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Game Observations: Lombardi, Henery Cost Lions Victory

The Detroit Lions lost an embarrassing game to the Bills that causes Lions fans to wonder if they have turned a corner or not.

What I Liked

I was going to leave this section blank, but it should be noted that the Lions defense played well yet again. Unfortunately, they were on the field for entirely too long. The Lions offense did absolutely no favors for the defense and it was clear by the fourth quarter that the defense was gassed. Even so, giving up 17 points will win an NFL team a lot of games given the offense produces. Unfortunately for the defense, the offense did not produce on Sunday.

What I Hated

Where to start?

Alex Henery missed three field goals in the game, which means he should be given his walking papers this week. In the NFL, missing one field goal is bad. Missing three in one game is almost unheard of. I fully expect the Lions to look at Matt Prater this week.

Next we’ll move on to the atrocious play calling of Joe Lombardi. This is not a one game issue either. The Lions attempted just 20 rushes to 31 pass attempts, with a mere seven rush attempts in the second half despite having the lead. Because of this, the Lions didn’t have a drive in the second half that took more than four minutes off the clock. The screen plays Lombardi calls are obvious and rarely work. When casual Joe observer at home can call when a screen is coming, it is probably not a good sign of the play’s chances of working. Not to mention, when the Lions were facing a crucial third down and eight and looking to give Henery better field position for a game winning field goal, Lombardi called a wide receiver screen. This play nearly ended in disaster as the ball was tipped at the line before Golden Tate managed to snag the ball and gain a yard. The Lions used zero-back sets that whole drive and left entirely too much time for Buffalo to get the ball back and score (which they ended up doing).

Another issue the Lions had in this game was turnovers. Detroit turned the ball over twice to Buffalo’s one turnover. When team’s lose the turnover battle, they rarely come out victorious. Also, the Lions offensive line continues to struggle as Matt Stafford was sacked six times in the game. Very very poor performance from the Lions offense today.

What Concerns Me Moving Forward

Kicking and the offensive coordinator. The Lions need to figure out something to fix the kicking game. As I mentioned, Matt Prater is available and there is already a very loud call from Lions fans (more like screaming to be honest) for the Lions to sign him right away. The offense was ranked 22nd in the league for points per game before the Bills game, and that will drop even further. How this is possible with the offensive weapons the Lions have is baffling. If this issue isn’t shored up, the Lions won’t win many more games this year.

What Encourages Me Moving Forward

After this game, not much. In fact, aside from the defense playing well, there is very little at all to take away from this game that makes me believe the Lions are any different from last year’s team. The roles are reversed however, with the defense playing well while the offense struggles to put up any points. That is the most surprising thing about this season thus far.

Next Game

Detroit travels to Minnesota to play the Vikings.