Lions face quick turnaround after disastrous opener

The Sports Xchange

September 11, 2018 at 8:00 pm.

Not only do the Detroit Lions need to regroup after an embarrassing loss at home in their season opener, but they have a short week in which to do it.

The Lions heard boos during their 48-17 loss to the New Jets on Monday night, and very little went right for the Lions.

It was a disaster for Lions coach Matt Patricia in his first game as an NFL head coach. And it was a disaster for veteran Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw four interceptions. Matt Cassel came into the game late in the contest and threw an interception as well, providing the fifth Detroit turnover.

“Take a long hard look in the mirror, no question,” Stafford said after the game, “What can we do better? It starts with me and I’ll do that for sure. It’s a short week on a West Coast trip.”

That’s right, the Lions don’t have much time to prepare of a long flight and a road game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon.

The Lions have lost nine of their 10 games against the 49ers, who have won 12 straight home games against Detroit. Sunday’s game will be the 49ers’ home opener after they lost to the Minnesota Vikings 24-16 on Sunday.

And now the Lions have to be worried about teams knowing too much about their play calls.

“We were calling out their plays as he was getting up to the line,” Jets linebacker Darron Lee said after the game, according to ESPN. “… We knew his signals. We knew everything. That’s just preparation as a defense.”

Jim Caldwell was fired after the Lions went 9-7 last season, and Patricia, who was the New England Patriots defensive coordinator, was hired with the notion that he could take Detroit to the next level.

Patricia’s first game was not a good omen. The Lions got pummeled by a Jets team that won just five games last season and was starting a rookie quarterback (Sam Darnold).

“Again, I’ll start with myself: Some of the coaching and some of that stuff has got to be better,” Patricia said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “And some of the execution of some of the things we were trying to do last night has to be better. I don’t think it was a situation where we were outmatched or outmanned, we just obviously got out-executed. Give credit to the Jets.”

Patricia also dismissed the notion that New York were more familiar with what Detroit was calling than the other way around.

“I would say this — that was very much on the flip side a (Jets offensive line coach Rick) Dennison run game, it was a (offensive coordinator Jeremy) Bates offensive pass game, it was a Todd Bowles and (defensive coordinator) Kacy (Rodgers) defense, so I think on both sides of the ball we knew exactly what everybody was trying to do,” said Patricia. “They obviously out-executed us and that was the biggest problem.”

The Lions’ defense was no better, allowing the Jets’ top two rushers to average 7.2 yards per carry and letting Darnold complete 16 of 21 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his regular-season pro debut.

“I know it sounds crazy,” Detroit left tackle Taylor Decker said, per the Detroit Free Press, “but we’re a lot better football team than we showed. And I think we all know that and we’re all secure and comfortable with that and that we’ll get better moving forward.”

–DE Ezekiel Ansah suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him out of Monday’s game. Patricia had nothing new to report on the injury and it is unclear whether he will miss any games. The Lions placed the franchise tag on Ansah, who had 12 sacks last season and one on Monday before suffering the injury.

–RB LeGarrette Blount left Monday’s game in the third quarter after taking a hit. He returned to the sideline in the fourth quarter, and the Lions did not report an injury for Blount.

–WR Kenny Golladay was one of the few Lions with impressive statistics on Monday. He caught seven passes for 114 yards.

–QB Matt Cassel fared no better than Stafford when he entered the game. Cassel completed 2 of 6 passes for 14 yards, no touchdown and one interception.

–OL Jamil Demby was claimed by the Lions off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams. Demby was selected by Los Angeles in the sixth round of the 2018 draft out of Maine.

–WR Bradley Marquez was released by the Lions. Now in his fourth NFL season, Marquez has played in 32 NFL games, including one start. He has made 16 receptions for 125 yards.