Disappointment – An emotion that many fans of the Detroit Lions were feeling on Sunday afternoon following a 28-24 loss to the division rival Minnesota Vikings. The Lions held a 10-point fourth quarter lead and proceeded to score zero points, make multiple coaching mistakes and give up two touchdowns. This week, the Lions look to recover with a win at home versus the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks come into the matchup after back-to-back losses against the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 1, the Seahawks were able to upset former quarterback Russell Wilson and his new team, the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.
With both teams looking to reach .500, let’s look at the keys to the game.
Can Jeff Okudah continue his hot streak?
Through the first three weeks of the season, Jeff Okudah has been matched up against some of the most elite wide receivers in the league. In Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Okudah was in charge of covering 2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. Okudah allowed zero catches. In Week 2, he was matched up against Terry McLaurin and only gave up 2 catches for 22 yards. Last week, Okudah was able to shut down Justin Jefferson only giving up 3 catches for 14 yards. Okudah is playing at an elite level, a level he did not reach his first two seasons. On Sunday, Okudah will be lined up across from one of the most physical receivers in the league DK Metcalf. If Okudah can continue being a shut down cornerback, he can prove that he was worth the 3rd overall pick in the 2020 draft and can become a vital piece of the defense.
How does the run game respond?
Despite racking up 139 rushing yards last week, the Lions’ big play runs were limited in comparison to the previous two weeks. Much of this had to do with D’Andre Swift’s injury. Swift aggravated a previous ankle injury, while also sustaining a shoulder injury that could sideline him for some time. Against the Vikings, Swift ran seven times for 31 yards. Jamaal Williams took over much of the load, rushing for 87 yards and two touchdowns. When Swift is on the field, the offense has the ability to open up more, as defenses have to worry about Swift’s big play potential. With Swift potentially out, how will the run attack respond? While injuries are always bad, the timing may work in the Lions’ favor. With two winnable games and a bye week incoming, now is the time to get him healthy.
Can Dan Campbell stay out of his own way?
Much of the frustration following the loss to the Minnesota Vikings falls on Lions head coach Dan Campbell. Campbell, who decided to go for it on fourth down six times, failed to be aggressive when it mattered most. On fourth-and-3 at the Vikings’ 36-yard line with 1:10 remaining in the game, Campbell decided to send out kicker Austin Seibert. Seibert had already missed a field goal earlier in the game. Seibert then missed the 54-yard field goal and the Vikings gained possession with excellent field position. Campbell also called a poorly timed time out as the clock was running on the Vikings. After the timeout, the Vikings scored the game winning touchdown. Campbell allowed the Vikings to gather their thoughts and pick their best play for that situation. Without these two massive coaching blunders, the Lions probably win the game. If Campbell continues these poor decisions, expect more silly losses that should be wins. While I don’t think the Lions will be in a situation similar against the Seahawks, coaching needs to be consistent.