The Detroit Lions were definitely up against it facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, but even under the circumstances, it was shocking to see how bad they were in the first half.
The Lions trailed at halftime 34-0 as they were consistently torn apart by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense. In total, it was the worst first half performance by any NFL team from a defensive standpoint in a decade.
There are games where teams don’t get 410 yards of total offense, much less halves. Things were so lopsided that the Buccaneers simply sat Brady for the second half, bringing in Blaine Gabbert to see out the rest of the game while resting some regulars.
While few would have predicted it would get this bad, the Lions being flat isn’t exactly a shock. The major figures on their coaching staff are missing for this reason, and the team is looking ahead to 2021. That doesn’t excuse the performance, but there’s some context to how bad it is.
The Detroit Lions have had to make some major temporary changes to their coaching staff this week due to COVID-19 protocols, and they will now have their third different head coach of the season on the sideline for Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell has been deemed a high-risk close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, so he will not be eligible to coach on Saturday. Wide receivers coach Robert Prince will take over as the interim head coach for the interim head coach.
The Lions provided a full breakdown of all the coaching changes:
Bevell is the first NFL head coach to have to miss a game this year due to COVID-19 protocols. We’ve seen it happen at the collegiate level with a prominent head coach, but this is the first time an NFL head coach has been effected.
The Lions are 5-9 on the season and out of playoff contention. They will be looking for a new head coach this offseason after they fired Matt Patricia.
There has been a lot of talk about the Detroit Lions potentially trading Matthew Stafford this offseason, and his health and salary are viewed as the two biggest reasons the team might move on. Of course, it’s also possible that Stafford could be the one who wants out.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said during an appearance on 104.3 The Fan in Denver on Thursday that the Lions remain open to the idea of trading Stafford, though it depends on who they hire as their next head coach and general manager. Schefter also said that Stafford has no interest in being part of a rebuild, so he may not want to remain in Detroit.
“Knowing what I know, I don’t think he’s gonna have the stomach to go through another rebuilding job,” Schefter said. “He might want to go on to play for a team that is ready to win right now or closer to winning than (the Lions) would appear to be.”
Stafford refused to commit to the Lions long-term recently when discussing his future with the franchise. He has two years left on his contract and a cap hit of just under $35 million next year and just under $28 million the following season. The 32-year-old has dealt with multiple injuries over the past few years, though he has showed toughness by playing through many of them.
The Lions haven’t been able to win consistently with Stafford, but he has thrown for 3,522 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. There would likely be plenty of trade interest in him if Detroit wants to move him.
You can hear Schefter’s full comments below:
The Detroit Lions are looking for a new general manager, and former NFL Executive of the Year Scott Pioli is one of the names on their list.
Pioli will interview for the Lions general manager job next week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Pioli has more than 25 years of NFL front office experience. He last worked as the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons from 2014 until he resigned last year. He worked for the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and several other teams before that.
Pioli, 55, has also served as an analyst for multiple networks and currently contributes at CBS Sports and NFL Network.
The longest stint Pioli spent with one team was with the Patriots from 2000-2008. He and Bill Belichick became the first personnel director-head coach duo in NFL history to win three Super Bowls during a four-year span. While Belichick has long been considered the GM of the Patriots, Pioli played a huge role in building multiple championship teams in New England.
The Lions are also planning to interview at least one other NFL analyst for their GM job. Pioli certainly has the resume to qualify for the position.
Frank Ragnow is one tough cookie, that’s for sure.
The Detroit Lions center suffered a fractured throat early in the team’s Week 14 loss to the Packers on Sunday. Yes, a fractured throat. Despite that, Ragnow did not miss any plays, allow a quarterback pressure, or sack in the game.
The news of Ragnow playing through the injury emerged on Wednesday. His brother Jack had a funny reaction and sarcastically downplayed things.
Frank is said to be able to eat and breathe, but he’s not supposed to talk. And even though he didn’t miss any time on Sunday, he could be out for the future.
Ragnow was a first-round pick by the Lions in 2018. He has only missed one game so far in his career.
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick has been linked to NFL general manager jobs multiple times in the past, and it sounds like he is closer than ever to landing one.
Riddick has interviews lined up with two teams already, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. He will meet with the Houston Texans on Wednesday and Detroit Lions on Friday about their vacant GM jobs.
Riddick, who currently works alongside Steve Levy and Brian Griese in ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth, is also considered a candidate for at least one other GM job.
Riddick, 51, has not worked in an NFL front office since he was the director of pro personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. He spent six years in a scouting role with the Eagles and seven in similar roles with Washington prior to that.
There have been several teams over the past few years that reportedly had interest in Riddick as a potential GM. It seems like 2021 could be when he finally ventures back into that line of work.
Tarik Cohen is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL back in September, but the Chicago Bears running back is still providing some great commentary while watching games from home.
Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater missed an extra point early in his team’s game against the Bears on Sunday. Cohen, who knows plenty about being on a team with kicking woes, trolled Prater on Twitter.
“Feel so good to see another team miss kicks lmao,” Cohen wrote.
The Bears have had some serious kicking issues in recent years, most notably with this heartbreaking double-doink missed field goal that cost the team a playoff win in 2018.
A missed extra point is nothing compared to the problems the Bears had, but those painful memories are clearly still fresh on Cohen’s mind.
Once again, the Detroit Lions are cleaning house.
The organization confirmed Saturday that head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn have both been fired. The decision comes two days after a blowout 41-25 loss on Thanksgiving to the Houston Texans, which dropped the team to 4-7.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as the team’s interim head coach.
Neither move comes as a huge surprise at this point. Patricia simply has not succeeded as the Lions’ coach. He departs with a record of 13-29-1 over parts of three seasons. He did not post a winning season or make the playoffs during his tenure.
Quinn took over as the Lions’ GM in January 2016. The team went 9-7 and made the playoffs in his first season, but have not done so since, with the record getting progressively worse during his tenure. In addition, Patricia was his hand-picked coaching hire after the firing of Jim Caldwell on the heels of a 9-7 season in 2017. The Lions have not put together a winning season since.
Ownership made clear that Quinn and Patricia were expected to deliver a contending team in 2020. They did not come close to doing so. Judging by comments made by the team’s most prominent player, the writing was very much on the wall.
We are moving toward the part of the season where every game is decisive and every mistake is magnified in the NFL. Coaches are now starting to sweat it out as their seats get hotter, and teams are seeing their playoff hopes get slimmer and slimmer depending on how they do. In other words, the stakes are high.
So who isn’t living up to expectations? Here are five disappointments from Week 11.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins
It’s fair to ask if the Dolphins went to Tagovailoa prematurely. He struggled on Sunday, throwing for just 83 yards before being benched in a move that coach Brian Flores explicitly said was down to performance. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t lead the Dolphins to a comeback, but the team received a bit of a jolt when he came in. Tagovailoa isn’t passing well enough right now. The Dolphins are still in a solid position, but the quarterback needs to improve.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
Jackson came into the 2020 season talking about how motivated he was to go even further after the Ravens’ playoff loss last year. A rematch with the same Tennessee Titans team that knocked them out should have been a chance to make a statement. Instead, it showed just how much work they have to do. Jackson missed two opportunities for touchdown passes and threw for just 186 yards. Dez Bryant, signed off the street, was the team’s second-leading receiver with 28 yards. The offense is broken, and these postgame quotes didn’t inspire much confidence either.
The Carolina Panthers do not have a great defense. The Detroit Lions have enough talent on offense to at least be competent. Instead, the Lions got shut out, and their season is now circling the drain. Matt Patricia increasingly looks like a dead man walking. It never needed to get this bad in Detroit, but the franchise has completely lost its way — not that it was ever that close to figuring it out anyway. It’s time, once again, for wholesale changes.
New England Patriots’ defense
Deshaun Watson is entirely capable of hurting anyone, but the Patriots’ defense was brutal on Sunday. Their performance is even harder to excuse when considering the Texans essentially had the run game taken away from them. That meant Watson was passing a lot, and the Patriots couldn’t stop it. Watson threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns, then added a third rushing touchdown. In the end, Houston put up 399 total yards and 27 points. That won’t do against a team that has been struggling all year.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers
Sunday was cruel for Valdes-Scantling, who made a big catch late in the fourth quarter to get the game to overtime in the first place. However, the wide receiver made a huge mistake in overtime, fumbling away the ball after a catch to essentially set the Colts up for a win. It was, quite literally, a game-changing turnover, and he was visibly upset on the sideline afterward. He has the backing of his quarterback, but that’s unlikely to make him feel any better.
Jerry Jones said recently that the Dallas Cowboys are more likely to be buyers than sellers at the trade deadline, but they have already dealt away one big-name player.
The Cowboys have agreed to trade pass-rusher Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media first reported.
Griffen, 32, did not generate a ton of interest this past offseason before signing a one-year, $6 million deal with Dallas. He has 2.5 sacks and 20 total tackles in seven games this season.
While he is not as productive as he was a few years ago, Griffen should still provide the Lions with a nice boost along their defensive front. He had eight sacks for the Minnesota Vikings last year and a career-high 13 back in 2017.