Lions’ offense takes big hit with multiple injuries

ALLEN PARK — While the LIons’ offense has been steps ahead of the defense through three games, injuries could take a toll on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Two Lions wide receivers missed practice with injuries on Wednesday and D.J. Chark (ankle) was limited. Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) and Josh Reynolds (ankle) were sidelined along with tight end T.J. Hockenson (foot), running back D’Andre Swift (shoulder/ankle), center Frank Ragnow (foot), left guard Jonah Jackson (finger) and kicker Austin Seibert (right groin).

Ragnow is expected to play on Sunday, per coach Dan Campbell. He started against the Vikings after missing the previous week. It’s turf toe and Ragnow is frustrated but expected to fight through it.

Campbell read the long list of the injured before practice.

“Look, I don’t feel like it’s something we did different. I don’t feel it’s because of the way we went about stuff. Things happen in this game,’’ Campbell said. “Some teams don’t put everybody on the injury reports, some of them will practice or won’t practice. I’m just trying to be open and put everybody out there. So I know it obviously looks worse than maybe it is at times. We looked at everything and it’s not like I’m blind to the fact that we have injuries. I pay a lot of attention to that, I look at all the data…. I don’t feel like it’s something that we’re doing.’’

Even with a 1-2 record, the offense is ranked second in the NFL for points per game and third for overall offense.

Campbell said Swift and St. Brown are kind of day-to-day, but St. Brown is closer to playing on Sunday.

“Swift would have to be significantly better to play. It would have to be when the skies open up and the bright light comes down, it feels unbelievable and here we go,’’ Campbell said.

Last week Swift played a limited role due to an ankle injury.

“We leaned on Jamaal (Williams) and he did a helluva job. Craig (Reynolds) will take a little more and so will (Justin) Jackson. It will be by committee, we’re confident,’’ Campbell said.

If wide receivers St. Brown and Josh Reynolds are sidelined, expect to see more of Quintez Cephus and Kalif Raymond.

“We don’t play today. That’s the best way to look at it. We’ll see what Sunday brings,’’ wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El said. “We’ll just keep working at it that way.’’

Randle El said that Cephus was coming on last season before he got hurt.

“It was early but he was coming along. He’ll pick up where he left off if we need him to be out there Lif (Kalif) is Lif, he’s going to do his thing,’’ Randle El said.

They’ve all practiced at different spots for situations that arise like these.

“I think the biggest thing that changes is run blocking. Those guys don’t do some of that stuff. Although you see the guys blocking in the run game, they don’t do some of the going up and catching the linebacker and safety from the inside. They mostly do that from the outside unless it’s Saint,’’ Randel El said.

The coach played wide receiver for nine seasons in the NFL but hung up the cleats years ago. When asked if he would suit up Sunday, he had a quick answer: “I can run. It’s stopping that’s the problem,’’ he said.

(Next up: Seattle Seahawks (1-2) at Lions (1-2), 1 p.m. on Sunday at Ford Field.)

Lions coach Dan Campbell: No time to panic after loss to Vikings

ALLEN PARK — Dan Campbell admits his mistakes, but on Monday said he has no reason to panic following the 28-24 loss at Minnesota on Sunday.

The Lions dropped to 1-2 and will face the Seattle Seahawks (1-2) at Ford Field on Sunday.

On Sunday, the Lions were up two scores with 8 minutes left and could not finish.

“Listen, I get the road that everybody’s been down. Listen I’m not sweating it, I’m not sweating it and this team is not sweating it. We’ve got a long season,’’ Campbell said on Monday. “You look throughout this league,it happens this way every year. I feel like what happens early in the season, it really molds who you are going to be as the season goes on and late in the season.

“Those that can endure the adversity of the season, the ups and downs, and just stay in the race are the ones that have success,’’ the coach added.

In his first season the Lions finished 3-13-1 and didn’t win their first game until Dec. 5. They haven’t won a road game under Campbell.

On fourth-and-4 at the Vikings 36-yard line late  in the game, Campbell called for a 54-yard field goal attempt rather than to try for the first down.

“Before that point we had some chances to close that game out offensively that we didn’t capitalize on,’’ Campbell said. “At the end of the day when you look at all three units, what was the unit that was going to give you the best chance to win that type of game and it was offense. I thought (Jared) Goff was throwing the ball well, we were protecting well. That’s the way we should’ve gone.’’

Still he said he had confidence that Austin Seibert could make that kick even though he had missed his first attempt on Sunday.

“I would be willing to give him another go. If I didn’t feel that way I wouldn’t have let him kick at the end of the game. I know he missed the first one, but he came back and made the second one,’’ Campbell said. “So I felt like he’d make this and it didn’t work out, but yeah. Now, full disclosure, he’s a little bit sore today so we’ll see what happens with him.’’

Center Frank Ragnow wasn’t clear on whether he was surprised they went for the field goal on that fourth down. 

“I try to just stay in my lane, just try to execute my job. You’d love to go for it, but hindsight is everything,’’ Ragnow said. “To be honest, us as players, us as an offensive line, at the end of the game we shouldn’t have been put in that position. We should have been way more clean up front, a lot better execution all around, me especially. We shouldn’t even put coach in that position. We should’ve closed the game out before that.’’

NOTES: Safety Tracy Walker tore his Achilles on Sunday and will be out for the rest of the season. Campbell called it a “significant loss” and said they haven’t decided on how to replace him. He’s inclined to keep Will Harris, a safety turned cornerback, at cornerback … Campbell also said D’Andre Swift’s shoulder injury could keep him out this week, but nothing for certain yet. The Lions have a bye after the Seattle game so sitting Swift could give him extra time for healing and rest.

(Up next: Seattle Seahawks (1-2) at Lions (1-2) at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Ford Field.)

Dan Campbell regrets decision late in game as Lions lose to Vikings

Dan Campbell’s aggressiveness seems like a breath of fresh air after watching the Lions’ mostly conservative play calling for so long.

The coach and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson called a solid game on Sunday, but a few questionable calls cost them the win. The Lions couldn’t finish and much of the blame falls on the shoulders of the coaches.

Campbell went for it on fourth down six times in the 28-24 loss at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Lions converted four of those but it was one miss that stands out.

With 1:14 left – and holding onto a 24-21 lead – the Lions’ call on fourth-and-4 from the Vikings’ 38 was for a 54-yard field goal which would have been a career high for Austin Seibert. It sailed wide right. 

For me, I regret my decision there at the end,’’ Campbell said. “I should have gone for it on fourth down. Told the team that.’’

The Vikings (2-1) then needed just three plays to cover 56 yards and score a touchdown to take the 28-24 lead, their first lead of the game with less than a minute on the clock. 

The Lions (1-2) were up by 10 with 8 minutes left in a tough road game, but couldn’t hold on. Campbell told his players not to get frazzled by the loss.

“I told them it should sting, it shouldn’t taste good because we had it. I just told them we’ve got to learn from it, we’ve got to learn from the plays that bit us in the (butt),’’ the coach said. “As you know, you guys have a job to do, there’ll be a lot of criticism placed on a number of guys myself and including the players, which is natural. They all know it. You can’t go on the downs and ups. Just stay true to what it is and learn from our mistakes.’’

Another questionable call came early in the fourth quarter, the Lions had a third-and-1 at their own 27. Instead of handing the ball off to Jamaal Williams or D’Andre Swift (who was playing hurt), Jared Goff’s pass to Josh Reynolds was incomplete. That forced a punt and on that next series the Vikings’ running back Alexander Mattison scored a touchdown on a 6-yard scamper that closed the gap to a 24-21 lead for Detroit.

The Lions struggled on third downs — going 3 of 16 — which led to so many fourth-down attempts.

Even after the loss, Campbell said this result won’t affect his aggressiveness in general

“I’ll always evaluate, I go back and watch (film) and really think about was this the right thing to do, was it not the right thing to do. I do know if you’re going to go in and feel you need to be aggressive early in the game, you can’t second guess when it doesn’t work out for you early in the game,’’ Campbell told the media. “It’s not going to affect me. I’m going to always do what I feel is best to help us win.”

The defense put pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins early but had trouble stopping the run. Dalvin Cook had 96 yards on 17 carries before he was injured late in the game. After three sacks in the win a week ago, rookie Aidan Hutchinson didn’t have a sack or a tackle. Alex Anzalone had the Lions’ lone sack and led the defense with 10 tackles.

Goff was 25-of-41 for 277 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 79.0 rating.

Swift, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, played but was limited. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (six catches for 73 yards) limped off the field late in the first half. He played in the second half, but wasn’t 100 percent.

Running back Jamaal Williams stepped up, finishing with 87 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.

Safety Tracy Walker left the game in the second half and did not return. Campbell said they will know more on Monday, but it could be an Achilles or an ankle. An Achilles injury could possibly end his season.

(Next up: Seattle Seahawks at Lions, 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Ford Field.)