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Bob Wojnowski: In 48-45 loss, Lions' defense flops to new low, with no fix in sight

Bob Wojnowski, The Detroit News on

Published in Football

DETRIOT — No, you have not seen this before. You might think you have, but you haven’t.

You haven’t seen a Lions defense this bad, this ridiculously disjointed. You’ve never seen the Lions lose like they did to the Seahawks 48-45, as they allowed 555 yards of total offense and didn’t force a single punt. For all we know, Seattle doesn’t even have a punter, which makes sense because the Lions don’t have a kicker.

I know you haven’t seen anything like this because according to the record books, an NFL game had never ended 48-45 until Sunday at Ford Field. How do you even comprehend this: The Lions lead the NFL in scoring by a considerable margin, and Jared Goff keeps producing despite an injury-riddled lineup, and their record is 1-3.

Dan Campbell doesn’t have a defense and doesn’t have an answer. He could fire coordinator Aaron Glenn or shake up his staff and nobody would argue. Nothing might change either, and it would make Campbell look like he was ducking responsibility. He says he takes full blame and doesn’t sound inclined to make a move, reiterating his faith in Glenn while vowing to explore all options.

“I have to look at everything with (Aaron Glenn),” Campbell said. “We’ll look at everything we need to, from the scheme to our personnel. … I’ve got a lot of faith in AG. I’ve got a ton of faith in those assistants, and I think we sit down and look at everything together. I think more than anything, maybe it’s time for a deep dive, a real deep dive into it.”

The problem is, the Lions’ defensive issues are deeper and uglier than ever imagined. They’re last in the league in points allowed, also by a considerable margin. Do they lack talent? Oh yes, and young players they were counting on are injured, unproven, or underperforming.

 

Is the scheme a poor fit for the personnel? Sure looks that way, and at least that can be adjusted. Glenn preaches aggressiveness and loves blitzing, but doesn’t have the line or the linebackers to get to the quarterback, and doesn’t have the secondary that can compensate.

The Lions lost their top safety, Tracy Walker, for the season with an Achilles injury but they’ve been much healthier on defense than offense. Rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez has played well but other newcomers – including No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson − have struggled to be impactful. Hutchinson had three sacks in his second game and none since, although he did record five tackles Sunday. Fellow defensive end Charles Harris’ production also has dropped.

“Obviously, if we start pointing fingers and stuff, everything goes downhill, so we’re not doing that,” Hutchinson said. “We know defensively we have to be better. Props to the offense, you know when you put up 45, we have to win that game.”

Can't make a stop

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