The next week the Lions lost no time in playing themselves out of the game. They were facing the Packers at Lambeau, so no small task there, and they had a number of injuries to overcome. I had switched the game off before the end of the half (when it was 31-3) for medicinal purposes and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had actually scored some and were only a couple of TDs away from a tie. They of course blew the endgame, since their defense couldn't stop Green Bay's running game despite the fact that everyone KNEW GB had to run it. Anyway, clock ran out, Lions lost down by 1 TD.
I considered the Bears one of the bottom 3 teams in the NFL, so week 3 should've been a gimme. It wasn't. Still pretty banged up on defense (no Levy, Ansah, and weak in general at LB), the Lions surrendered 300+ yds to Chicago's anemic passing attack and allowed a 100+ yd rusher, despite the fact that Chicago was missing it's top RB and 2 offensive lineman. The offense was... thinking of synonyms for putrid... ghastly. The only touchdown was scored by Andre Roberts on an 85-yd punt return. Stafford threw 2 picks in the red zone that likely took points off the board for the Lions. With that, the total lack of a running game (66 total rushing yards) and lack of sustained drives (6 of their 9 possessions were 5 plays or less), the offense flat-out failed to show up for this one. And the defense was little better. The family was travelling back home from my cousin's wedding on the east coast, so I mercifully missed this game entirely.
In one loss, the Lions had the lead and played their way out of the game. In the next, the Lions decided they were going to lose early on, then changed their mind but it was too late. In the third, they decided not to show up entirely. Two of those games were against opponents most expected the Lions to handle. So, facing the 3-0 Eagles, the Lions seemed to be on their way to four straight losses, a 1-4 record, virtual playoff elimination (needing to finish 9-2 to have a shot), and a dead-in-the-water head coach.
Well, the Lions came out firing. They scored TDs on their first three possessions, and the defense managed to hold the Eagles to 10 points in the first half. Unfortunately, the script flipped in the second half. Philly scored a TD on the opening possession, then Stafford fumbled the ball without being touched, giving Philly the ball on our 16 yard line. The defense managed to hold them to a FG, preserving the lead by 1 point.
At some point after this, one of the commentators, Charles Davis, suggested the Lions employ a run-out-the clock type of strategy. They had a 1-point lead and all of the 4th quarter still to go. I'd like to point out that Charles Davis was actually getting paid by Fox for his supposedly informed football opinion. After that statement, I thought Fox might have a case for taking him to court so they could get their money back.
Naturally, Philly kicked a FG on their next drive and the Lions were behind and squeezed for time. They mounted a majestic 3-yd drive, and I figured the game was probably over. Philly managed to bail us out. Darius Slay forced a fumble, Detroit recovered, and after a long review (during which I was SURE the officials were going to screw us, as they have been wont to do in moments like that), the Lions got the ball back in Eagles territory. Unfortunately, the Lions couldn't punch it in, but they managed to hit the FG after Stafford took the sack (with Jones and Boldin open in the end zone) on 3rd & goal.
Philly had no timeouts but a decent amount of time to get in FG range, but Wentz got greedy and threw his first pick of the season. Darius Slay (definitely Player of the Game) got in phenomenal position, ran the receiver's route for him, got a nice over the shoulder catch, and ran it back a bit before sliding to avoid a potential fumble. A couple of kneel downs sealed the victory.
This was not a pretty game by any means. The running game hasn't been adequate since Abdullah went down, and the passing game hasn't been lit for 2 straight weeks now. The Lions are still really banged up. They should be getting Ansah back, but now Ngata is down for 3-4 weeks. They added Justin Forsett to boost the running game, but that offense is pretty banged up. The injury list includes Abdullah, Washington, Boldin, Ebron, Riddick, and Laken Tomlinson. That's like ALL our RBs, half our receivers, and our sort of starting LG. The defense is little better, with Levy and Ngata out of course, Ansah is still limited, and Ngata's most capable replacement on the starting line, A'Shawn Robinson, was limited as well. The Rams are a very beatable team, but the Lions might be too banged up to take advantage.
Looking ahead, that's kind of my prognosis for the season. We took 2 really big hits when Levy & Ansah went down, and then our offense lost all pretense of a running game when Abdullah went down as well. This is pretty close to the worst-case scenario I outlined at the start of the season. On the plus side, I expect our offensive line to improve as the year goes on, so we should start looking a lot better in the last few games. It just won't be soon enough to make the playoffs, or probably even finish with a winning record.