Lions quick reads: Red zone woes bigger culprit in loss than officiating

Nolan Bianchi
Special to The Detroit News

Inability to finish drives lead to inability to finish game

Enough poor calls went against the Lions to allow it to serve as the primary focus of Monday night's loss in Green Bay, and while the two calls for illegal use of hands against Lions defensive end Trey Flowers were about as egregious as they come, officiating is not the primary reason that Detroit couldn't come home with a win.

The Lions were just 1-for-3 in the red zone and settled for five field goals. Regardless of how many yellow flags fall in the other team's favor, that's a tough pill to swallow, and something needs to be done soon about the team's efficiency inside the 20. Detroit wasted a 66-yard completion on a flea-flicker to Kenny Golladay on the team's first play from scrimmage by losing 5 yards on its next play and eventually settling for a field goal.

Lions receiver Kenny Golladay catches a ball in stride and runs out a first down in the second quarter.

Early air assault gives Lions lead

A central pillar of Darrell Bevell's offensive philosophy is focused on a love for the deep ball. That's showed itself on a handful of occasions during the early stages of his tenure in Detroit, but in its biggest game of the season thus far, Bevell opened the bag of tricks to catch Green Bay sleeping and give the Lions an early edge. It also resulted in the most productive opening quarter of Stafford's career, as the 66-yard completion to Golladay on Detroit's first play from scrimmage and a 58-yard throw to Marvin Hall to open the second drive anchored a 168-yard opening first quarter for the Lions quarterback. Golladay finished the first half with 105 yards receiving on four receptions.

Coleman keeps punching

Justin Coleman was widely praised for his performance in the loss to Kansas City, and rightfully so. The offseason acquisition punched the ball away from Sammy Watkins twice, once on a throw to the end zone that ended a Chiefs' drive in the red zone, and again on a completed pass to force a turnover.

Coleman was back at it on Monday night, hammering the ball away from Green Bay wideout Geronimo Allison to end the Packers' opening drive and doing the same to Allison a few drives later, though the latter occurrence was voided by a penalty away from the play. The ex-Seahawk made an even bigger impact in the second half with an interception at the goal line that he returned into Green Bay territory. Coleman did struggle down the stretch against Allen Lazard during the fourth quarter, though, as the Packers wideout pulled down four passes for 65 yards, including the 25-yard touchdown reception from Rodgers with 9:03 left in the fourth that brought the Packers within 2 points.

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.