Is the Lions’ 44-41 overtime loss at Tennessee the end of the world?
Of course not.
Is it the end of their playoff hopes?
Should they have beaten the Titans who started the season 0-2?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
It was an all-around 44-41 overtime loss for the Lions on Sunday in Nashville. It ended on a miscommunication that cost them the chance to at least tie the game in overtime with a field goal.
The Lions should have won, but they didn’t. It wasn’t that the Titans were a bad team, they’re full of talent. They just gotten in bad situations in their first two games, both losses.
Still, there are 13 games left in the season. Here’s all the Lions have to do to trend upward:
1. Get the offense going in the first half, don’t wait to play catch-up in the second half.
2. Get the ball to Calvin Johnson. I know he’s double- and triple-covered in the first half, but there’s got to be a way to find him before half-time. The Lions had 18 rushing plays and 18 passing plays at the half. That kind of balance is not a good thing for a team that depends on the pass.
3. Continue to give the ball to running back Mikel Leshoure who was solid in his NFL debut with 16 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 34 yards. Mike Martz, the FOX analyst and former coach, described him as a truck and a Maserati. Good line and it fits.
4. The defensive line needs to consistently apply pressure. This was first game without a sack.
5. Poor special teams play on coverage units cost a pair of touchdowns. Granted, the lateral on the punt return was a trick play, but still there should be enough speed on the field that someone could have gotten there and made a tackle.
6. The secondary is still an issue. Chris Houston made a few key plays. Not sure if communication is the problem. Of course only two of the Titans’ five touchdowns were scored on the defense. Two were on returns and one was a fumble recover returned for a score.
7. Clean up the penalties. They were an issue last season and definitely a problem on Sunday. Ten penalties cost 91 yards and the game.
8. Brandon Pettigrew has to work on holding onto the ball. He was stripped on a catch which was returned for a touchdown. He also had at least one drop which seems to be a common occurrence.
9. Appreciate Jason Hanson. Not only did he keep the Lions in the game with three first-half field goals, he took on punting duties and was able to perform everything at his usual high level.
10. Be better prepared for situations like the final play which cost the Lions at least a chance to tie the game in overtime. Shaun Hill took blame but it should be on the coaches.
(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. E-mail her at Paula.Pasche@oakpress.com.)