Lions Embarrass City of Detroit Again on National TV

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Beaten mercilessly. 

That's what happened to a hapless Detroit Lions team Saturday, which was without its interim head man Darrell Bevell and the majority of its defensive coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, because of exposure to a team employee who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady came into Detroit for his 300th career regular season game, and delivered the Lions a big lump of coal. 

He was in a giving mood, as he threw four first-half touchdowns to four different Tampa Bay receivers. 

He gifted the Buccaneers with a 34-0 halftime advantage -- the most first-half points in Tampa Bay franchise history. 

He "behaved" so well that he got the second half off from Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. 

Just because Brady was now out of the contest, it doesn't mean the bleeding stopped for Detroit, either. 

The Lions proceeded to allow journeyman quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who had thrown just one pass in an NFL game since 2019 prior to Saturday, to throw a touchdown pass down the middle of the field to tight end Rob Gronkowski on his first pass attempt of the day and Tampa Bay's very first offensive play of the second half. 

Gabbert threw for another touchdown before the end of the game, and recorded 143 yards and a 131.4 passer rating on 9-of-15 passing. 

It was his first multi-passing TD game since throwing for two scores against the Jacksonville Jaguars back in Week 12 of the 2017 campaign as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

Brady's and Gabbert's standout days were part of a game in which the Arians-led offensive attack amassed 588 total yards of offense.

Sadly, for Detroit's sake, that is not a mistype, either. 

The Lions' defense, with head coach assistant Evan Rothstein calling the shots in the place of Undlin, actually allowed the Bucs to accumulate that many yards.

It was an embarrassing performance in front of a national television crowd (it was the only game on in the 1 p.m. time window Saturday). 

As bad as it was, though, veteran defensive end Everson Griffen told reporters after the game you can't let the "frustrations" get to you. 

"You know, you really can't let the frustrations set in that much," Griffen said. "This is a game of what have you done for me lately. And, you've got to move on and get ready for the next game. But, hats off to Tampa Bay and what they did. And you know, we just got beat today."

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for Detroit, consider the following fact: The Lions entered their Week 16 tilt with Brady & Co. needing to allow less than 850 yards in order to not set the franchise record for total yards allowed in a single season. 

After the team's disastrous outing Saturday, Undlin's defense is now just 262 yards away from breaking the infamous mark -- a mark which was set during the organization's 0-16 campaign in 2008. 

It's a record of futility that Undlin & Co. certainly don't want to be associated with. 

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However, it seems unavoidable at this point, going into Detroit's final game of the season a week from now against the Minnesota Vikings. 

This defense is clearly one of the worst in franchise history -- and in so many different ways. 

Just to name a few, the pass-rushing unit is largely ineffective, the linebackers can't tackle (i.e. Jahlani Tavai) and the secondary gets beaten in coverage far too often.

So, if the defense does allow 262 or more yards against Kirk Cousins & Co. in its final contest of the 2020 campaign, the argument can then easily be made that this defensive unit was the worst one assembled in the history of the organization. 

I don't think it takes a rocket scientist -- sorry, Matt Patricia -- to realize that's anything but progress from a unit that has struggled since Week 1 of the season. 

Instead, the defense and the team, once led by Patricia on the sidelines, have hit rock bottom. 

Embarrassingly, they did so in front of a national TV audience, too. 

And, who helped get them there? 

None other than Brady, the former University of Michigan passer. 

Merry Christmas, Tom. 

And to the rest of you, sorry for the truly ugly performance you just had to witness.

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