Five things to know about Lions 44-6 loss to Eagles

For the second straight home game, the Lions embarrassed themselves with a one-sided loss. On Sunday they fell 44-6 to the Eagles (3-5) who had lost five of their previous six games.

This should have been a game the Lions were in, but they most certainly were not. It wasn’t bad calls by the officials, it was weak play on all three units along with questionable coaching at times.

The Lions (0-8) may be the best team in the NFL at shooting themselves in the foot. A dubious distinction to be sure.

Coach Dan Campbell did not mince words afterward.

“We got pushed around bad. … I felt like we got out-coached today and out-played across the board and that starts with me. You don’t play that bad with a number of guys and areas and turn the ball over and penalties and low-energy,’’ Campbell said. “You don’t do that unless that comes from the top and that’s on me. I did not set the tone and the tempo properly obviously because that was bad. We didn’t even give ourselves a chance.’’

With next Sunday as the bye, Campbell, his staff and every player have time to reflect on the 0-8 start.

Five things to know about the loss

1. So far this season, maybe with the exception of the Bengals game two weeks ago, the Lions have shown a fighting spirit. Even at the Rams a week ago, they came out on fire scoring 16 first-half points before being slowed down in the second half. The want-to was not really apparent on Sunday. “I really felt like we were flat. I’m not worried about my message … well I guess maybe I should be worried about my message right, when you play like this that’s why you’re asking,’’ Campbell said.  “I’m not worried about losing this team, I am worried that I didn’t deliver the right message to get them ready to go. That’s what concerns me about what I do.’’

2. Quarterback Jared Goff had a brutal day. He was sacked five times (four in the first half), and completed 25 of 34 passes for 222 yards. On a fourth-and-11 in the third quarter it looked like he threw the ball away although Goff said it was a misfire, a physical error, he was not trying to throw it away. Campbell still has Goff’s back. “Aside from the fact on the fourth-down he threw it into the stands which yes, that’s not a good decision, I don’t know what he’s supposed to do as far as the way that game went,’’ Campbell said. “I don’t look at him and go, ‘He’s the problem.’ That’s not how I see it. I do see this —  offensively we were very anemic. If you’re going to ask me where are you going to look this week, I’m going to look at it three times before I look at anything else.

3. Running back D’Andre Swift was not effective at all against the Eagles defense. Jamaal Williams was out with an injury so they needed Swift to have a big day. The Lions have to be able to run and it was not there at all. Swift carried a dozen times for 27yards, a 2.3 per carry average and caught five passes for 24 yards. “We know Swift can help us, we couldn’t get him going. We tried, we just couldn’t get him going the way we wanted to get him going,’’ Campbell said.

4. The defense knew exactly what to expect of mobile Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts – they couldn’t let him out of the pocket and yet they did. He had more rushing yards (71) than all the Lions combined. This was not a surprise. He was the Eagles leading rusher going into the game. Lions safety Tracy Walker put the lack of execution on himself and his teammates. The coaches, they can make the game plan, they can draw up as many plays as they want but they can’t throw that playbook out there to make those plays,’’ Walker said. “At the end of the day us as players we’ve got to go out there and execute the plays that are called regardless of what the scheme may be we have to go out and do our jobs.’’

5. Give Campbell credit that he will always take the blame for a loss. That’s swell but he has to find ways to make this team more competitive. Everyone knew that wins this season would be extremely tough to get but this has been worse than billed. Campbell will spend the bye week looking at every aspect of the team in all three phases. Goff says the team has not given up. “I think that’s kind of been the theme the whole year. As bad as it’s been, the effort is there . We have young kids who are fighting, we have veteran guys who are fighting and we love each other,’’ Goff said.

UP NEXT: Lions have bye next Sunday, Nov. 7. They play at Cleveland on Sunday, Nov. 14.

Five things to know as winless Lions face Philadelphia Eagles

Still looking for their first win, the Detroit Lions might have a fighting chance on Sunday facing the Philadelphia Eagles (2-5) who have lost five of their last six games.

A win any week would be welcome, but perhaps the timing of this one would provide an extra benefit. After Sunday’s game at Ford Field, the Lions will have their bye week.

“It would be big. It would be. Knowing that you get a win and now we’re going to be able to heal up and rest and kind of reset our clock if you will, get everything back mentally, physically, emotionally, I think it would be big,’’ coach Dan Campbell said on Friday.

This bunch — those who have remained healthy — could use a boost after a few close calls in the first seven weeks. Going into the bye week with a win is always a goal no matter the team’s record.

“I think you kind of – you’re turning over a new leaf if you will. It’s validating what you’re doing and where you’re going. So, certainly it would be big, but this isn’t some easy opponent. This is a good football team. They still have good football players over there,’’ Campbell said. “… This is not going to be easy, but to answer it, yeah, it would be huge.”

Five things to watch:

1. Darius Slay will be making his return to Detroit as the Eagles top cornerback. Now that Matt Patricia has moved on, Slay is eager to come back to the Motor City. You’ve got to imagine he’ll be extra fired up. Slay has two interceptions this season, both against the Panthers.  “He’s playing good ball, man. He’s playing at a high-level,’’ Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said. “You can see why he’s a two-time Pro Bowler and all of that. He is everything that you want in a corner.” Too bad Patricia didn’t like him. 

2. The defense can’t let quarterback Jalen Hurts out of the pocket — he’s the Eagles’ leading rusher with 361 total rushing yards. He’s also been efficient with 10 passing touchdowns against just four interceptions. “You’ve always got to make sure you’re on your toes with this player. Even if it’s a close game, he’s one of those guys that has the potential to pull it off. We have to make sure that we’re all good in that area and understand who he is and what he’s done over his career,’’ Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said. “The second thing is his ability to run with the ball. You just said it, he has over 350 yards rushing, so we have to be able to contain that and make sure that he doesn’t get out of the pocket.’’

3. Jared Goff has completed 66.1% of his passes but most of them are short, not many downfield. “If you’re not getting those opportunities, you have to figure out other ways to generate explosives. Up until the Cincinnati game, we were one of the top-10 teams in the League in explosive plays,’’ Lynn said. “There are other ways you can generate explosives other than throwing it down the field, but there is something that can back people up a little bit and give us a little more space underneath if we can get that done.”

4. Wide receiver Kalif Raymond has stepped up in recent games with six catches in each of the last two contests. Lynn said he didn’t know much about Raymond before he was signed. “But when we got him in training camp, he’s impressed us from the first day he got here. We were like, ‘Why are the Titans letting him out of there?’ But, he’s done nothing but just make the most out of his opportunities,’’ Lynn said. Keep an eye on him to get even more targets. “Just his route savvy and his ability to get open and he doesn’t let his size come into play at all because he separates so well,’’ Lynn said.

5. Special teams play has been solid but really stood out at the Rams with two fake punts and an onside kick. Teams coordinator Dave Fipp gets much of the credit but he tested positive for COVID-19 this week even though he is vaccinated. While unable to be with the team, Campbell said Fipp has been coaching from home with Jeff Modkins (special teams assistant) and Don Muhlbach (assistant special teams) filling in. “It’s a good core unit, and so they take it serious and they kind of regulate themselves a little bit, too. Like, you can tell there was a little bit more ownership in it like, ‘Alright, look man, Fipp’s not here. Let’s get this right.’ It’s been good. It still stinks, especially this weekend I know for Fipp. I’m sure he would want this, but yet he’s still here in spirit and he’s up there,’’Campbell said.

PREDICTION: Lions 28, Eagles 24

Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford’s favorite target changes game to game

ALLEN PARK — Give credit to Matt Patricia for consistently preaching that on offense and defense, the personnel used each week in part depends on the opponent and the way the game unfolds.

It makes it tough to name a No. 1 wide receiver. And, seriously, there is no need to do that since the receiver with the most success has changed in each of the first three games including Sunday’s 27-24 win at Philadelphia.

“Whatever it takes that week, that play, that game, that particularly situation we’re going to do the best we can to go out and execute the play, go through the progressions and try to get the ball to the guy who is either open or hand off to a play we think is going to work in that situation,’’ coach Matt Patricia said on Monday. “Certainly give credit to Matt Stafford to be able to go through all that, find the right guy in those situations.’’

In that big win over the Eagles, it was Marvin Jones Jr., who topped the 100-yard mark with six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.

“To be honest with you, (Jones has) had two really good weeks or practice it’s the stuff we’ve seen every day through the course of the last couple weeks —  that consistency in his play style,’’ Patricia said. “It’s great to see it show up in the game. When you put that amount of work into it and work that hard, you want the guy to be able to perform well on Sundays. That was a real positive.

In the Week 2 win over the L.A. Chargers, Kenny Golladay finished with eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. He had just two catches in Philadelphia (8 targets) but it didn’t matter because Jones found a way to get open.

In Week 1, both Danny Amendola (7 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD- and T.J. Hockenson (6 catches, 131 yards, 1 TD) surpassed the 100-yard mark.

It’s a wealth of riches on the offensive side of the ball but none of it would matter unless Matthew Stafford was playing as well as he has so far.

“Whatever it takes that week that play that game that particular situation we’re going to do the best we can to go out and execute the play, go through the progressions and try to get the ball to the guy who is either open or hand off to a play we think is going to work in that situation,’’ Patricia said. “Certainly give credit to Matt Stafford to be able to go through all that, find the right guy in those situations.’’

In three games Stafford has completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 831 yards, 6 touchdowns and two interceptions. With two touchdowns a game he’s on pace for 32 this season which is considerably more than the 21 he threw in 2018.

The last two games Stafford has been pressured, but has not been sacked thanks, in part, to the protection by offensive line and also because he has successfully thrown under pressure.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)