The Detroit Lions and New York Jets tangle on Monday Night Football at 7:10 from Ford Field. Eric Coughlin of The Detroit News compiles the best social media reactions during the game.
Lions fans deserve better than this.
Despite rooting for a comically cursed franchise, their energy before kickoff was palpable, even through a TV screen. After all, they had a good quarterback, entering his tenth season, plus a new coach, hired to take this team not just into winning territory, but to playoff victories. 2018 was starting on a Monday night in Detroit, and the outlook for the Lions season was promising.
Then the third quarter happened.
A games-worth of points, 31, rained down on the Lions in the third, ending the quarter with the Jets up 48-17. Backups took over for the meaningless fourth and neither team scored, mercifully ending the game for Lions, a 48-17 blowout on national TV to start the 2018 season.
After the first play from scrimmage, a pick-six for the Lions, virtually nothing went right.
The Lions threw five interceptions, four by Matthew Stafford, two of them especially bad. His final line: 27-for-46 throwing for 286 yards, four picks and one touchdown.
Special teams were a consistent problem. The usually-steady Matt Prater missed two field goals, and the Lions punt coverage was weak all game, resulting in a third quarter punt return touchdown by former Lion Andre Roberts, the score that put the game out of reach for the Lions.
Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, making his first career start, was more than good enough, going 16-for-21 throwing for 198 yards, two touchdowns and the one interception.
The Lions cut solid defensive lineman Anthony Zettel last week, leaving them thin on the line, and it showed. Darnold was comfortable in the pocket and fourth-year running back Isaiah Crowell shredded the Lions for 102 yards on 10 carries, plus two scores.
Somehow, the Lions run game looked worse than it has in the past few years. They mustered only 39 yards, 2.6 per attempt. At 20 yards, Theo Riddick was the leading rusher for Detroit.
According to WXYZ-TV, only three Lions were willing to talk to media after the game.
Such a thorough beat-down has to leave one wondering if the Lions are good enough to recover--and also if firing coach Jim Caldwell, who went 9-7 last season, was worth it.
The Lions do have a game next week, Sunday, at San Francisco. Whether or not they show up seems to be an open question.
This 62-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Crowell was his second score of the game and put the Jets up, 48-17 in the third quarter. The Lions were massacred in the third quarter, outscored 31-7. Before the tragic quarter even ended, Lions fans were streaming out of Ford Field. Media heavyweights were piling on.
Things could hardly go worse for the Lions in the third quarter. This was Stafford's fourth giveaway and led to a Jets field goal that put them up 41-17. It was Lee's second interception of the game. But former Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky, well-known by Lions fans as the quarterback that mistakenly ran out of the back of the end zone during the disastrous 0-16 season in 2008, still had plenty of faith in the Lions' current signal-caller.
The Lions had trouble covering punts all game, and they finally paid for it when Andre Roberts returned one for a touchdown in the third quarter to make it 38-17 for the Jets. Boos rained down from the Ford Field stands as this play capped a 21-point spurt in 2:36 for the Jets.
Chances for a Lions comeback seemed slim in the third quarter when Stafford threw his third interception, this one returned for a touchdown to put the Jets up, 31-17. The score was the first for the Jets defense since 2013. Stafford hadn't thrown three picks at home since 2015.
This 21-yard touchdown catch and run by Quincy Enunwa put the Jets up, 24-17, in the third quarter. It was Darnold's second touchdown throw on the night.
The Lions' offense finally experienced some success on their first drive of the second half. This Golden Tate touchdown was the 35th of his career and tied the game at 17.
There was very little optimism at halftime when the Lions were trailing 17-10.
Jets receiver Robby Anderson made it 17-7 in the second quarter with this impressive 41-yard grab, the first career touchdown for Darnold. It was Anderson's 10th career score.
The Lions offense was scuffling in the first half and this Matthew Stafford injury didn't help. Stafford hasn't missed a game since 2010.
Matthew Stafford threw his second interception of the game to Trumaine Johnson in the second quarter. Lucky for Stafford, Lions receiver Kenny Golladay hit Johnson so hard he fumbled, recovered by Golladay and keeping the score at 10-7 for the Jets.
Matthew Stafford only threw 20 interceptions in 2016 and 2017 combined, but threw one in the first quarter on Monday night. He had zero passing yards in the first quarter.
Former Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell knotted the score at seven in the first quarter with this touchdown scamper. The score was Crowell's 22nd career rushing touchdown.
Even with the great start, some Lions fans were less than optimistic:
Things couldn't have started worse for Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. Lions defensive back Quandre Diggs picked off Darnold's errant pass on the first play from scrimmage of the game to put the Lions up, 7-0, in the first quarter. It was Diggs's fourth career interception and first touchdown.
Fans that arrived to Ford Field early could enjoy a beer and a hot dog for $5.
The Lions wore solid blue jerseys to open up the season on Monday night.
LIONS VS. JETS
When: Monday, 7:10 p.m.
Where: Ford Field, Detroit
TV/radio: ESPN, Channel 7/WJR 760
Line: Lions by 7