There is a reason why the Detroit Lions, a team that plays in the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC), lost seven of the first eight games they played this season. This squad suffers from a problem some pundits refer to as “defensive indifference.”
Simply stated, the Lions don’t always go “all out” when their opponents are on offense. The result of their occasional lackluster performance is obvious. This team allows opponents to run for nearly one hundred ten yards per game, giving them one of the worst “rushing defenses” in the entire National Football League (NFL).
As any fan of professional football knows, a team that can “run the ball” effectively keeps the opposing defense on the field and the opposing offense on the bench. And when an opponent doesn’t have the ball, it can’t score. The Lions are missing a key piece from last year as all pro defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh signed with the Miami Dolphins who helped stuff the run for the Lions defense. But without Suh, players like Ezekiel Ansah and DeAndre Levy have had to step up and are struggling to fill the void left by Suh.
In truth, the Lions suddenly discovered their “A” game about a month ago, improved dramatically on offense and especially on defense and, as a result, reeled off a three game winning streak.
After twelve games, Detroit found itself with a Won-Loss record of 4-7 and had moved to the middle of the pack in the league statistically when it came to their defense. And yet, Detroit, while no longer listed as one of the ten worst defenses in the league, according to statistics, still fields one of the worst defenses in the league, one that can collapse at any moment on any given play.
It happened in Monday night’s nationally-televised game. The Lions, a squad that gives up an average of 26.2 points per game and two hundred forty-two passing yards per game, had played brilliantly against the 7-4 Green Bay Packers, shutting them out for three quarters.
Unfortunately, the squad from the motor city collapsed suddenly and completely. In the pivotal fourth quarter, their defense finally caved in and allowed a touchdown, bringing the Packers within thirteen point of a tie. A quick turnover by Detroit’s offense led to another collapse by its defense, so that Green Bay could now win the game with another touchdown.
And then, as the last seconds of the game ticked off, Detroit committed a defensive penalty as time ran out giving the Packers one last chance to score although they were sixty yards from the end zone.
Detroit’s defense which had played inspired football for four games in a row, had risen from the ‘depths of despair” and from the bottom of the league defensively, suddenly remembered its roots. The Lions cluttered their end zone with half a dozen defenders while Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay’s quarterback, launched a sixty yard “Hail Mary” pass which , shockingly, was caught by a Packers wide receiver.
The stunned Lions had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, obliterated any chance they had of reaching the postseason and sent their fans home muttering to themselves and very disappointed.
And that is why, the Detroit Lions, a team that finds itself in the middle of the league statistically when it comes to defense, deserves to be the subject of an article about the NFL’s worst defenses.
Courtesy of CBS Sports