The Detroit Lions are an awful football team. They’re playing pathetic football at the moment, and that says something considering the football standards in Detroit.
For a franchise that’s used to lousy football, what the Lions have shown so far in the 2021 season is arguably the worst the city has ever seen. Even the season that saw the Lions become the first team ever to go 0-16 had a glimmer of hope in the form of a young Calvin Johnson.
What do the Lions have now?
Jared Goff is among the worst quarterbacks in the game. The Lions’ defense is dead last in the NFL, giving up 30.5 points per game. Head coach Dan Campbell was so frustrated a few weeks ago that he shed tears in the postgame press conference.
Detroit football is at a new low, and unfortunately, brighter days don’t appear to be in the future anytime soon.
The Detroit Lions’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles felt like rock bottom
Detroit is soo terrible right now that the Lions made the Philadelphia Eagles look good. This was an Eagles team that came into the contest with a 2-5 record, mind you. Not only were the Eagles bad heading into Week 8, but they’ll be bad moving forward at 3-5. Their win over the Lions snapped a two-game losing streak, preventing them from suffering their sixth loss in seven games.
The Lions game was a “get right” game for the Eagles, and it wasn’t even close.
The Lions lost, 44-6, and their only score of the game came on a touchdown with 7:14 left to go in the contest. To that point, the Eagles had outscored them, 41-0.
“I felt like we got outcoached today and we got outplayed across the board,” Campbell said after the loss, according to ESPN. “And that does, that starts with me. It really does. You don’t play that bad with a number of guys in areas and turn the ball over and penalties and the low energy and it’s just, you don’t do that unless that comes from the top so that’s on me.”
Campbell took the blame for the loss, and rightfully so, but his players have to look in the mirror as well. After all, they do collect a paycheck to play the game, but they haven’t even shown up in two of the last three.
A scrappy loss to the Los Angles Rams and former quarterback Matthew Stafford was sandwiched between the loss to the Eagles and a 34-11 defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Campbell has the tough job of keeping his team motivated
The hardest part for Campbell has to be the fact that he’s in his first season as a head coach, and he’s staring at the mountain that has taken out many coaches before him. The biggest challenge for any coach in Detroit is changing the losing culture before the culture changes them, and Campbell appears to be on the verge of hitting that precipice very early into his career.
There had been signs of fight in the Lions at times. They have played scrappy and tough and have had games in which they were outmatched but didn’t give up.
That tough facade has been breaking a bit, though.
The team got outclassed and embarrassed at home against the Bengals in Week 6, and should have just stayed at home when the Eagles came to town this past weekend.
“One of the tougher ones I’ve been a part of and tough to swallow. It wasn’t good on any phase,” Goff said after the game.
“Honestly, it makes us feel like trash,” safety Tracy Walker III said, speaking of the Lions’ terrible start.
Those are quotes from players who are feeling emotionally beat up. The scary thing for Campbell is that there are still nine games to go, and not many look winnable.
Could another winless season be on the horizon for the Lions?
The Lions have a history working against them.
Sure, none of the same players from the 0-16 team are on the squad, and outside of the Ford family, upper management has changed multiple times over.
Still, going winless is such a Lions thing to do. It’s almost part of the ethos of the organization. With that in mind, every ensuing loss puts more pressure on the team to avoid making the wrong kind of history once again.
For what it’s worth, the players do seem to be saying the right things.
“That’s not a possibility in my mind,” Walker said of going 0-17. “I’m just saying if we don’t fix it … if we continue with the same problems, obviously we ain’t gonna win a game.”
Tight end T.J. Hockenson was even more optimistic sounding.
“This season is not over,” he said. “And we’re able to write the story with what guys want to do, what we want to do as a team and where we want to go with this organization and with this city. That’s something that we’ve gotta look right in the mirror and just reflect to understand where we want to go and what we want to do for these next few games.”
The problem with Hockenson’s optimism is that it has to go up against reality.
The reality is that Detroit is the worst team in the NFL, again, and it’s not even close. Even the Jaguars and Texans have at least managed a win.
Winless at the bye, the Lions have to look ahead to games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Chicago Bears in November. The Steelers and Browns will both be tough AFC North opponents on their home fields. The Bears will play the Lions on Thanksgiving in Detroit, and head coach Matt Nagy very well could be coaching for his job.
None of those games will be easy for Detroit.
Facing the real possibility of being 0-11 heading into December, the pressure is on for Campbell and the Lions to at least conjure up some good vibes before this thing spirals out of control.