Nov. 05, 2019
Lions Look: Farewell To Oakland
If this is truly farewell, then good riddance.
The Detroit Lions would play the Oakland Raiders for the final time at Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, where the Lions fell 31-24 to the Raiders. This loss would snap Detroit's four game win streak over the Silver and Black, making their overall record in Oakland at 2-4. The next time the Lions visit the Raiders, which is projected to be in 2027, it will be in their new host city of Las Vegas.
The Raiders, despite being 3-4 entering this game, have been a pleasant surprise in the first half of this season. Yes, they are struggling to defend the pass, but the Pride & Poise Boys have done a good job running the ball and stopping the run, ranking in the top ten of the league in yards and yards allowed. In facing the Lions 26th ranked run defense, one could easily deduct the result; Oakland racked up 171 yards on the ground, with rookie running back Josh Jacobs tallying 120 yards on 28 carries, scoring two touchdowns. Getting the result in this interconference game will put the Raiders to 4-4, second place in the AFC West and staying a game and a half behind the division leading Kansas City Chiefs at 6-3. It's hard to fathom the Raiders overtaking the Chiefs in the standings to win their first division title since 2002, but they could very well contend for a wild card berth given the mediocre state of the AFC this season.
As for the Lions, your humble scribe is singing the proverbial second verse to the same song. The defense continues to be the albatross around the neck of the roster. Quarterback Matt Stafford put up great numbers (26 of 41 for 406 yards & 3 TD's, but an INT & a lost fumble) to keep Detroit in this game, but the lack of a run offense (90 yards on 20 carries as a team) and yet another dismal defensive performance (allowing 450 total yards, surrendering 31 points, all the while forcing two punts, garnering one Trey Flowers sack, and generating zero turnovers) proved to be too much to overcome. Making this loss sting even more is the knowledge that an opportunity to close distance in the NFC North standings was squandered, as Green Bay and Minnesota were defeated in their games against the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City, respectively. It is now undeniable that head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn will face mounting scrutiny as the Lions flounder in what was supposed to be a year where an improvement upon 2018’s 6-10 campaign was expected. Patricia may have defensive units as a coordinator with the New England Patriots that would bend but not break, but with minimal pressure on opposing passers and a dearth of sacks, an inability to get off the field on third down while not consistently getting takeaways, and surrendering 27 points a game simply is unacceptable. While Quinn has worked diligently to add talent to the Lions roster, his decision to hire Patricia to replace Jim Caldwell, a coach who posted 3 winning seasons in four years, could be the singular move that could spell his doom if this franchise's fortunes don't turn around in a relatively short period of time.
The Lions currently sit at 3-4-1 in the NFC North looking up at the Vikings (6-3) and the Packers (7-2). Next up is a crucial divisional matchup against the Chicago Bears in the Windy City. The Bears suffer from the inverse of issues that the Lions are enduring (the defense is very good, but the offense is struggling). It will be an interesting contest as which strong unit will prevail and which weaker unit will be less of a liability. If Detroit wishes to stay within sniffing range of the postseason, next week is must win game. We'll see who is ready to answer the bell.