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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Alex Anzalone, Detroit Lions
Credit: Nick Grace/Getty Images /

Run defense: 0/5 stars 

Heading into a game in which the opposing team was starting a third-string quarterback, it was well known the Patriots would run the ball early and often. Yet, Detroit was unable to contain Rhamondre Stevenson.

Stevenson finished the game with 25 rushes for a career-high 161 yards,  A lot of those yards came after contact, continuing a theme of tackling issues seen throughout the early season for Detroit.

It was rare in this game to see the first Lions’ defender make the stop. Typically Stevenson would break at least one tackle, or drag a defender for extra yards. For every stop Detroit generated on first down, the Patriots would answer with a big run the next play.

Much like the offense, the defense really struggled to execute in this game–particularly on the ground.

Pass defense: 1/5 stars

As previously noted, the Patriots started a third-string rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe on Sunday. Unfortunately, that didn’t help the Lions’ pass defense much as they could not generate a stop (aside from one dropped pass that ended up in the hands of DeShon Elliott).

Detroit tried a new combination of players in the secondary after last week’s debacle against Seattle, but did not help at all. To make matters worse, a litany of injuries hit seemingly everyone who played in the Lions’ secondary. By the end of the game rookie corner Chase Lucas was playing safety because of all the injuries.

But the truth is it did not matter who the Lions had in the secondary, they just could not contain the Patriots’ receivers.

Best defensive player: No one

Worst defensive player(s): Everyone 

Same as last week, nobody defensively stood out in a positive light on Sunday.  Alim McNeill had a few nice plays to generate tackles for loss, but he was also was a culprit on multiple gashes up the middle, including Steveson’s big 49-yard run.

No one on the Lions’ defense can make a play when one is needed. The pass rush, while a little beat up, is non-existent. Anytime Aaron Glenn blitzes to generate pressure, a receiver is left wide open.

The Lions are stuck in a cycle which seems to have no end in sight. What Detroit really needs above all else, is someone to step up and start delivering some impact plays (Aidan Hutchinson). This defense will not survive if it can’t get notable contributions from some young core players.