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Lions Lose to 0-8 Bills

Once again the Lions played down to just a notch below the level of their competition. The Detroit Lions who have the talent to almost beat the Packers, Giants and Jets, have now lost to the only winless team in the NFL. Simply put, the coaches just are not getting it done!

When you play a team that is 0-8, and lose to them 14 to 12, there are some serious issues. When you have the talent of Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, and Jahvid Best, and cannot score more than a single touchdown against one of the worst defenses in the NFL? There are some very serious issues. When your team hits double digit penalties in over half of the games they play, there are extremely serious issues. These issues are the incompetent coaches!

Last week Jim Schwartz showed his lack of judgment when he attempted a pass with a third string QB who hasn't thrown a pass all game, when the game was on the line. Now the Lions go to Buffalo and they come out flat. They have six penalties inside the first 6 minutes of the game. They fall short in every aspect of the game against the worst team in the NFL. Schwartz simply did not have them ready!

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator was at his worst today. On first downs, he ran the ball 10 of the first 12 times. Late in the2nd quarter, he changed up and passed 4 straight times on first downs. In the game, including playing catchup (to an 0-8 team), Linehan called 18 pass plays on first down. Nine of those were in the 4th quarter. Until the 4th quarter, when the Lions were in crunch time, there was not one pass for more than 10 yards down field.

Linehan looked at the stat board on the Bills, saw they were 32nd against the run on defense, and decided to force the run down their throats. He ran the ball over and over on 1st and 2nd downs and did not do much with it. Whenever the ball was handed off, whether it was to Best or Smith, the Bills defense was all over them, closing down any lanes to run. The only time Best seemed to get any decent yardage was when he was able to outrun the defense to the outside.

The Lions have the worst run offense in the NFL and the reason for that is their lack of willing to throw the ball more than 7 yards down field. The play calling continuously draws the defense in tight, taking any room for the running backs away. The announcer mentioned for the second week in a row how defensive coordinators have told them they key on stopping Best and Calvin Johnson. This is also obvious by the double teams that Johnson receives and the fact that Best is often getting tackled before he gets to the line of scrimmage. Linebackers are set to stop Best and when they see him take the hand-off, they are there to meet him. The only way to stop this is to start throwing the ball down field, forcing the linebackers to back off and help with the pass. But rather than do this, Linehan continued to just try to force the issue and feed the ball to the running backs and never throw the ball more than seven yards down field.

Cunningham is becoming as ridiculous as Linehan in his planning. I heard on the radio this morning, from Gunther's own lips, that he will get to the quarterback and the Bills coach knows it. He will get to him with his line and if they cannot do it, he will blitz forty times if necessary, but he will pressure the quarterback. The Lions got one sack and they rarely blitzed.

The simple fact is, the Lions secondary is not bad, but they are in no way capable of covering for four to five seconds every play. The Lions defense is depending on getting pressure on the quarterback and forcing him to throw the ball early. Yet Cunningham seems reluctant to blitz when his line cannot get that pressure. He talks a big game about blitzing a lot, but come game time, he too often becomes conservative.

This week is telling for Jim Schwartz. There are no excuses of the players not getting the job done, or being undisciplined. There is not the excuse of just being beaten by the better team or bad calls by the refs. If one or two players keep getting penalties, it can be laid on the players. When the entire team commits penalties, it is the coaches. When a whole team falls apart, it is the coaches. When the ball is never thrown more than 7 yards until the last few minutes of a half, it is the coach. When there is no blitzing if the defensive line cannot pressure the quarterback, it is the coach.

I will say that Linehan needs to go. He has had nine games to show he can do it and he simply refuses to let his game plan out of a shell until they are behind and playing catchup. But whatever Schwartz decides, someone has to go this week. Either the inept offensive coordinator, or some of the players. Examples must be made of to get their attentions. He simply cannot continue to allow this kind of awful play by his players, or his coordinators without some kind of disciplinary measures taken.

If Schwartz is man enough to stomp this down and do what needs to be done, then he may yet become a good coach. If he simply continues to allow this to happen and keeps the same people in place, then he is not the coach you want.

Jim Schwartz, it is time to man up and do the hard part of the job.

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