In the greatest disappearing act of the Detroit Lions‘ season was completed on Sunday when the passing attack was nowhere to be found in the second half.
Coming into the 2018 season, the Detroit Lions had three wide receivers that were being talked up as potentially gaining 1,000 yards each. It would have been a great accomplishment for wide receivers Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. Fast forward to Week 17, only one receiver is still active.
Tate was traded and Jones is out injured. Golladay is still cranking away and is very talented. But he’s receiving all the attention and isn’t capable of doing it all on his own. With the disappearance of the shifty Tate, quarterback Matthew Stafford is forced to hold onto the ball in the pocket while waiting for someone to get open. It’s just not working and this offense is stalling.
Against the Minnesota Vikings, the Lions came out with a decent game plan. They moved the ball and stopped the Vikings offense for almost two full quarters. Then the Vikings started making adjustments.
Golladay started hot, but was then completely shut down. From here’s what DetroitLions.com’s Tim Twentyman had to say about the second-year wideout in his Week 16 Observations:
“Wide receiver Kenny Golladay made some tough, contested catches in the first half against a good Vikings secondary and recorded five catches for 57 yards on 10 targets at halftime. He caught just one pass in the second half for a single yard on five targets.”
Golladay was shut down in the second half. Stafford had roughly 100 yards passing in the first half and finished with 116 yards total. The Vikings made adjustments and the Lions didn’t counter.
There were a few third downs early in the game where playcalling left you scratching your head. Why was there a delayed hand off to running back Theo Riddick on third down with 13 yards to go?
There’s a very low probability of succeeding in that situation. There’s also not a lot of confidence in the passing game when that call is made. With Golladay the only player stepping up and making plays, it’s somewhat understandable. But, it’s still a sign of giving up on the offense actually converting.
Where does that leave the Lions heading into the offseason? Hoping Jones gets healthy to have a nice 1-2 combination at the receiver position, still looking for a capable tight end in the passing game, and hoping their high draft pick will come in and make an immediate impact.
Don’t expect the Detroit Lions to make much noise in their final game versus the Green Bay Packers. A win might show that players are buying into the new culture. It might also be a great way to improve morale at the end of the season. A loss doesn’t really mean anything; just another lump taken in a lost season.
The offseason will bring a lot of change and turnover on the roster should be expected. It’s possible we’ll see some of those changes as soon as next week. But for now, we can only wait for moves to be made to improve this roster and bring Detroit a winning football team.