Detroit Lions: Defense fails their easiest test of the year

Despite him having been playing terribly all year; the Detroit Lions’ defense failed to stop Mitch Trubisky from dicing them up throughout Sunday afternoon.

The Detroit Lions‘ defense had no answer for Chicago Bears’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky on Sunday afternoon. After a largely successful first quarter by the defense, the Bears’ quarterback found his groove for just the second time all year and began picking apart the Lions’ defense.

Coming into the game Sunday, Trubisky had thrown just five touchdowns all year while also throwing three interceptions. Despite the defense being bad all year, there was some optimism that they could turn in at least one good game against possibly the worst starting quarterback in the league.

Throughout the year Trubisky has been graded out a paltry 48.5 grade by Pro Football Focus, a company who watches every game and grades every player. That 48.5 grade ranks Trubisky as the 34th best quarterback to play all year.

Yes, you read that right; Trubisky has been not only the worst starter in the league, but also worse than three back-up quarterbacks this year. So, you can understand the optimism that was building up with this match-up. But no; the Lions couldn’t even do that.

Instead, after taking a quarter to find himself, Trubisky went ahead and preceded to carve up the Lions defense to the tune of 173 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 69.5% percent of his 23 passes. All of this led Mitch to a 131 rating and a win over the Lions.

Trubisky was actually pressured quite a bit all game, including being sacked five times. However, despite the surprisingly good showing from the front seven, the Lions’ secondary was unable to hold up their end of the bargain.

The scoring began second quarter when Trubisky lofted a pass to second string tight end Ben Braunecker, who had cleanly beat rookie safety Will Harris out of his break and caught the pass half-way into the end zone. Trubisky then preceded to go on and throw two more touchdowns to his running back Tarik Cohen and receiver Taylor Gabriel in the third quarter.

So, the Lions defense had quite possibly the worst quarterback in the NFL staring across at them and couldn’t even stop him. Instead, they allowed him to have his best game of the season, leading the Bears to an important divisional win at home.

There’s no easy fix to this defense. To be honest, no one is really sure what the problem is at the moment. Is it the play-calling by defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni? Is there a lack of talent on defense? Or is it that the players just simply just aren’t executing the way they should be?

For my money, I think it’s a combination of lack of execution and play-calling. I don’t buy the theory that there isn’t enough talent on the defense. The defense has plenty of talented players at each level.

Along the defensive line the Lions have one of the top run-stuffers in the league in Damon Harrison Sr. and stud defensive end Trey Flowers. In the middle of the defense the Lions have both a former first round pick, Jarrad Davis, and second round pick, Jahlani Tavai. And in the secondary they have elite cornerback Darius Slay.

There is plenty of talent on this defense, so I’m beginning to believe that there needs to be a change made to the coaching staff on the defense. The two biggest changes that need to happen are at the linebacker coach and who calls the defensive plays on Sundays.

The linebackers, as a whole unit, have been the biggest problem for this defense for a while now. Cleaning house in that department makes sense. However, it would also be interesting to see what would happen to the defense if head coach Matt Patricia took over play-calling duties for the defense.

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This Sunday proved that changes need to be made on the defensive side of the ball. When a below replacement level quarterback rips your defense a new one, then it’s time to start exploring just what those changes are. And it all begins with Patricia taking complete control of the defensive side of the ball.