Detroit Lions: A Christmas Eve Disappointment

74

The Detroit Lions got absolutely dominated by the Carolina Panthers on Christmas Eve. The Panthers ran all over the Lions, taking the win 37 to 23.

The Lions just could not figure it out on either side of the ball in this game. Now, their record falls to 7-8 and their three-game winning streak has been snapped.

Here are my takeaways from today’s game:

Defense Atrocious

The Lions’ defense was straight-up terrible. The Panthers were able to literally run through gaping holes. Both D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard had over 100 rushing yards in the first half of the game. Their 240 rushing yards in the first half was a franchise record for the Panthers. They ended up with 320 rushing yards and tacked on 250 passing yards as well.

It was clear that the absence of DeShon Elliott hurt this defense immensely. Ifeatu Melifonwu did a decent job filling his shoes as he led the defense in tackles, but he was no Elliott.

Not only could the defense not stop the run, they started to crumble toward the end and got caught up in several penalties. Coach Dan Campbell always says it’s the penalties that kill us, and that’s exactly what happened in the second half of the game.

Offensive Struggles

The Panthers’ defense proved to be an absolute problem for Jared Goff and the offensive line. Goff took most of the brunt for the offense. He was sacked twice, fumbled, and had several passes deflected by the defense.

The run game was non-existent. Every time the ball was put in the hands of Jamaal Williams, the Panthers were ready. The only way the ball was able to get down the field was via air mail today, and in this cold, it wasn’t easy.

The Lions’ tight ends were used much more than usual in this game. Shane Zylstra was responsible for all three of the Lions’ touchdowns. Zylstra had just five catches for 26 yards in this game, three of those catches being in the end zone. Brock Wright and James Mitchell also saw several touches in this game.

St. Brown Things

While there were several negatives in this game, there was at least one positive. Amon-Ra St. Brown joined elite company with Michael Thomas and Odell Beckham Jr., becoming only the third player in NFL history to record 90+ receptions in each of their first two seasons. Additionally, he produced his first 1,000-yard season today, becoming just the seventh player in franchise history to do so within two seasons. St. Brown had seven catches for 76 yards in today’s game.

Up Next for the Lions

The Lions return home next week for their final home game of the season against the Chicago Bears on New Year’s Day.

Maddy Miller – Detroit Lions Beat Reporter

On Twitter: @madelynvmillerr

Related Articles:

Detroit Lions v. Panthers: Staff Picks and Score Predictions

Detroit Lions: Roadmap to the Playoffs Pt. 2