Cause For Alarm For The Lions? YES!!!!
I know it's just one game. It's just one loss. But I see troubling signs for your gridiron heroes, the Detroit Lions.
The Lions, as you know, are now 1-1 on the young season after their 37-31 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday at Ford Field.
And it's not only because of the mounting injuries that contributed to last Sunday's loss. Oh BTW, let's go over those heading into Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons:
RB David Montgomery (Day-to-Day, thigh injury)
OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (likely out, knee injury)
S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Out, pectoral injury)
LT Taylor Decker (Questionable, ankle injury)
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (Probable, Foot injury)
CB Emanuel Moseley (Doubtful, Knee injury)
C Frank Ragnow (Probable, toe injury)
Those are just the one I could think of, there may be more when they practice this week. That's a lot, considering they've only played two games.
But other than injuries, I see more issues bubbling, And it has everything to do with head coach Dan Campbell. Here's why:
HIS OVERAGGRESSIVENESS IS HURTING THEM
The fans and media in Detroit have worshipped at the feet of Campbell for his aggressive decision-making in his 2+ years. But it is hurting the team. The Lions went 1-3 on 4th down conversions against the Seahawks. Let's break down each one:
SITUATION 1: The first "go for it" on 4th down occurred early in the in the 2nd quarter with the score tied at 7. It was 4th and 4 from the Seattle 31 yard line. QB Jared Goff threw an incomplete pass intended for rookie tight end Sam LaPorta. Campbell passed up a 48 or 49 yard field goal attempt to go for the first down.
This was the wrong decision. You're not at midfield or even the 40 yard line. You're at the 31 yard line. You kick the field goal in that situation. Next...
SITUATION 2: The second one happened early in the 3rd quarter with the game tied at 14. It was 4th and 3 from the Seattle 11 yard line. They could've kicked a short field goal, but they went for it and got it on a Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown completed pass. And they eventually scored a touchdown to take the lead.
I can see why you would go for it, and why you wouldn't in that situation. You have an easy three points if you kick. But if you don't get it, the Seahawks are backed up inside their own 15 yard line. I'll give Campbell the benefit of the doubt here.
SITUATION 3: The last one occurred late in the 3rd quarter with the Lions up 21-17. It was 4th and 2 from the Seattle 45 yard line. And Jared Goff missed on a pass to Josh Reynolds to give the Seahawks the ball at around midfield.
I get going for it here, but the better play is to punt. You have one of the best punters in the league in Jack Fox. Have him pin the Seahawks inside the 10-yard line and make them go the length of the field to score. No need to be aggressive here. Which made what Campbell did at the end of regulation so maddening...
IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE AGGRESSIVE ALL GAME LONG, WHY GO CONSERVATIVE ON THE LAST DRIVE?
This was ridiculous. You had the ball down by three (31-28) with 1:44 left in regulation. And you had 1st and 10 from the 50 yard line. With ALL THREE TIMEOUTS available!!!
Considering the fact that the Lions had trouble stopping the Seahawks all game long, that was the perfect time to be aggressive and go for the win. But they didn't do that. They let waaaay too much time elapse between plays and had to settle for a 38 yard field goal from Riley Patterson to tie the game and send it to overtime. And they eventually lost in OT.
If Campbell keeps making decisions that lose games for the Lions (which he has done several times during his time here), people will start criticizing him. And how will he react to that? Not very well, I imagine.
It's way too premature to tell where the Lions are going this season. But I'm a bit more pessimistic that I was a month ago.
Sorry folks, I'm still not sold on Dan Campbell yet. He needs to show me more DURING the game. Get it done, Dan!!!