The Detroit Lions lost their 2015 week one game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. It was a classic tale of two halfs for the Lions, who started their season the same way they ended last season. They started off red hot on offense and defense, but after building a lead, they collapsed completely in route to a 33-28 loss.
Detroit jumped all over San Diego from the opening kickoff. With efficient passes and runs, Detroit drove down the field and then with his first NFL carry, Ameer Abdullah took the ball 24 yards for a touchdown. San Diego managed to string together a decent drive at the end of the first, but only scored a field goal after a Melvin Gordon touchdown was ruled down by contact.
After stalling on a drive, the Detroit defense took control. Phillip Rivers threw a pass that was tipped and intercepted by Glover Quin. Quin took ball all the way back for a touchdown to expand their lead to 14-3. After stopping the Chargers again, Detroit’s offense drove the field and capped it off with an Eric Ebron touchdown catch. With a 21-3 lead and the Chargers faltering, it seemed like Detroit was in control for an easy road win. San Diego had something to say about that though driving down for a score by Danny Woodhead. San Diego again dove for what could have been a critical half ending touchdown before Darius Slay picked off a Rivers pass in the endzone.
With a 21-10 lead, the game felt eerily similar to last season’s playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys when the Lions jumped out on top with a big lead just to lose. In fact, that is exactly what happened. Phillip Rivers and the Charger offense made adjustments and dominated the second half adding 23 more unanswered points to make it 30 unanswered against the Lions. Detroit’s defense was in full collapse mode, unable to stop Keenan Allen from catching anything he wanted. Stephen Tulloch looked old and slow for the first time as a Lion, and it was blatantly obvious that the Lions missed injured star DeAndre Levy. The defense, last year ranked among the best, surrendered over 400 passing yards total. Rashean Mathis looked unable to stick with Allen all second half.
The offense was much worse in the second half than the defense. The Lions managed just 4 plays or less on the majority of their drives since their touchdown to Ebron. The offensive line looked lost and several times allowed unblocked men a free shot at Stafford. Those shots added up, especially the one that Melvin Ingram had on which led to a Matthew Stafford interception. On his next drive, Stafford threw yet another interception on what looked like miscommunication with receiver Golden Tate. The offense did finally score again, although there was less than 2 minutes left when they hit Theo Riddick on a pass that he took into the end zone. The game ended though on a missed onside kick attempt with a final score of 33-28. While some look at the final score and think, well it was a close loss to a good team, others will look at the collapse, compare it to the Dallas collapse and wonder if this team has what it takes to compete in the playoffs. It is only week one, but it feels like we are in for a long season, especially with Denver and Seattle coming up in the next few weeks. If the Lions lose to Minnesota this week they will really be in some trouble moving forward.