The Detroit Lions had the perfect opportunity to head into their bye week with a win. The New England Patriots ruled out quarterbacks Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer, leaving rookie Bailey Zappe as the starter.
Detroit entered the game as the NFL's most productive offense. They scored the most points and were among the league's best both on the ground and through the air.
Conversely, the Lions defense was the league's worst defense. Detroit's defense allowed the most points and most yards per game in the entire league.
The defense had one task: keep a rookie third-string quarterback in check. To an extent, they did. Zappe threw for less than 200 yards and the Patriots only scored one touchdown on offense.
However, they allowed the Patriots to pick up 15 points through field goals. And the Lions failed to find the end zone. At the end of it, the Patriots embarrassed the Lions 29-0.
What happened on Sunday? Why did the Lions put up a goose egg after weeks of dominating offensively? Normally, I do three Lions takeaways. However, this week, here are four takeaways from the Lions Week 5 loss to the Patriots.
4 Lions takeaways after Week 5 loss vs. Patriots
4) Dropping like flies
There has to be an ancient demonic force lurking in the shadows carrying a grudge against the Detroit Lions organization. It's the only way one can fathom the team's terrible injury luck.
On the second play of their opening defensive drive, the Lions lost defensive back Saivion Smith. It was a scary injury that required Smith to be taken to the hospital. Thankfully, he was cleared to fly home.
However, Smith's injury was the tip of the iceberg. Will Harris, DeShon Elliott, and Ifeatu Melinfonwu all left this game with various injuries.
It forced the Lions to shuffle around pieces in their secondary. Seventh-round rookie Chase Lucas ended up playing snaps at the safety position by the end of the game. Melinfonwu also played the position prior to his injury.
The Lions defense was already struggling prior to these injuries. Now, their depth is seriously questioned. Detroit has an extra week to figure things out and help get players back on the field.
3) No kick zone?
The Lions have struggled to replace former kicker Matt Prater since he left in free agency prior to last season. It seemed as if they unearthed a gem in Riley Patterson, but they let him walk before this season commenced.
Detroit decided on Austin Seibert as their kicker for this campaign. The experiment didn't go too well, nor did it last that long, as they waived him prior to this game.
As a result, the Lions signed Michael Badgley from the Chicago Bears practice squad. They expected him to carry out kicking duties on Sunday. However, he never got the chance to give it a go.
Following a 4-for-4 performance for the Bears last week, they did not use Badgley at all on Sunday. The Lions never allowed him to kick a field goal, despite having multiple opportunities to take the points.
One has to wonder why the Lions signed a new kicker if this is how they decided to proceed during the game.
2) High risk, no reward
Since day one under head coach Dan Campbell, the Lions have played aggressively. There's always been risk in playing like that, and the risk was on full display Sunday.
The Lions went for it six times on fourth down against the Patriots. They didn't convert a single attempt. As a matter of fact, the Patriots scored a touchdown on one of those failed attempts.
This somewhat ties into their decision not to trot Badgley out on the field Sunday. A few of these fourth-down attempts could have led to points had the new Lions kicker been called upon.
And yet, it didn't happen. Whether Detroit simply didn't trust Badgley, or there was something else at play. Their desire to go for it every time on fourth down despite never succeeding cost Detroit any momentum in the game. And the Lions failed to score as a result.
1) The bye couldn't come sooner
Simply put, the biggest takeaway from this game is that the team's bye week has come at the perfect time. The Lions sit 1-4 despite having a statistically elite offense.
Detroit has a ton of issues to correct. The defense needs to undergo significant changes in order to turn the season around. Even an average defense would have Detroit in good shape for the rest of the year.
The Lions also need the week off for rest and recovery. Many players are banged up, especially after this loss to the Patriots. If the Lions want to be more competitive on the other side of the bye, they will need to get everyone back into the fold.
Early bye weeks can be less than desirable for NFL teams. However, this Lions team may welcome the early week off. And hopefully, Detroit is better prepared when they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 7.