DETROIT — The Lions lost again, this time by a 23-16 score on Thanksgiving against Chicago. They’ve now lost four times in five weeks heading into a game against the high-octane Los Angeles Rams. But first, here are three things we learned about Detroit in defeat.
Jim Bob Cooter’s offense is broken. There’s no other way to put it. Matthew Stafford, one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks of his generation, attempted exactly two passes longer than 15 yards. I get that it was by design, because of all the injuries heading into a game against a really good defense, but it also speaks to just how far Detroit is from competing against teams like the Bears. Who, by the way, have a first-year coach of their own. Yet they’re doing exactly what Detroit said it could: Competing right away. Meanwhile, the Lions are sanding down their offense to absurd levels just to try to keep things from getting ugly. With the Rams coming to town next week, it’s really going to underscore just how far Detroit’s offense has fallen behind the curve under Cooter, and perhaps nobody’s seat is hotter than his heading into 2019.
Teez Tabor is on the roster bubble. There’s no other way to interpret Detroit’s decision to deactivate the former second-round pick. Tabor has allowed 15 catches on his last 16 targets and three touchdowns. And Detroit wouldn’t even let him see the field against backup Bears quarterback Chase Daniel. There’s not a ton of downside to sticking with Tabor through the rest of the season, then seeing if he develops with a third offseason in Detroit. But at this point, it also wouldn’t be a shock to see Detroit cut its losses. With Tabor still allowing a perfect QB rating after Thanksgiving, he’s running out of chances.
LeGarrette Blount still has some juice left after all. He had seven carries for just 1 yard last week. He’d gained just 21 yards on 16 carries over the last month. And then he was supposed to somehow replace rookie sensation Kerryon Johnson against the Bears’ top-ranked run defense? Yeah, there were doubts about him. But after a slow start, he delivered. Each of his first six runs after halftime went for 3 yards, one of which scored a touchdown. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry in the second half, plus caught a 15-yard pass. And he helped ignite Detroit’s last-ditch comeback attempt with a 27-yard run in the fourth quarter. He won’t make anyone forget about Kerryon Johnson anytime soon, but he did a solid job in spot duty. And that’s a big development for a team that could be without its rookie stud for another couple weeks.