It was an alarming start to Matt Patricia's tenure in Detroit.
Playing in front of a national TV audience on Monday Night Football should have been an ideal scenario for Patricia and the Lions organization.
What occurred, however, was quite eye-opening.
The Lions were embarrassed in front of their home fans, 48-17, by the New York Jets and Sam Darnold, in what was his first NFL game.
Following the loss, Patricia said, "There’s not a lot to be happy about here, as far as that’s concerned. I think, in general, all of it just has to be better. Just start from the top and work our way down. I don’t think there’s anything you can say other than it’s all just execution and coaching. And all that stuff has to be better from that standpoint."
Fast forward to yesterday's game against the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings.
The Lions were desperately in need of a victory to remain relevant in the division.
The Green Bay Packers and Vikings started the season playing well, and have established themselves as the class of the division.
The strength of the Vikings has been running the football.
The ideal game plan for Sunday, subsequently, would have been to limit Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook while forcing Vikings passer Kirk Cousins to become a check-down and predictable thrower.
Instead, the Vikings racked up 166 rushing yards, 337 passing yards and 503 total yards of offense that included 32 first downs.
Following Sunday's 42-30 loss to the Vikings, Patricia expressed, "I think all three phases had things on the field they’d like to do better. Obviously, defensively, we have to do a better job. We have to coach better and play better."
Patricia also touched upon the success the Vikings had running the ball.
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"Obviously, they (the Vikings) just did a great job of running the ball," Patricia said. "They knocked us off the line of scrimmage. We have to get it coached better and play better. (We) definitely have to tackle. There are some situations (where) we didn’t finish the plays off. He’s (Cook) a great running back. He’s a strong runner, we know that. We know he can do a lot of things on the field. We know how dangerous they are in the run game. When you don’t get that settled down, then the play-action game and the balls downfield -- those are really hard to defend. We have to do a better job of it, all the way across the board -- starting with me and then, we’ll go from there. Until we get that fixed, we’re going to keep seeing it.”
What if the Lions' issues under Patricia persist?
If so, don't worry, Lions fans. There is a viable option to replace the second-year head man, and he's already on the Detroit coaching staff: Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Bevell has implemented an offense that clearly caters to the strengths of Lions franchise passer Matthew Stafford.
So, if Patricia is let go at the end of the season, plan A would be to install Bevell as his replacement and former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator and present Atlanta Falcons head man Dan Quinn as the D-coordinator.
The Lions could also replace Patricia with Quinn, a coach whom Bevell has familiarity with dating back to their days together with the Seahawks.
Quinn and Bevell both coached in Seattle from 2012-13 -- Quinn as the DC and Bevell as the OC.
Bevell stayed with the Seahawks until 2017, helping the organization win a Super Bowl and reach another.
Quinn, who's currently on the hot seat in Atlanta due to his squad's dismal 1-6 start to the 2019 campaign, led the Falcons to Super Bowl LI, in which they faced off with the New England Patriots.
The Falcons, which were up by as many as 25 points, 28–3, during the third quarter, went on to suffer the largest collapse in Super Bowl history, losing to Tom Brady and the Patriots, 34–28, in overtime.
So, maybe the answer for the Lions is not the "Patriot Way," but instead, is the "Seahawk Way."