San Diego Chargers wide receiver Steve Johnson (11) leaps into the end zone past Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, left, and cornerback Rashean Mathis, right, for a touchdown past during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept.
Denis Poroy
September 14, 2015

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) If Detroit's season opener against San Diego had ended a bit differently, Ameer Abdullah might be the talk of the NFL.

Instead, the rookie running back can only look ahead to next weekend with the rest of his team after an ugly loss for the Lions.

''Sometimes from the fans' standpoint, all you see is the big plays,'' Abdullah said Monday. ''There's a lot of things I needed corrected.''

The Lions have quite a list of problems to address after wasting a 21-3 lead against the Chargers in a 33-28 loss Sunday. Detroit started impressively before allowing 30 unanswered points, its defense unable to hold on in its first game since the departure of Ndamukong Suh.

The Lions are coming off a playoff appearance last season, but they're in danger of falling off the pace quickly this year thanks to a tough early schedule. Detroit plays at Minnesota next weekend before hosting Denver and visiting Seattle.

''You better get your problems corrected and move on,'' coach Jim Caldwell said. ''The next opponent sees them and you can guarantee you'll see those things over and over again until you make certain that you have them ironed out.''

Abdullah ran for a 24-yard touchdown on his first carry, and he finished with 50 yards on seven attempts. He also caught four passes for 44 yards and averaged 35 yards on three kick returns.

The second-round draft pick from Nebraska was Detroit's most exciting player, in part because Calvin Johnson was limited to two catches for 39 yards.

Matthew Stafford was intercepted twice, and the Lions bogged down offensively in the second half. Meanwhile, the defense - one of the NFL's best a year ago - wilted against Phillip Rivers and the Chargers.

''Last year is a non-factor,'' defensive end Darryl Tapp said. ''Doesn't mean anything this year.''

The Lions lost Suh and Nick Fairley to free agency, and they were without linebacker DeAndre Levy (hip) in the opener. Detroit allowed 483 yards of offense Sunday, its most in a non-overtime game since a playoff loss at New Orleans in January 2012.

Rivers threw for 404 yards, and Keenan Allen caught 15 passes for 166 yards for San Diego.

''I just think they executed well,'' Caldwell said. ''They did pretty much the same thing in the first half that they did in the second. They threw about 11 screens total in the ballgame, wide receiver screens, screens to the backfield. On the outside they kind of got away from our pressure a little bit and we didn't run it down.''

There wasn't much for the Lions to happy about in the second half. Stafford was intercepted on Detroit's first two possessions of the third quarter, and the Lions didn't score until a last-ditch drive after they'd fallen behind 33-21.

''It's always complementary football. I think you have to be able to sustain drives long enough to keep your defense off the field and vice versa,'' Caldwell said. ''You have to be able to stop them, get some three-and-outs or four-and-outs or whatever it might be - four plays and be able to get yourself in position where you get the ball back to the offense. So I think it all works hand in hand.''

NOTES: Caldwell referred questions about injuries to Wednesday's injury report. Stafford took a hard hit from linebacker Melvin Ingram, but he was able to finish the game. OL Larry Warford missed the game. He had ice on his right ankle Monday but was able to play table tennis in the locker room. He said he started running a couple weeks ago and hopes to practice this week. ... The Lions released WR Greg Salas from injured reserve.

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

You May Like