The Hard Knocks honeymoon is officially over.
Any semblance of hope and positivity surrounding the Detroit Lions crashed and exploded into a million little fragments on Sunday after an embarrassing Week 5 loss to New England.
Coming off the Seahawks game, where the defense gave up 48 points and forced zero punts, we thought for sure this team would be ready to go vs. the Patriots.
They weren’t. Even the reliable, NFL-leading offense was shut down. There was nothing worth noting that went well for Detroit. It was like they stayed on the plane. They were barely visible.
And that has to be on Lions head coach Dan Campbell, who has yet to win a road game during his tenure. He said as much after the game, “this one is 100% on me,” he told reporters. He’s right. But it’s more complicated.
This was the year we were going to see some progress from the Brad Holmes/Dan Campbell era. They had seemingly stumbled into a solid starting quarterback, they got lucky and had Aidan Hutchinson fall to No. 2 on draft night, they found a starting linebacker in the sixth round named Rodrigo, and Amon-Ra St. Brown was shaping up to be the team’s next franchise player.
All of those things are still true, and are in play, but the performance on the field shows something is clearly missing. The offense, as well as they have played in the early portion of the season, is not ready for primetime. The defense lacks any sort of depth, after being hit by injury after injury.
And to add insult to (literally) injury, Dan Campbell can’t seem to make the right risk-reward assessment on forth down decisions. He also appears to have trouble with clock management, as we’ve seen in multiple games since he took over the team.
Now, the Lions enter a bye week with a 1-4 record, with the hopes of serious progress nearly lost again, Lions fans will likely have to contend with more meaningless games and wasted Sunday afternoon for months to come.
After two ugly losses, with serious ineptitude showing all both sides of the ball, it’s hard to see how this thing works out from where I’m sitting.
Where do the Lions go from here? If history tells us anything, we probably all know the answer.