Sometimes you need a gut punch to remind you that you’re not invincible. For the Detroit Lions on Sunday, it was more of a complete beatdown to remind them they are still early in their journey as a contender. It takes a lot to be an elite team, it takes even more to consistently be an elite team. Detroit is still figuring those things out, and Sunday serves to bring the hype back down a bit for this young Lions team.
It’s obviously not the end of the world, the sky isn’t falling by any means. Detroit is still 5-2, with a lot of positive things to say so far this season. But it’s also not as easy as saying “burn the tape” from Sunday’s loss and simply moving on.
There is a weird balance between deciding what matters from this game. In the long run you hope not much, because you want the mistakes and glaring issues to be addressed immediately.
Much like the sentiment as Sunday's game went on, let's get this over with. Here is the Lions report card for Week 7.
Detroit Lions Week 7 report card: Humbled by the Ravens
Offense: 1/5 Stars
An offense that has been hailed as one of the best in the league had an uncharacteristically poor game against an elite Ravens defense. There isn’t a lot to say other than that. The offense couldn’t get much going at all, especially early on.
In the second half, the Lions managed to start gaining yards but it was too little too late. Almost all of the offense the Lions generated was in garbage time (granted garbage time started in the second quarter), which means even less. It was all around a bad game from the offense.
Offensive player of the game: Jahmyr Gibbs
If there was anything good on offense, it was nice to see Gibbs return to the field and to get a heavy workload. He ended the game with 20 total touches. Granted, a lot of that came from check-downs in the passing game, but even then he would turn negative situations into passable ones. There were several instances of Goff dumping it off behind the line of scrimmage and Gibbs making someone miss to avoid being tackled for a loss.
Additionally, Gibbs found the end zone for the first time in his young career on a nice toss play that allowed him to sprint to the end zone untouched.
Defense: 0/5 stars
Yeah, that was bad. It’s actually difficult to articulate just how bad that game was on the defensive side of the ball. There had been some minor flags here and there throughout the past couple of weeks. But there were no signs that this type of game would be the on-field product against the Ravens.
A lot of it comes down to one thing. The Lions finally faced a quarterback who could punish their mistakes with efficiency. Lamar Jackson was outstanding in all facets. The Lions failed to generate pressure and didn’t play particularly good coverage either. Jackson took the poor play by the Lions and gashed them through the air with chunk play after chunk play.
There are a lot of things that could be said but there’s no point. It’s pretty evident that everything went wrong and a lot of adjustments are needed.
Defensive player of the game: N/A
There’s no point in highlighting anyone since it was a collectively bad defensive effort.
Already talked about the game that Gibbs had. It’ll be exciting to see him take the lead-back role again next week against the Raiders.
As for the others, Jack Campbell was obviously a part of the disaster on defense. The Ravens got him a few times with misdirection, which resulted in some big plays. For the most part, Campbell was used either as a blitzer or as a spy. He wasn’t particularly effective in either role. Not a great matchup for a rookie linebacker to go against an offense with as many moving parts as Baltimore, but he didn’t overcome many challenges on Sunday.
Sam LaPorta was once again impressive. He did a really good job at holding onto the ball through contact. No significant notes aside from that, he was his usual consistent self.
Brian Branch wasn’t particularly noteworthy in his return. He did give up a touchdown early but in his defense, asking anyone to cover for 9.2 seconds (!!!!) is pretty unrealistic. Aside from that, he wasn’t noticeable which is typically good for a DB.
Needs improvement: Not having everything meltdown at the same time
Not entirely sure how to word that properly, but here’s the gist of it. Last season, Detroit had two games that were utterly miserable. The New England game, and the Carolina game. Those were two weeks in which the defense failed to show up, the offense couldn’t generate anything, and it resulted in ugly losses.
Against the Ravens, the Lions repeated a script against an opponent that had more talent to expose them with. This type of script cannot be allowed to happen again this season. Detroit can easily survive this game early in the season. The Lions still are a very impressive 5-2. That being said, what happens if this type of game happens if the number one seed in the NFC is on the line? Or worse, what if it happens in a playoff game? Detroit has a weird habit where everything falls apart at once, that needs to be put behind them immediately.