The Detroit Lions secondary is full of question marks
By: Jake Rajala
The Detroit Lions suffer yet another heartbreaking loss in Week 3. The final seconds of the contest ended with Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker successfully completing an NFL record 66-yard field goal, which handed the Ravens an unbelievable 19-17 victory. After the game ended, the sports world largely reacted to two sequences: the successful field goal by Tucker and the “missed penalty on a delay of game” by the Ravens just prior to their field goal attempt. I don’t believe either of those actions should be seen as the reason why the Lions lost this game, or the main focus looking ahead.
I firmly believe the reason why the spirited Lions lost their third straight game is none other than their achilles heel. Their biggest weakness has to be none other than their secondary and their inability to slow down an opposing team’s top weapon. I believe the biggest play of the game was when DET allowed a non-elite passing QB in Lamar Jackson to connect with Sammy Watkins on an unthinkable 4th and 18th with 24 seconds left.
The Lions didn’t get gashed by Lamar overall, but they did break when it mattered and they continued to struggle with locking down Jackson’s main target in Mark Andrews. The Ravens TE logged 5 catches for 109 yards after notching just eight receptions and 77 yards in the first two weeks combined. Week 3 wasn’t the only contest where the Lions got steamrolled by the top opposing weapon. In Week 1, The 49ers delivered 41 points on the Lions, which was largely sent by their WR1 Deebo Samuel, who had a career day with nine catches, 189 yards, and one receiving touchdown. After the Lions got gushed by Jimmy G and Samuel, the Lions didn’t have an answer for Davante Adams in Week 2. The Packers WR1 captured eight catches for 121 yards, which helped his team unleash 35 pts in a huge divisional victory.
It’s been all too common for Aaron Glenn’s secondary to fold in each week this season. The Lions have been excellent in stopping the run and it’s safe to say Jared Goff has exceeded expectations in the rebuilt offense thus far. On the flip side, Glenn needs to develop a more robust plan to slow down passing attacks or acquire a talent that can match an elite skill talent. The Lions 2020 high draft pick in CB Jeffery Okudah is out for the season and their secondary also carries numerous average rookie profiles.
It’s easy to yell at the refs (as always), but the missed call on the delay of game “by a second” is very common — it’s just uncommon to happen on a play before the game-winning field goal. As for Tucker’s record-setting field goal, it was NOT a miracle by any means. It’s a record and it’s very rare, but the elements were perfect for the Ravens elite kicker. He is unequivocally a slim amount of kickers in the league that actually could complete such an attempt & and in the very thin pool, he’s fortunate to be given an attempt of that magnitude, from the “middle of the field”, with the game on the line. It was certain that Tucker is one of the few kickers in the league that had a realistic chance of completing that field goal if he had the chance. Unfortunately, the Lions secondary crumbled when it mattered most and they allowed the historically great Tucker to have the attempt. With that being said, I believe the appropriate response from the game and looking forward has to be how they can fix their lagging secondary and prevent lapses in the first, second, third, and fourth quarter.