Lions fighting the odds after 0-2 start
The odds of the Lions making it to the postseason have dropped considerably in Matt Patricia’s first season as head coach.
Since 2007, 91 teams have started 0-2 and only 10, or 10.9 percent, have made it to the playoffs. However, there is some recent history to encourage the Lions. In fact, one team made it to the postseason after an 0-2 start each of the past five seasons.
The New Orleans Saints made it to the playoffs last season after starting 0-2, the Miami Dolphins did it in 2016, the Seattle Seahawks pulled it off in 2015, and the Indianapolis Colts (2015) and Carolina Panthers (2013) also did it.
Can the Lions pull it off this season?
“For us, it’s week-by-week, that’s the way we have to look at it,” Patricia said Monday. “I can’t predict the future, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen two months from now. But, what we have to do right now is fix the mistakes that we made yesterday and get ready to play another game this week.”
Last year’s 9-7 record brought optimism for the 2018 season, and it also led to the firing of head coach Jim Caldwell.
“I would say that the fans are obviously the ones that we’re trying to go out and work the hardest for,” Patricia said.
“And I certainly understand their frustration and we’re doing everything we can possible do to make sure we get this turned around. I expect to win every single week and go out and we work extremely hard to make sure we get that done, and we have to keep pushing forward.”
Patricia was a defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots last season, but the Lions’ defense has been allowing big plays on the ground.
San Francisco running back Matt Breida scored on a 66-yard run on Sunday, and New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell had a 62-yard touchdown run against Detroit in the opener.
The Lions are the only team in the NFL to have given up two runs of 40 yards or more in the first two games.
“Well, usually when plays like that happen it’s a combination of all of it,” Patricia said. “They are obviously doing a good job executing the scheme that they want to try to run and we’re obviously not doing a good job with our fits and our fundamentals and our techniques.
“Again, in long-run situations it’s total team defense. It goes from the line to linebackers to the secondary. And we have to finish the play better, we have to do a good job of stopping that. We can’t let that happen and we have to go out and execute that better next time.”
–CB Darius Slay left Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion, but Patricia said it was not a case of the offensive player lowering his helmet. “No,” Patricia said. “I think there was a situation where I think after the tackle, again I’m not 100 percent sure, but it looked like maybe there was a leg that might have gone to the side of his head.”
–DE Ziggy Ansah was sidelined in San Francisco with a shoulder injury and it is unclear whether he will play in this week’s game against the New England Patriots.
–QB Matthew Stafford had a much better game against the 49ers than he did against the Jets. He completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 347 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 101.7 on Sunday after completing 58.7 percent of his passes for 286 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions and a 47.9 passer rating in the opener.
–RB Kerryon Johnson was the Lions’ leading rusher on Sunday with 43 yards on eight carried. He had just 17 yards on three attempts against the Jets.
–WR Golden Tate reached triple digits in pass receiving yards with 109 on Sunday on seven receptions. He had seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown in the opener against the Jets.