Five things we learned from the Lions 24-20 loss to the Packers on Sunday:
1. Matthew Stafford showed his leadership when he took to the podium after the game and took all the blame for not getting the ball to the receivers. It was a class act. Stafford did not have a good game, but it was not all on him. It was clear in several cases when he threw the ball and no one was close to where they should have been. Certainly that was a case of bad route running or miscommunication. Which brings us to No. 2 ...
2. Titus Young is no Nate Burleson. Young stepped up to the No. 2 wide receiver position after Burleson was lost for the season with a broken leg. Young was targeted six times on Sunday and made one catch. He has to work harder at getting separation from defensive backs. I did see him working after practice two days last week with the Jugs machine working on catching low balls. He’s got plenty more work to do. He was expected to have a breakout season, but like the rest of the offense his play has been way too inconsistent. Burleson is missed big-time.
3. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said last week that he’s told the defense they have to play the same no matter the score — there can be no letdowns. Well, guess what? They let down in the fourth quarter and were rewarded with a loss. It’s not all on them, the offense needed a touchdown late and couldn’t make it happen either. But had the defense held the Packers instead of allowing a 22-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb, we would be marveling at the Lions ability to beat a quality division opponent.
4. Ndamukong Suh is who we thought he might be. The last two weeks it was tough to see his impact on the game, even though the coaches assured us it was there. On Sunday there was no doubt. He was a force and the five tackles just begin to tell the story. Also Nick Fairley, who seems to play better when he starts, was the defensive player of the game with two sacks, seven tackles and a forced fumble. Sunday’s game was the reason the Lions drafted Fairley in the first round, now he has to play like that consistently.
5. After 10 games (4-6) the Lions get one grade from me — a D for disappointment. Last season was not a total fluke and most of the starters have returned. Injuries are not an excuse, every NFL team must deal with them. Lack of execution has played a huge role as well as being slow to make adjustments. It’s not just the players, this is on the coaches too. Playoffs are a distant dream so it will be interesting to see how they finish out the season.