Sunday, December 8, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Detroit Lions
By Michael Rothstein
PHILADELPHIA -- A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions’ 34-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
What it means: What a complete collapse by the Lions. They held Philadelphia to essentially nothing in the first half: no points and fewer than 100 yards in a mess of a snowstorm. But then the snow subsided, and so did the Lions' control of the game. Philadelphia scored 34 points in the second half and ended up with 299 yards rushing for the game -- literally running right past Detroit in the second half. The Lions, who had one of the top run defenses in the league entering the game, allowed 6.5 yards per carry after giving up fewer than 2 yards a carry in each of their past four games. They hadn’t allowed a rushing touchdown since September and only five the entire season. They gave up four Sunday.
It was yet another second-half mess, the third time in four games Detroit has surrendered a lead in the fourth quarter. Now it has three games to try to hold on to the NFC North lead and a playoff berth.
Stock watch: Rising: Jeremy Ross. The returner had a career day with 172 kick-return yards and 71 punt-return yards, two touchdowns and more total yards -- 243 -- than the Lions' offense did. Falling: Detroit’s run defense. The Lions had been stout up the middle and contained running back after running back. Not Sunday. LeSean McCoy had a career-high 217 yards and rushed for two touchdowns, completely embarrassing the Lions. Meanwhile, fumbles. The Lions had seven of them and lost three -- two from Joique Bell, who scored Detroit’s only offensive touchdown, and one from Matthew Stafford.
Ross has a career day: Two weeks ago, Ross started to claim the punt- and kick-returner gig as his own. He might not let go of it for a while now. Ross returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown and a kick 98 yards for a touchdown -- the first time a kick and punt return for a touchdown happened in the same game for the Lions since Dec. 17, 1977, when Eddie Payton, the brother of Walter Payton, accomplished the feat.
What’s next: The Lions have two straight home games -- two critical home games -- first on Dec. 16 against the Baltimore Ravens, then against the New York Giants the next week.