Detroit Lions fans: Sit back and embrace the mediocrity
By Kellen Voss
Inconsistency continues to plague the Detroit Lions offense, as they clearly missed the presence of the YAC king in yet another loss to the Vikings.
Those members of the media who criticized the Detroit Lions for making the Golden Tate trade had a bit of an “I told you so” moment on Sunday as the Lions offense looked less than mediocre against the dominant Minnesota Vikings defense, losing 24-9.
The Lions offense seemed to never wake up in Minnesota, as quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for less than 200 yards in the loss to the NFC North foe.
Despite leading the team in targets before his departure, Tate was never exactly the focal point of the Lions offense. However, his ability to run crisp routes and make tacklers miss in open space provided the Lions offense with a solid safety that it can no longer rely upon.
The Lions did attempt to replace Tate’s production, but replicating the work of one of the leagues best after-the-catch receivers isn’t exactly. The return of running back Theo Riddick helped the passing game, but 36 yards on seven catches wasn’t enough to make a dent into the Purple People Eaters.
The loss of Tate was not the only offensive setback that the Lions faced yesterday. Running back Kerryon Johnson, who rushed for almost 200 yards in Detroit’s last win, was essentially silenced in this game, only gaining 37 yards on 12 carries.
Finding holes to run through was a problem for Johnson, mostly because there weren’t any holes to run through. The Lions offensive line was consistently inconsistent all day long, as they allowed Stafford to be sacked 10 times by the Vikings’ front seven.
All in all, it was a rather depressing day everywhere on the field yesterday. Despite holding quarterback Kirk Cousins to less than 200 yards passing and cornerback Darius Slay corralling an interception, the Lions secondary still got burned on many key plays, especially when Viking receivers were guarded by Teez Tabor, who really shouldn’t be playing this season.
The run defense nightmare that has been taking place since Ndamukong Suh left continued in Detroit, as they allowed running back Dalvin Cook to look great coming off an injury, posting a 70 yard run in the second quarter that helped quickly deplete the Honolulu Blue defense.
Despite Cook looking great after being injured for multiple weeks, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah could not showcase similar domination. While the former pro bowl did sack Cousins once in the contest, his impact was minor and he was nowhere to be found on many big offensive plays for the Vikings.
Those defensive woes are concerning for any Lions fans to see, but an offense that fails to reach the end zone is one that will hold any NFL team back, and Detroit’s is no exception.
As consistent as he has been, it’s always a bad sign when kicker Matt Prater is the leading scorer for the Detroit Lions. While the offense did miss the contributions of Golden Tate today, he can’t be the only reason why this offense played pitifully.
As the season goes along, it’s becoming clearer that the Lions offense isn’t just bad because of injuries, or missing it’s leading receiver. Lions fans may just have to accept the fact that this team kind of sucks. And for the remainder of 2018, we’ll just have to sit back and embrace the mediocrity.
Lions fans have always showcased a blind sense of optimism with this team, and this year should be no different. Fanatics of Motor City will most likely spend the rest of the season gazing 2019 draft previews to find Tate’s replacement and dream about how 2019 may finally be “our year”.
But the sad reality that Detroit Lions fans always seem to ignore is that until this team can establish a consistent running game, a decent offensive line and some semblance of a pass rush, this Lions will be stuck in NFL purgatory, picking in the 10-15 range until the end of time.