After a high-octane first half on Sunday, the Detroit Lions faltered in the second half and lost 31-27 to the Miami Dolphins.
Back in Dallas in Week 7, the Detroit Lions renewed a basic sense of optimism. The defense took strides, led by the youthful core expected to lead this team forward. The offense struggled mightily, but with reinforcements on the way hope was flowing there too.
The first half against the Dolphins on Sunday seemed to validate that hope. The Lions posted 27 points, led by 10 points and the defense was hanging in. However, the second half completely unwinded all that progress as Miami was able to complete the comeback.
Frustration is continuing to grow by the week. While it is true this team is rebuilding, at some point you have to show some growth. This was yet another game proving these young Lions are still learning how to win.
Here’s the Detroit Lions report card for Week 8.
Detroit Lions Week 8 Report Card
Grading The Offense
Run offense: 2/5 stars
With D’Andre Swift returning to the lineup, the expectation was the Detroit run game would get a boost. Unfortunately, they never really leaned on the ground game as they ran the ball just 19 times against the Dolphins. For a team whose identity is being able to run the ball, it was an odd strategic decision.
Speaking further on Swift, he was not put in a position to succeed at all. The Lions were at their best running between the tackles. In this game though, Swift was exclusively tasked with running to the outside where the offensive line couldn’t help as much.
The pieces were there for success, but Detroit didn’t want to lean into the ground game on Sunday.
Pass offense: 3/5 stars
The double-edged sword of leaning into the passing game more was made abundantly clear for the Lions on Sunday. They were moving the ball with efficiency in the first half. Jared Goff was pushing the ball downfield, and they were able to up the tempo.
But in the second half, that got them into some trouble. As the downfield shots faded, the Dolphins closed in on the check-down options. When those were taken away, the Lions had no answers.
The first half showed a glimpse of what the offense could look like. The second half was a harsh slap of reality that there is still a lot of work to do.
Best offensive player: RB Jamaal Williams
For as little as Detroit went to the ground game on Sunday, it worked when they went to Williams. Over five yards a carry (10 for 53) with another pair of touchdowns to give him a place in Lions’ history.
Williams is not supposed to be leading the team in touches week in and week out. But you would be hard-pressed to find someone who has been genuinely disappointed in Williams’ play this season. He’s been the ultimate model of consistency.
Worst offensive player: WR Josh Reynolds
Reynolds wasn’t involved very much, still clearly being affected by a knee injury. However he is acting as the de facto X-receiver right now, and the Lions need more out of him. There were multiple deep shots Reynolds was unable to come down with.
If it’s solely due to an injury that his performance has been hindered, then Reynolds needs some time off. If he’s going to be on the field, Detroit needs more from him.