It was tough loss to swallow. Especially after we jumped out to a good start. A Stafford touchdown to Boldin followed a by safety for the Lions defense had them up 9-0 to start off the game. From there, the Lions repeatedly shot themselves in the foot both literally and figuratively as injuries and penalties piled up. In the end, after a late Titans touchdown, the Detroit couldn’t muster up any magic like last week. An interception by Parish Cox halted a Lions drive with less than a minute left. After processing what happened while silently sitting on the couch for a few minutes, I decided to check Twitter for the first time all game. I saw many people placing the blame for the loss on Stafford and/or Caldwell and that didn’t not sit well with me. Sure, Stafford should have seen Cox in the flat coming off his guy and reading Stafford’s eyes the whole way. Sure, Caldwell could have prepared the team a little better. But in reality, I don’t think the blame can be placed on anyone nor should it be. There were so many deciding factors in the game and none of them were a specific person’s fault, not even Coach Caldwell’s.
First, we had injuries what seemed like every drive. Coming into the game without DeAndre Levy hurt, he played every snap the week before and is instrumental and the captain of the defense. Once the game started, Ziggy Ansah hurt his ankle a couple plays in, rookie linebacker Antwione Williams injured himself, Ameer Abdullah came out with a foot injury and finally Kyle Van Noy came up limping early in the 4th quarter leaving the Lions with just 2 active LB’s and having DE Brandon Copleland step in and play as the 3rd LB. The Titans took advantage of that and picked apart the Lions linebacker corp including a Delanie Walker touchdown to get the Titans in reach in the fourth quarter.
Secondly, it was raining yellow on the field. It was a complete referee show out there. The Lions were called for 17 penalties for 138 yards. Four of them came in succesion in the red zone, three of them taking a TD off the board. One of them was a phantom offensive pass interference call where Ebron was running and just stopped and caught the pass from Stafford along the back of the end zone while the defender flew past him and stumbled and was called for pushing off.
The penalties were a mix of everything from holding (both offensive and defensive), pass interference (both offensive and defensive), illegal use of the hands… you name it, the Lions committed it. I don’t like making excuses and I won’t say the referees lost the game for us because for the most part, they were all correct calls. Were some very weak calls? Yes. But if it is there, it has been emphasized to throw the flag. Im not sure if it was a lack of discipline today or if some players just had a really bad game from the technical side of things but you can’t pin any of the penalties on just one person, everyone played sloppy.
Lastly, the Titans went out and won this game in the second half, more particularly the fourth quarter. They took advantage of the Lions week linebackers, Mariota engineered two long scoring drives with the help of Demarco Murray, who played great, and ended up scoring the GW touchdown and a beautiful throw and catch on a fourth down. The Lions had Andre Johnson (no clue he played for the Titans, just seems to be content with touring the AFC South I guess) double covered and he still came down with the little touch-lob pass from Mariota. You have to give credit where it is due and as much as the Lions blew this game or what seemed like it, the Titans went out and won it by making plays.
Moving forward, the Lions will face the Packers next week at Lambeau. This one loss doesn’t change the season. 1-1 after Week 2 won’t kill anyone, especially with Lions fairly easy schedule. Don’t panic Lions fans, they will be just fine. The injures will heal (hopefully sooner rather than later), mistakes will be cleaned up and the Lions will fight on. Sunday will bring a new game, and its going to be a good one.