NFL Wire News

London took another bite out of toothless Lions


The Sports Xchange

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions left London under a cloud of uncertainty, one that will likely hang over players, coaches and executives until the end of the season.

After a 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Wembley Stadium, the Lions fell to 1-7 and coach Jim Caldwell had to answer questions about his job after another blowout.

“I’m working every single day,” he said. “My job is to go in and to get my job done. Those things are answered by someone else and not me, but I fully anticipate being able to continue to do my job.”

Any hope that Caldwell’s decision to fire three of his assistants could galvanize the team went away quickly. After taking a 3-0 lead on the opening drive, the Lions allowed the Chiefs to score 38 straight points.

When a team plays as badly as the Lions did Sunday and as inconsistently as they have for most of the season, nobody will feel safe about their future prospects.

President Tom Lewand and General Manager Martin Mayhew declined comment after the game.

The Lions played horribly in the loss, and the problems that cost them the game — turnovers, poor blocking, penalties and ill-timed defensive lapses — are the same ones that have plagued them all season.

“It sucks,” defensive end Darryl Tapp said. “It sucks to be in this situation. It’s not what anybody envisioned coming into this season, the amount of work put in training camp (and) offseason.

“Even the amount of work we put in on a weekly basis. For us to get the results that we’ve been getting, it’s not a good feeling.”

Quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 22-of-36 passes for 217 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He took six sacks as the blocking scheme was an issue again.

The Lions can’t handle blitzes, but Stafford said he doesn’t think the constant pressure is affecting his mindset.

“Part of the quarterback position is trusting it, you know?” Stafford said of his comfort amid the blocking woes. “And that’s what you have to do. You go back there and every snap is different, and we got into a tough situation.”

The Lions also gave up seven sacks last week.

“It’s a group effort,” Tapp said of the loss. “We did it together. The coaching staff is doing the best they can do to prepare us each week. Us as players, we’ve got to go out there and make it happen on the field.

“The coaching staff isn’t taking any plays.”


PASSING OFFENSE: F — The Lions continued to prove they can’t block well enough for quarterback Matthew Stafford, and he showed that he struggles diagnosing blitzes. It was another pitiful performance, as the Lions defense allowed six sacks to the Chiefs. Stafford completed 22-of-36 passes for 217 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and finished with his worst passer rating of the season (64.2).

RUSHING OFFENSE: D — Running back Joique Bell had a 32-yard run on the second play of the game, the Lions’ longest run of the season. However, the game quickly got out of hand, so the Lions didn’t run much. But, they averaged 5.8 yards per carry for the game, so there were some good signs despite only 81 total yards on the ground.

PASS DEFENSE: F — Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith picked the Lions apart throughout the game as the secondary, outside of cornerback Darius Slay, couldn’t cover anyone. Giving up consecutive third-down conversions to tight end Travis Kelce on the opening drive was the start of a bad day.

RUSH DEFENSE: F — Many NFL fans probably didn’t know running back Charcandrick West a few weeks ago, but he had 97 yards on 20 carries against the Lions. West was one of four Chiefs with a rushing touchdown as the Lions allowed 206 yards on the ground. Among those were 78 by quarterback Alex Smith, who had a 49-yard scramble.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F — Three of the Lions’ kickoff returns by Ameer Abdullah were stopped shy of the 20. Meanwhile, the Lions allowed a punt return of 37 yards and a kickoff return of 50 yards.

COACHING: F — The Lions praised new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, but his offense didn’t look much different Sunday than Joe Lombardi’s. The biggest coaching issues came on defense, as the Lions consistently let Kansas City’s best players beat them. Plus, giving up a touchdown to De’Anthony Thomas on a jet sweep showed poor preparation.

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