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Why 0-17 Is Not Completely Unrealistic for Lions

Read more on why an 0-17 season isn't completely out of the picture for the Detroit Lions.

Through six weeks, one thing has become crystal clear about the 2021 version of the Detroit Lions: They're a highly undisciplined bunch. 

And, this hideous quality of the Lions was on full display in their 34-11 loss Sunday to the Cincinnati Bengals. 

All you had to do was watch Detroit's game-opening drive against Cincinnati to realize that such is the case. 

The Lions received the opening kickoff, and started off on their own 23-yard line. 

It looked like the drive could materialize into a positive one for Dan Campbell's squad, after Detroit quarterback Jared Goff completed a pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson that went for 11 yards on second-and-7. 

However, like many offensive possessions for the Lions in 2021, it was too good to be true, and the drive was ultimately derailed by penalties -- two, to be exact.  

The aforementioned gain and play were nullified by an illegal formation penalty that brought the ball back five yards. 

Then, on the subsequent play, another penalty was called. This time, it was of the false start variety, and it went against Detroit rookie offensive lineman Penei Sewell. It moved the ball back another five yards, and all but killed the possession for Goff & Co. 

The Lions proceeded to go three-and-out on their opening series, gaining a net total of negative six yards. 

It was just the start of the team's penalty woes for the day, too. 

In the first quarter alone, Detroit committed three penalties. 

Then, the second quarter came around, and an additional three flags were thrown against the Lions, including another one against Sewell (holding). 

Sewell wasn't disciplined enough -- as part of a third straight subpar game out of the Oregon product -- and the same can be said about the rest of Detroit's offensive line Sunday.

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In fact, the O-line was responsible for four total penalties in the Lions' Week 6 loss to the Bengals -- the other two having been committed by reserve linemen Matt Nelson and Evan Brown. 

Nelson and Brown each have been logging significant snaps in recent weeks, due to the injuries to Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow, respectively. 

They surely aren't nearly as talented as the guys they've replaced along the line. However, it doesn't give them an excuse for being undisciplined. 

Hockenson was also the culprit of two penalties (holding and false start). 

The organization needs to make it a priority to nip the aforementioned behavior in the butt as soon as possible, and the onus falls on Campbell for making that happen. 

Campbell, to his credit, took blame for his team's woeful performance after the game. 

“State the obvious here: We got whipped. That was brutal," the first-year Detroit head man told reporters to open up his press conference. 

He later added, "The focus wasn’t there. I’m gonna look at everything, but when you get whipped like that, that’s on me. … It’s a reflection on me." 

Give Campbell credit for one thing: He's proven to be a genuine leader throughout the early portion of his tenure in the Motor City, and it's been a great change of pace from the scripted, inauthentic nature of former Lions head man Matt Patricia's press conferences. 

And, Campbell's style of leading, which is full of raw emotion, certainly has resonated with the Detroit fanbase up to this point. 

However, his bravado and knack for winning the press conference will only go so far, if he doesn't start helping the Lions win games. Remember, that -- and not delivering fiery, inspirational messages during his postgame media sessions -- is what he's ultimately paid to do, even with the present roster not being especially talented. 

And one way in which he can aid the team in winning games moving forward is by getting his players to play more disciplined and cut down on the penalties. 

If such doesn't occur, Campbell & Co. might just be staring at an 0-17 campaign.