It’s probably the right time for a bye week when a team starts the season 0-8 as the Detroit Lions have. After turning in their worst performance of the year on Sunday in a 44-6 scrubbing by the Philadelphia Eagles, it truly is the right time for the Lions to step back, exhale, and try again to reorganize the pieces of the puzzle.
What was most baffling about Sunday’s defeat wasn’t that Detroit lost; it was how they did it. Philadelphia didn’t waste any time going to the run game, and they kept plugging away against a Lions defensive front that showed little resistance. Detroit might not be thinking about a possible 0-17 season, but others are after the 0-8 start. Sunday was supposed to be one of the winnable games for Dan Campbell‘s squad, and it evaporated into a lost cause by the early minutes of the third quarter.
Detroit should’ve beaten the Baltimore Ravens back in Week 3 and instead lost brutally. It took a Greg Joseph 54-yard field goal as time expired for the Minnesota Vikings to knock them off. Week 8 was supposed to provide their best chance yet. Instead, the Lions were undisciplined, sluggish, and played the part of a team that hasn’t won all year long.
On Monday, Campbell was asked via the team’s website about the bye week and his objectives as this team tries to scratch out a win.
“Go back and look at these first eight weeks in all three phases and see if I can find some hidden nuggets, hidden gems, what we can do better,” he said “My staff, we’re looking at all our self-scouting. What we are? What’s the snapshot of what we do well? What don’t we do well?”
Hopefully, there are some hidden nuggets to be found.
The bye week becomes essential when there is a sliver of hope in an otherwise hopeless season, and then you get clubbed on your home field by 38 points. Some argue that it’s better not to sit and dwell on a loss and instead get right back out onto the field. This isn’t one of those cases. Detroit isn’t dealing with a simple loss. They are dealing with a, “How the hell do we possibly get a win?” scenario. After getting the life sucked out of them by the Eagles, the best thing on the schedule was seeing the word “Idle” next to Week 9.
This team has emptied the tank for Campbell time and again this year, and they’ve come up on the wrong side of victory every time. Week 8 showed the cumulative weight of all those losses weighing them down, and the result was a team that looked exhausted from the start. Being able to decompress for a week instead of getting tossed right back to the wolves is the shot in the arm Detroit needs.
Per ESPN, the Lions’ players said all the right things after the defeat. The goal is pretty plainly to get off the schneid. To achieve it, having a mental break right in the middle of the chaos can only help.
“One of the tougher ones I’ve been a part of and tough to swallow. It wasn’t good on any phase. We knew that and I thought what Dan [Campbell] said to the team afterward was right on and we can do better.” – Jared Goff.
“This season is not over. And we’re able to write the story with what guys want to do, what we want to do as a team and where we want to go with this organization and with this city. That’s something that we’ve gotta look right in the mirror and just reflect to understand where we want to go and what we want to do for these next few games.” – T.J. Hockenson.
Over the next month, the Lions will have back-to-back home games against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving and the Minnesota Vikings. Pulling out one of those is more than a reasonable possibility. Road games over that stretch come against the suddenly stout Pittsburgh Steelers, the crumbling Cleveland Browns, and the dumpster fire that is the Denver Broncos. Detroit should be able to get ONE of those. Getting the time off now to recharge the batteries and focus on that particular objective should help.
Had the Lions lost another nail-biter, this time to the Eagles, the bye week may not have provided many benefits. In fact, getting snake-bitten yet again may have had them itching during the off week. Getting stomped on by an underwhelming Philly team was a clear sign that this team needed a pause to try and solve the riddle. The bye week is coming at the perfect time for the Lions. It’s on them to capitalize on it.