Lions Recap: Dan Campbell Deserves Blame for Discipline

Dan Campbell


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Dan Campbell coaching the Lions against the Bears in 2021.

The Detroit Lions have struggled to put away wins this season, and in their latest loss on Thanksgiving Day featured more of the usual frustrations.

Detroit’s defense wasn’t consistent enough in key moments of the game in order to win, while the team’s offense played poorly and went missing for long stretches. Play calling was suspect at times, and the team didn’t do anything on either side well enough to score a more commanding win.

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In spite of that, the Lions were in yet another game with a chance to win. Detroit held a narrow 14-13 lead with time ticking down in the fourth quarter. In winning time, a team’s job is to avoid mistakes, and the staff’s job is to stay out of the way and allow a team to execute.

With the Lions, that didn’t happen. The Lions made mistake after mistake down the stretch, culminating in an ugly sequence with the Bears just trying to run out the clock to score a field goal attempt. Dan Campbell didn’t seem to grasp the NFL rule book when it came to timeout usage. Additionally, the defense itself was disorganized, with players not knowing where they were supposed to be or what they were supposed to do.

When a team finishes with 10 penalties for 67 yards, it isn’t a great indication of clean technique and fundamentals. The Lions need to do a better job playing through the calls, of course, but they need to find a way to clean up their play most of all so that the mistakes in the moment never happen. The Lions keep making similar errors, which isn’t great for the coaching staff.

While Detroit isn’t likely to sack a first-year coach in a rebuild, the pressure’s clearly on Campbell and his staff to get the basics down. That much is clear after a very bad day.


Josh Reynolds Could Become a Positive for Lions’ Offense

Though the sample size hasn’t been huge, the Lions have to like what they have gotten from Reynolds so far. A team devoid of play makers on the offensive side had to appreciate the fact that Reynolds delivered 70 yards and a touchdown in only his second game within the offense. Reynolds’ score got the Lions off to a good start, but better yet showed why he could be a plus for the offense.

Getting Reynolds some chemistry with Jared Goff seems to be a real possibility now, and it will be interesting to see how well the duo does down the stretch.


Penei Sewell Showed Why He’ll Be Elite

There wasn’t a lot of positives in the game for the Lions at all, but a big one was the play of Sewell. The offensive lineman played a big role for the team in protection and in the running game. Quite possibly the biggest example of this was a rare play where Sewell actually managed to pick off two Chicago defenders on one block, paving the way for a long Jamaal Williams run.

Seeing Sewell do things like this at 21 years old is simply amazing, and something to behold for Lions fans. He’s going to be good, and as he continues to do more amazing things in big games, that is only looking to be more of the case.


Lion? Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback

Some players just have a knack for finding the football. One such guy like that is Oruwariye, the team’s young cornerback. With another pick in this game, Oruwariye collected interception 5 on the year, and continues to look like an elite player in the making at a key position on the field. The pick itself was a thing of beauty:

Interestingly enough, Oruwariye should probably have had another interception on the day but dropped it in the end zone. Regardless, the cornerback continues to look like an elite option for the future.


Lamb? Dan Campbell, Coach

It’s not often lately fans can proclaim their team lost as a direct result of the coaching staff, but this game was the exception to that rule. The Lions may have been able to hang on and force the Bears to a longer field goal, or at the very least get the ball back in order to have a chance at a game winning kick themselves if not for Campbell and the staff’s ineptitude. The team wasn’t prepared in the moment and that shows a poor coaching job. Campbell will have to do a lot of self reflection in the weeks and months ahead as it relates to how he coaches the team.


Lions’ Stat to Note: 317

That’s the number of passing yards the team allowed to Andy Dalton on the day. Dalton isn’t even the best quarterback on the Bears team nor the usual starter, so to see the Lions get torched in this way against Dalton. The quarterback’s best days are clearly behind him, but that didn’t matter against the Lions, who allowed the veteran to have his way. Simply put, it was frustrating to see such crooked numbers from the Detroit defense against Dalton.


Lions’ Quote to Note:

“We’re so close. These guys, they fight their tails off.” -Dan Campbell.

Speaking to the media after the game, Campbell said he continues to believe the Lions are close to a breakthrough. Many other people may disagree with the sentiment, but Campbell believes the team need only avoid a few mistakes to come through more in the clutch.

READ NEXT: Dan Campbell Ripped for Coaching on Thanksgiving


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