Allen Park — After finishing 11-5 last season and making their second trip to the playoffs in the last 15 years, the Lions had high expectations entering coach Jim Caldwell’s second season.
With most of the offense returning, and the addition of rookie running back Ameer Abdullah, there were indications the Lions could be set for a promising run.
But back-to-back road losses have tempered talk the Lions might be able to dethrone the Packers in the North — or even return to the playoffs.
“We’ve got to be more consistent,” Caldwell said Monday, a day after a 26-16 loss to the Vikings. “That’s the real key because there were spurts, there were instances, there were things that were done well but we just didn’t have enough of them. That’s the real key, and that’s across the board.
“That’s my job to get these guys playing better because we’re capable and certainly going to make sure that we get ourselves headed in the right direction.”
The offense had 38 rushing yards on 16 attempts, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford (20, two more than the four backs combined). Calvin Johnson had 10 catches (17 targets), none for more than 18 yards.
The defense allowed Vikings running back Adrian Peterson 134 yards, his third-highest total in 13 career games against the Lions.
Caldwell, however, is focused on the record more than on either side of the ball.
“I’m concerned most first and foremost about not winning, no matter how we get it done,” he said.
“Above all else, the object to win, find a way to win, that’s whether we have to do it defensively or special teams, if our offense is not clicking consistently well. But it’s across the board.”
Caldwell admitted some of the issues against the Vikings were with the offensive line, a unit he hoped would be improved despite losing center Dominic Raiola and left guard Rob Sims.
“I’m not satisfied with anything,” Caldwell said. “I’m not satisfied with myself, not satisfied with how we played, so no we’re not satisfied at this point. We get paid to perform well, we get paid to win football games and certainly we haven’t done that as of yet.
“But do I believe that we have a group that can get it done? You better believe it.”