Lions Look To Bounce Back From 0-2 Start

Shaun Hill (AP Photo)

The Lions, 0-2 after losing their home-opener 35-32 to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, now face two division foes on the road -- Minnesota next Sunday and then Green Bay.

Safety Louis Delmas probably said it best.

"If we as a Lions team or as individuals are weak-minded, then we're going to revert back to last year," he said. "But that's not what we're going to do. We aren't looking at it like we're 0-2. Our record is flat. We just need to go win a game."

The Lions, 0-2 after losing their home-opener 35-32 to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, now face two division foes on the road -- Minnesota next Sunday and then Green Bay.

"We're going to find out a lot about who we are in the next couple of weeks," said center Dominic Raiola.

It's going to take a fairly huge effort to avoid an 0-4 start. Quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder) is probably out at least another week and possible two. Middle linebacker DeAndre Levy (groin) practiced Thursday and Friday but was kept off the field again on Sunday.

He and Delmas (groin), the two leaders of the defense, have yet to be on the field together, in preseason or through the two games. And the defense, despite some stellar play by the defensive line, has yielded 609 yards passing in two games.

"Big plays are killing us," said defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who followed up his 11-sack performance with six more tackles and 1.5 sacks. "We are good defensively 90 percent of the time and the other 10 percent we have lapses, or a guy is out of position or we are missing tackles."

The Lions gave up a 45-yard touchdown pass (DeSean Jackson) and a 46-yard touchdown run (LeSean McCoy). QB Michael Vick torched the secondary, hitting 21 of 34 for 284.

"We just have to be smarter back there," safety C.C. Brown said. "We just have to communicate and talk through everything. When we don't talk, that's when (big plays) like that happen. That's when they get 300 yards passing."

The one difference between last year and this year with the Lions -- they have enough offensive firepower to fight back. Backup quarterback Shaun Hill threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie running back Jahvid Best had 232 yards total offense (154 receiving) and three scores.

Best (2-yard run) and Calvin Johnson (19-yard reception) scored in the final 6:17 to make it a three-point game. The Lions then recovered an onside kick at their own 43 with 1:48 left but couldn't move the ball.

"We have to find out how to win," Vanden Bosch said. "What will serve us well is the energy and passion and enthusiasm we're playing with. We have put ourselves in a position to win the last two weeks and the mistakes that we're making are correctable."

Yet, as history has shown, the enthusiasm and energy tend to wane with every loss.

"That's not going to happen as long as I'm here," Vanden Bosch said. "I won't let this team quit. That's not going to happen."

Notebook:

  • P Nick Harris was a weapon for the Lions on Sunday. He averaged 48.8 yards on four punts and he bailed the Lions out of a couple of potentially bad situations. With the score tied 7-7, the Lions were pinned at their own 1. Harris tilted the field back in the Lions' favor with a 66-yard boomer. That plus a holding penalty had the Eagles starting at their own 23. The Lions were backed up inside their 10 again in the fourth and Harris had to kick out of the end zone. He hit a 51-yarder to temporarily bail the Lions out.
  • S Louis Delmas (groin) is clearly not 100 percent but he isn't accepting or offering any excuses. For the second week in a row he was burned for a long score. He had back-side contain on Matt Forte's 89-yard score last week and he was slow to contain DeSean Jackson on his 45-yard catch and run in the first quarter. "I am still a little banged up but that's no excuse," Delmas said. "I still have to go out there and do what I'm supposed to do. Me being hurt or being banged up don't mean I'm not supposed to make plays."

  • WR Calvin Johnson wound up with four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown, but until the Lions last scoring drive in the final two minutes, he only had one catch. The Lions simply aren't doing enough with the ground attack to get teams to ease the two-deep coverage. It certainly didn't help that Burleson was out either.

  • RB Jahvid Best's 154 yards receiving were the most by a rookie running back since Herschel Walker posted 170 with the Cowboys in 1986. He's the first NFL rookie to score five touchdowns in his first two games since Billy Sims did it in 1980.

  • DT Ndamukong Suh had a sack and a team-high eight tackles. He is the first Lion rookie ever to record a sack in each of his first two games. The Lions had six sacks on Michael Vick.

  • DE Cliff Avril (knee, finger) didn't play. His replacements, Turk McBride and Lawrence Jackson, combined for three tackles and a sack. Twice Jackson had free shots at Vick but whiffed.

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