Lions in predictable big hole after week 2


MINNEAPOLIS – Coming into the season, many knew the Detroit Lions had their hands full with the 2015 schedule.

In fact, many predicted they could start 1-3 or 0-4. That's how tough the schedule appeared on paper.

The Lions have not disappointed.

After their 26-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium Sunday the Lions are 0-2 to start the season.

Don't let the score fool you because it wasn't that close.

This is a worst-case scenario considering their next two opponents are Denver at home and Seattle on the road.

"It just means you're down 0-2," said Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw for 286 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. "You just have to find a way to get a "W" at home."

When asked if he was concerned about being 0-2, coach Jim Caldwell said, "They are all tough. There are no easy games in this league. ...We did not play well, but our focus has to be on the next one."

The Lions had so many high expectations this season, including the franchise's first back-to-back double-digit win seasons.

Right now, that looks like a pipe dream.

Worse than their actual record is their play thus far. The Lions have looked nothing like the team that won 11 games last season with the No. 2-ranked defense.

In fact, the defense is downright bad. After allowing 30 straight points at one point last week in San Diego, the Vikings had their way against the Lions, too.

Actually, if not for a few mistakes by the Vikings, this game would have been a blowout.

"The loss was the toughest," Lions RB Joique Bell said. "We're not worried about expectations, we're worried about playing Lions football. We know what we're capable of doing. We just have to go out there and do it."

But that won't happen unless the offense can get it together. Again, despite all their weapons, the Lions struggled to score.

Calvin Johnson had more targets this week and wound up with 10 catches, 83 yards and a TD. Still, there were a lot of mistakes. Two fumbles and a Stafford interception stalled the Lions offense.

"We're just hurting ourselves right now," Johnson said. "We eliminate some of those mistakes if we want to be where we want to be. We just can't beat ourselves."

The defense is no better. The Lions were ranked No. 1 against the run in 2014.

But with Ndamukong Suh and others gone from the defensive line, it has hardly looked like a playoff-caliber defense.

The Vikings scored on the opening drive today and moved the ball with relative ease.

Adrian Peterson, who looked slow and was ineffective against the San Francisco 49ers last week, had a field day against the Lions.

Peterson rushed for 134 yards on 29 carries. His only trouble was hanging onto the ball. He fumbled twice.

"He looks like AP," Lions' cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "I do not know the AP of old, but he is AP. He sat out a year, but he is AP."

The Lions could only dream about a game-changing running back. The Lions had a woeful 38 yards on the ground on 16 attempts among five rushers. That's not going to win you many games in the NFL.

"Offensively, we had too many errors -- whether it be blocking or turnovers," said Bell, who had two yards on four carries. "All across the board we have to play better."

The Lions said they haven't thrown in the towel. They still have a great opportunity to turn the season around quickly, especially if they can get a win over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at Ford Field Sunday night.

"Nobody wants to be here," Johnson said. "But we have to make the best out of this first quarter of the season and try to finish this thing up 2-2. We have two more big games and it would be a big lift for us if we could go and get these next two, but it starts this week."

The schedule, at least on paper, says it doesn't.