Another ugly loss for Detroit.
The Detroit Lions went into Buffalo and decided not to play football this week as they fell 14-13 to the Bills and effectively ended their 2018 season. Here are a few things we learned:
Kenny Golladay could be a WR1
Lions receiver Kenny Golladay was absent last week in the team’s win against the Arizona Cardinals. He had only 5 yards, and while the team did win, his ineffectiveness played a huge role in the offense’s failings that day.
He turned things around quickly this week. The receiver had 146 yards on seven receptions and was the key to the Lions 13-7 halftime lead. He was winning jump balls all over the field and had the better of the Bills Tre’Davious White—who is a great corner in his own right.
Golladay had disappointed after the Golden Tate trade earlier this season, but if he can build on a performance like today’s then he may still have what it takes to carry the Lions mantle going forward.
This team is not playing to win
The Detroit Lions did not win this game because the Lions did not want to win this game. Matthew Stafford had a great first half attacking the defense downfield. Theo Riddick was looking effective on the ground. Zach Zenner was having one of the best games of his short career as well. As mentioned earlier, Golladay was having himself a day.
Up six entering the break, things were looking good for Detroit. Then they decided to pack things in. The Lions decided to take the ball away from Stafford. The offense looked like it did in Arizona—doing nothing except running up the middle and throwing short passes. Detroit could not move the ball down the field because the play calling did not give them a chance to. Check downs to Levine Toilolo and screen passes to LeGarrette Blount were the play calls on key third downs late in the game. The downfield attack that was so successful early on was just removed from the game plan.
Obviously some blame belongs to the players in every loss, but there is nothing they can do if the coaches calling the shots are not putting them in positions where they can succeed. Detroit coached itself out of a win today—a fitting way to end the team’s postseason hopes.