The Detroit Lions 2022 season has been filled with encouraging performances, but they always seem to find a way to end up on the wrong side of the final result. The Lions picked up their sixth loss of the season on Sunday afternoon, this time at the hands of the Miami Dolphins, despite leading by ten points with just over nine minutes left in the game.
The Lions fought valiantly, but in the end, the result was still as disappointing as ever. They had every opportunity to win this game, but as they have done all season long, they couldn’t make the plays needed to get the win. At some points, the “what-ifs” are going to have to begin to turn into plays that lead to wins for the Lions.
Until then, Detroit will remain at the bottom of the league, even if their play suggests that they are better than a handful of teams this season. With another loss in the books, let’s run through the three most disappointing players on the Lions in this Week 8 loss and see why their struggles hurt their team so much.
3. D’Andre Swift
D’Andre Swift made his first appearance for the Lions since Week 3, and it seemed like a great sign that Detroit’s offense would finally be back on track. Swift had an OK day, but his overall numbers paint a concerning picture for the young running back, and the rest of the Lions offense, moving forward.
Swift had a good day as a receiver, catching five passes for 27 yards and a touchdown, but he made no impact on the ground, picking up just six yards on five carries. The Lions luckily had Jamaal Williams step up behind him and pick up 53 yards and two touchdowns on ten carries. But nobody is going to tell you that Detroit’s offense is better off with Williams playing up to his potential than Swift.
The Lions were easing Swift back into the action on the ground, but there was really no sense in playing him since he was so awful in his limited action. Hopefully this is a one off performance, because Swift is going to have to be much better moving forward, as Detroit can’t afford to continue leaning on Williams over Swift in future games.
2. Josh Reynolds
Josh Reynolds has been a reliable secondary option for the Lions this season in the passing game, but he had a pretty ugly game against the Dolphins. Had Reynolds made another play or two, Detroit probably is walking away from this game with a huge win rather than another demoralizing defeat.
Reynolds finished with just two catches for 14 yards, but he could have had a much bigger day. Reynolds dropped a touchdown on the final offensive play of the first half, forcing the Lions to settle for a field goal instead. Reynolds also couldn’t make a difficult catch on a fourth-and-one play late in the fourth quarter that also would have gone for a touchdown. Those lost points cost Detroit big time in this one.
With Amon-Ra St. Brown and Swift missing time with injuries this season, Reynolds has been a source of consistency on offense this season. But that wasn’t the case in Week 8, as Reynolds had the chance to lead the Lions to victory, but faltered and played a huge role in the Lions latest loss instead.
1. Amani Oruwariye
Amani Oruwariye had a tall task on his hands on Sunday afternoon, as he was the guy primarily responsible for covering Miami’s star wideout Jaylen Waddle. Based on the fact that Oruwariye is the top player on this list (which isn’t a good thing) it’s safe to assume he had a terrible outing.
That would be a safe assumption, and while the Lions secondary as a whole was picked apart by Tua Tagovailoa for much of the afternoon, Oruwariye’s struggles hurt his team the most. Waddle finished the day with 106 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches, and Orywariye was usually the one allowing Waddle the room to do whatever he pleased in this one.
Again, Oruwariye wasn’t the only one who struggled, as Tagovailoa threw for 385 yards, and Tyreek Hill had 188 yards on 12 catches across from Waddle. But Oruwariye’s coverage struggles hurt his team more than anyone else’s struggles, and for a Lions defense that has been bad all season long, that’s especially concerning. Oruwariye will need to improve if Detroit wants to win more than one game this season, and it will be interesting to see whether he can figure things out ahead of Week 9.