19.
Detroit came back with a good drive of their own and were faced with another fourth-and-short decision. Unsurprisingly, Campbell attempted the conversion and failed, leaving New England with great field position once again.
A few plays later, Zappe found wide receiver Jakobi Meyers for a 24-yard score to make it 26-0.
The Detroit offense was stagnant the rest of the game, and the Patriots added another field goal to push the final score to 29-0.
Kyle Dugger finishes off the scoop and score for a Patriots touchdown. Photo//Nick Grace/Getty Images
Sunday’s game was one of the worst Lions performances that I can remember as everything seemed to go wrong for the Honolulu Blue.
An offense that led the league in points so far this season was reverted to nothing as Belichick’s game plan was too much to overcome, while an already reeling defense did not play much better against a fourth-round rookie quarterback who was making his first career start.
As for the coaching staff, Campbell’s Lions failed six times going for it on fourth down.
The Lions secondary did suffer many injuries throughout the game, but it was still a slaughter. The Patriots offense was ranked in the bottom ten in the league before Sunday’s contest, but Detroit nearly helped them jump up to the top half of the NFL.
Going into the Week 6 bye, the Lions and their staff will seriously need to think about how to address the disastrous start to the season.
After the bye, Detroit (1-4) will head to Dallas (4-1) to face a Cowboys team that has been stellar to start the year despite not having star quarterback Dak Prescott. This will likely be another extremely tough matchup for the Lions.