Detroit Lions Week 5 report card: Lions stumble into bye with embarrassing loss

Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions (Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images)
Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions (Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images) /
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For the second straight season, the Detroit Lions head into the bye week with the stench of an embarrassing loss after falling 29-0 to the Patriots on Sunday.

For as much hope as Detroit Lions fans may have had to enter the season, the feeling surrounding the team is pretty grim right now. Coming off yet another embarrassing loss, this time at the hands of the New England Patriots, Detroit enters their bye week with a 1-4 record.

It was truly a pathetic effort on all sides. The defense could not stand up against the Patriots’ run game, or a third-string rookie quarterback. And on the other side, the best offense in the NFL (at least coming into the game) could not muster a single point.

At this point, it’s hard to argue the early bye week isn’t a blessing. The Lions have been brutalized by injuries, yes, but they desperately need to do some introspection and make some changes.

Run offense: 1/5 stars 

It was a bit of a weird game on the ground for the Lions. It started off okay, as Jamaal Williams was a steady presence between the tackles and Craig Reynolds was providing some juice when he got in the game.

For some reason, though, any time the Lions started gaining traction on the ground they went away from it. As the game wore on, the run game also grew increasingly inefficient, which led to running the ball even less.

When it was all said and done Detroit ran the ball 27 times for 101 yards, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry. It was a clear step back for a ground game that had been really strong so far this season.

Pass offense:1/5 stars

Easily the worst game of the season for the Lions’ passing attack, and probably the worst this passing game has looked since the Browns game a season ago. Detroit struggled mightily to string together positive plays.

The pass protection was off, between Matthew Judon dominating every matchup in front of him and the Patriots scheming up pressure. As a result a lot of the pass concepts simply did not work as Jared Goff got flustered. More on that upcoming.

DJ Chark was once again absent on Sunday, Amon-Ra St. Brown was on a snap count, and Josh Reynolds was visibly injured. But we have seen Detroit succeed without its top weapons before. The execution was simply severely lacking on Sunday.

Best offensive player: WR Josh Reynolds 

While his ankle issue was clearly bothering him, Reynolds was the only offensive player who was provided consistently good play on Sunday. He had a few really nice catches in this game, whether it was on a shot play down the sideline or working over the middle on dig routes. It was evident Goff was trying to get the ball to Reynolds a lot on Sunday, but it worked more often than it didn’t.

Reynolds finished the game catching six of 10 targets for 92 yards–nothing revolutionary. But on a day where no one wearing Honolulu Blue could do much of anything, Reynolds at least went against the grain.

Worst offensive player: QB Jared Goff

Regression was the main theme offensively on Sunday, and Goff was the poster boy looking like the early 2021 version of himself. From consistently locking onto his first read, looking antsy in the pocket and moving himself into pressure, Goff failed the test against the Patriots.

The point about pressure is the most important. The offensive line had far from its best game, but Goff way too often would avoid stepping up into a clean pocket in favor of rolling right into pressure. It has been well established Goff does not perform well with pressure in his face, so his lack of poise in the pocket directly led to a multitude of problems.

Goff locked onto Hockenson as his first read and completely missed the safety coming over the top on an early interception. Another instance came on one of the ,many failed fourth down plays, where Goff zeroed in on St. Brown short of the sticks with two defenders rapidly closing on him.

From all angles, this was just a horrendous performance from Goff, and a stark reminder that quarterback remains high on the Lions’ list of needs.