4 Lions takeaways from disappointing loss to Packers
The Detroit Lions played an inspiring game in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, losing by just eight points after a valiant comeback effort. New head coach Dan Campbell is leading a team trying out newly acquired quarterback Jared Goff for this season. It’s unlikely that Detroit intends on keeping Goff around for the long-term future, but he’s locked in at a $30 million cap hit for the next three seasons. Overall this Lions squad isn’t good and they showed that in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers
1. Jared Goff still isn’t that guy
It’s not all that surprising anymore when Jared Goff has a bad stretch of games because he isn’t excellent, but the Lions are giving him a real chance to prove himself this season. Goff is in his sixth season in the NFL and has been to a Super Bowl. However, he is now considered a backup quarterback more than a legit starter for a good team. We’re seeing what the Rams can do with Matthew Stafford over Jared Goff in Los Angeles, and now Detroit is giving him a shot. Week 2 was not a good one for Goff.
He started pretty well, going 9/9 on passes, but it was more about big mistakes that made this game seem bad. The stats don’t even look all that bad with Goff completing 26/36 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown, but it was about three crucial mistakes at least. The fumble, the interception, and the terrible fourth-down pass with the game on the line all were very signature moments for Jared Goff in that game. If he wants any shot at becoming the Lions’ true franchise quarterback, then he has to put a stop to the game-changing turnovers.
2. The defense keeps taking hits due to injuries
The Lions saw former first-round pick Jeff Okudah go down with an injury in last weeks matchup, and things didn’t get any easier for them this week. When Okudah went down, the Lions needed some players in the secondary to step up, including Ifeatu Melifonwu. Unfortunately, Melifonwu suffered a thigh injury on a play where he was trying to keep up with star Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. Melifonwu was burned on a deep ball but the Lions are going to be much more worried about his health going forward.
Head coach Dan Campbell said Melifonwu is likely to miss some time with this injury and this will only make a weak Detroit secondary even weaker. The Lions are down to four healthy corners and that group is Amari Oruwariye, A.J. Parker, Bobby Price and Jerry Jacobs. They’ll likely have to bring someone in to fill out the roster but things are not going good for a Detroit team that was set up to be bad before these injuries on defense. Don’t expect them to slow down Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in Week 4.
3. Offensive line is the biggest strength
If you were watching the game and thought Jared Goff did look pretty good at times, that was due in large part to his offensive line. This group isn’t even at full strength yet with Taylor Decker still out, but Goff had time to throw the ball all night long. Penei Sewell looks as good as advertised as left tackle so far and Frank Ragnow is leading the interior offensive line. Once Decker returns, this group should only get better, but it looks right now like his return could force Sewell back to right tackle. Is that a good idea?
The Lions drafted Sewell as a left tackle and it makes the most sense for him to remain there, especially as the Lions claw through another rebuilding season. When Taylor Decker does ultimately return the Lions will have a big decision to make and they should prioritize their 7th overall pick when making that decision. Sewell has looked great at the left tackle position, but that’s where Decker plays, so it will be interesting to see how Detroit handles that.
4. T.J. Hockenson is a legit top tight end
When a team is rebuilding like the Lions, you have to look for breakout performances. Penei Sewell looks to be the right pick along the offensive line, and T.J. Hockenson appears to have turned himself into the player the Lions thought they were getting.
TJ HOCKENSON GREAT GRAB‼️
Goff dime to Hockenson and the Lions (+410) are back in front. pic.twitter.com/VrkglkkWGu
— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) September 21, 2021
Hockenson was picked 8th overall by Detroit in the 2019 draft and hasn’t been the player the Lions were hoping for until this season. It’s only been two weeks, but Hockenson is averaging eight catches on 10 targets with 81 yards and a touchdown per game.