If you didn’t realize already, there’s no saving this 2021 version of the Detroit Lions.
The latest reminder of it was the Lions’ 44-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, during which Dan Campbell & Co. failed to score a single point until the 7:14 mark in the fourth quarter.
With the loss, Detroit dropped to 0-8 for the first time since its infamous 0-16 campaign in 2008.
Scary to think that this Lions team is highly resemblant of that 2008 squad that became the first winless team (for a 16-game regular season) in NFL history.
Just like that ’08 team, there’s no fiery, motivational speech that the head coach — then Rod Marinelli and in this case, Campbell — can deliver to fire up the troops and get them to play a higher-quality brand of football.
It’s because of the simple fact that both teams share a common characteristic: Being devoid of high-end talent — and to make matters worse, it’s the case on both sides of the football.
Compounding this issue for the present version of the Lions is the fact that Jared Goff has significantly declined.
He’s no longer even a serviceable quarterback, as was evident during his subpar performance in Week 8 against the Eagles.
The 27-year-old finished with 222 yards on 25-of-34 throwing, but also failed to toss a single touchdown pass for the fourth time this season. Additionally, in his last four games, he’s thrown for just one touchdown pass, to go along with four interceptions.
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He also took five sacks Sunday. And while it’s true that the offensive line did very little to protect him, some of the sacks can also be attributed to Goff’s stunning lack of pocket awareness and his proneness to holding on to the football for too long — qualities that aren’t often attributed to signal-callers with five or more years of experience under their belts (as is the case with Goff).
Simply, he hasn’t done enough to elevate the play of the Lions and get them to be more productive from an offensive standpoint through the first eight weeks of the ’21 campaign.
“The whole day is frustrating. The whole year has been frustrating,” Goff said after the game. “We say a lot of things, we want to do a lot of things. And then, we’re unable to execute … over and over again. We can say things all we want. We can say that we need to do this, we need to do that. We can say this, we can say that. Until we change our habits and until we change who we are, nothing will change.”
As far as Sunday’s performance by the offense, Campbell called it “very anemic” during his postgame media session.
“I just think that maybe the fact that we’re not moving the ball, I think that affects our team a little bit. I just think it does,” Campbell told reporters. “And I think there again, it kind of becomes contagious. And we’ve got to find a way to generate something, some type of momentum and flow out of our offense, because it’s hard to ‘dink-and-dunk’ down the field and run it and they stuff you. It’s just a hard way to live right now.”
Campbell went so far as referring to the Lions’ performance against the Eagles as being on par with the “Bad News Bears.”
“The problem is when you try to push the ball down the field and you don’t get anything out of it, and now you’re second (down)-and-10. Well, you go back to the run or a shorter pass. Now, you’re third-and-8, and it’s just hard sledding,” Campbell said. “And then, you get a turnover or you get a penalty or somebody misses a block. Or hell, at one point today, we had a nudge. We’re trying to help (offensive lineman Matt) Nelson out. We step on his foot. How’s that helping? He gets run over, and now we get sacked. And it’s like, it’s like the ‘Bad News Bears’ on some stuff, man.”
While the bye week couldn’t come at a better time for Campbell’s team, it doesn’t mean Detroit is going to be vastly improved going into its Week 10 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Instead, expect much of the same lackluster football coming out of the bye and the losses to continue to pile up.
Remember, just like the ’08 version of the Lions, there’s no saving this current iteration of the franchise.