Lions' first-half observations: Detroit appears to be going through the motions vs. Eagles
Detroit News contributor Nolan Bianchi offers his first-half observations as the Lions trail the Eagles 17-0 at Ford Field.
There’s a point in every Detroit Lions season where the glass shatters, fans realize it’s not going to get better "this year," and apathy begins to pile on at an exponential rate.
The Lions’ spirited effort against Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams a week ago seems to have been the final push for this year’s team — at least for the time being.
While there’s certainly a chance that this team is able to pick up a few wins on the back half of its schedule, the Lions on this Sunday look like a team that’s simply trying to make it to the bye week.
The energy in downtown Detroit was nonexistent ahead of gametime — one might assume the Lions were playing a road game, based on how the typical tailgate hot spots looked. That didn’t change much once fans piled into the stadium, which appeared to only be about half-full, if that, during its high point.
And that energy — or lack thereof — is starting to make its way onto the field.
The Lions’ defense doesn’t look like they could stop the Eagles with 12 men on the field. Running back Boston Scott (nine attempts, 55 yards) has led an Eagles rushing attack that’s already totaled 124 yards.
And on offense, Detroit’s inability to get receivers open has been compounded because of how poorly the offensive line has played. Matt Nelson is getting bullied over at right tackle, and it’s a big part of the reason that Goff has been sacked four times for a loss of 34 yards.
Murphy’s Law in full effect
If anything can go wrong, it will.
That feels especially true, historically, for the Lions, but it was even more pronounced than usual on Sunday against a not-very-good Eagles team.
The Lions took over at Philadelphia’s 45 on their second offensive series, and failed to walk away with points as Goff was sacked on second down and Austin Seibert missed a 47-yard field goal two plays later.
On the ensuing Eagles drive, Lions safety Dean Marlowe ran Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts out of bounds for a loss of 12 on first-and-goal from the 4. Both teams had offsetting penalties, which erased the sack — that is, until the officials realized that since Philadelphia technically ran the ball, there could be no foul for ineligible man downfield. So it was wiped off the board entirely, and Philadelphia went half-the-distance to the goal.
And then, on the Lions’ biggest play of the half — a 35-yard completion to Amon-Ra St. Brown with just a minute left in the second quarter — the Lions were flagged for illegal formation.
It is raining, and it is pouring.
Special teams gets A+
If there’s any group that deserves some orange slices at halftime, it’s the Lions’ special teams group. They’ve actually been solid.
Jack Fox downed the Eagles at their own 4-yard-line with a punt after the opening drive. Godwin Igwebuike made kickoff returns to the 34 and 30. Kalif Raymond almost broke a punt return for a touchdown on his first try, but wound up going down at the Eagles 45 and still got 11 yards out of it.
Good starting field position doesn’t matter much when the team can’t get a single first down, but yeah. It’s something, I guess.