Instant Analysis: Defense fails Lions again

After Sunday's 41-34 loss to St. Louis, the Lions are off to their worst start since the 2001 season, when the team dropped its first 12 games of the season. But while Detroit's offense is demonstrating improvement every week, the defense continues to regress. Instant analysis of the latest loss inside.

Desperately seeking ... a defense

If you would have told Lions' head coach Rod Marinelli that his offense would put up 34 points during Sunday's tilt at St. Louis, an instant smile would have graced his face. Considering St. Louis entered the contest averaging just 15 points per game (among the bottom half of the league), a four-touchdown performance should have been good enough to secure the team's first win. Unfortunately, Detroit's defense yielded 41 points, again allowing the opposing pass offense to throw freely. Rams' quarterback Marc Bulger completed 26 of his 42 attempts for 328 yards and three touchdowns, and was rarely hurried.

The Lions never forced a turnover in the game and only sacked Bulger one time. They have registered just one sack in the last three games, and have yet to intercept a pass.

Jones unleashed

Back to the positives, which was Detroit's offense and, specifically, its running game. Kevin Jones rushed 19 times for 93 yards (4.9 yards per carry), his highest output since his rookie campaign. One of Jones' two touchdowns came on a 35-yard touchdown scamper.

After accruing 79 yards total in the team's first two games, he has now totaled 174 in the previous two.

The Fast and the Furrey-ous

With all the talk surrounding Mike Martz's return to St. Louis, it was former Ram and Lions' receiver Mike Furrey that capitalized on the field. Furrey caught eight passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns, each a single game career-high. He caught just one pass in the second half, however.

Roy Williams hauled in a game-high nine receptions for 139 yards.

Kitna's untimely errors

Despite a strong offensive performance, including a 29-of-43, 280 yard day by quarterback Jon Kitna, it was the veteran's rather untimely, ill-advised mistakes that haunted the team throughout the game. Kitna botched a handoff on the team's opening drive, which led to a St. Louis field goal, and his interception on Detroit's third series resulted in the Rams' first touchdown of the game.

Finally, as the Lions attempted their first of two failed game winning drives, Kitna's first toss sailed over a receiver and into the arms of a Rams' defender for his second interception.

Bad start

The Lions are off to their worst start since the 2001 season, when the team dropped its first 12 games of the season. But while Detroit's offense is demonstrating improvement every week, the defense continues to regress.

Two of Detroit's next three games are on the road before they reach the bye week, each against a formidable opponent (Minnesota, Buffalo, New York Jets), lending a strong likelihood that the already long season will only get longer.


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