Uninspiring. Embarrassing. Disappointing.
Those are just a few words to describe the Detroit Lions‘ performance this afternoon in their 38-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens scored on their first four offensive possessions while the Lions couldn’t manage a first down, and Detroit found themselves in a 28-0 deficit by halftime. The defense got gashed, the offense looked flat, and as a result, the Lions were never able to recover. There’s no sugarcoating it — this was one of the worst losses of the Dan Campbell era in Detroit. Let’s take a look at some of the big takeaways from Sunday’s contest.
Takeaways from Lions’ Lackluster Performance Against Ravens
Detroit’s Defense a No-Show
The Lions’ defense has been a pleasant surprise six games into the season, but in one of their biggest tests thus far, they looked more like last year’s unit that ranked as one of the worst defenses in football.
The Detroit pass rush was non-existent all afternoon, leaving Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson all kinds of time in the pocket to operate. Jackson made the Lions pay, completing 78% of his passes for 357 yards, three touchdowns, and a nearly perfect passer rating of 155.8.
In their first five trips to the red zone, the Ravens capitalized by scoring five touchdowns. A point of emphasis heading into this matchup was to limit Baltimore once they got inside the Detroit 20-yard line, which the Lions were ultimately unable to do.
The strength of Detroit’s defense has been their ability to stop the run, holding each team they’ve faced to under 100 yards rushing in each game. That changed on Sunday when Baltimore ran for 146 yards, getting contributions from Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and Jackson, who also added a score on the ground. In total, the Lions gave up over 500 yards of offense and will need to be much better on that side of the ball than they were on Sunday if they want to be considered a legit contender moving forward.
20-point Streak Snapped
Detroit entered Sunday’s contest having scored 20 points or more in 15 consecutive games, the best streak in the NFL by a wide margin. However, the Lions would come nowhere close to making it 16 straight, only scoring six points on rookie Jahmyr Gibbs‘ first career touchdown.
The Lions struggled to move the ball on offense all game and were forced to go for it on multiple fourth-and-longs due to the deficit they were facing. Detroit had 10 drops coming into this matchup, the fourth-most in the NFL, and on Sunday Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams added to that total with multiple drops of their own.
Quarterback Jared Goff had little time to work in the pocket and was under pressure throughout the course of the game as Baltimore was able to sack him five times. The Detroit offensive line was overmatched all day as the Baltimore pass rush took advantage of a unit that was missing starting left guard Jonah Jackson for the second consecutive game. It was an uncharacteristic performance from a Lions offense that’s been one of the best in football this season.
Jahmyr Gibbs Excels as Lead Back
The lone bright spot in Sunday’s blowout loss was the aforementioned Gibbs who served as Detroit’s lead back with starter David Montgomery out due to a rib injury. As mentioned earlier, Gibbs was able to find the endzone in the second half for his first career touchdown. Gibbs ran for 68 yards on 11 carries and also caught nine passes for 58 yards.
Although some of his production came in garbage time, the Alabama product showed why he was taken in the first round of last April’s draft. Gibbs’ versatility was on full display, showing off his ability to run between the tackles while also catching passes and using his elite speed to make defenders miss when getting into space. Gibbs’ workload should only increase as the season continues, and today was a glimpse of what he’s able to do when given a bigger role.
It was an ugly game for Detroit that will have to do a bit of soul-searching between now and next week when they host the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football from Ford Field.
Main Image: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sport