Coaching Staff: 4/5 stars
There is certainly an argument to be had about the clock management on the Lions’ final offensive drive. Though, as proven by the Bills’ final drive, the rationale of trying to avoid giving Josh Allen the ball back was sound. Unfortunately, the execution fell apart on the final drive. You can hammer Ben Johnson for the play call on the aforementioned 3rd-and-1, but St. Brown was also open on a shallow crossing route that Goff missed.
Ultimately, the Lions generated a game plan good enough to win. For the vast majority of the game, they went toe-to-tie with a Super Bowl favorite. There are things to clean up, but this game showed how far this team has come in the past month.
Play of the game: DJ Chark’s touchdown catch
3rd-and-goal, and the Lions were down five. They needed to punch it into the end zone in the opening moments of the fourth quarter. Goff faked the handoff and settled in the pocket, being given all day to throw. Chark got jammed at the line, but was able to gain inside positioning. With his big-bodied target in a favorable position, Goff trusted his arm and fired a laser into a tight window.
That’s a big-time play for Chark as he continues to reintegrate himself into the offense. This is what Detroit needs more of, a bigger receiver who can make contested catches. We haven’t seen the deep-threat aspect of Chark’s game much this season, so he needs to be able to make plays like that.
This was a measuring stick game for the Lions. To be able to go toe-to-toe with one of the league’s truly elite teams is something they can take pride in. However, you aren’t going to win a game against a team like the Bills with so many self-inflicted wounds. A fumble, a missed field goa and a safety made the difference in the game.
It’s a difficult loss to swallow, but it further reinforces how close this Lions team is. Now with a mini bye-week coming, Detroit has extra time to get some injured players back. Week 13 could see the season debuts of both Romeo Okwara and Jameson Williams. Meanwhile, players like Josh Paschal, Jeff Okudah and Jonah Jackson will also hopefully be able to get back on the field.
The Lions are likely not going to make a serious playoff push, but they will be an entertaining team to watch down the stretch.