Running back Mikel Leshoure finally made his NFL debut and he rushed for 100 yards and scored a touchdown. He is the first Lions' back to gain 100 yards in his debut since Billy Sims in 1980. Leshoure not only started in place of Kevin Smith, but it appears Smith has been knocked to No. 3 in the rotation. When the Lions gave Leshoure a blow in the fourth quarter, they went with Joique Bell (23 yards in five carries). Smith played only a handful of snaps and never touched the ball.
The Lions fell into the same trap they did against the 49ers last week. They got suckered into playing a conservative, run-based game early against a porous Titans defense that, like the 49ers, played their safeties 20 yards deep, dissuading the vertical pass and daring the run. The Lions again took the bait, running it 18 times and passing it 18 times in the first half. Despite getting inside the 35 three times and inside the 15 once, they managed just three field goals.
"We honestly didn't see one single snap of single-high coverage," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "It's kind of tough to impose your will when they have seven, eight and nine guys dropping every time. We have to be able to run and we were able to move the chains a couple of times.
"But we couldn't convert some third-and-ones and that's frustrating. We kind of had to throw later to get back into the game and we had some success."
Their methodology might be sound, but the result was negative. They let a team that was down and extremely uncertain gain footing early. They let them stay in the game long enough to believe they could win.
If the Lions are going to get beat, you'd like them to get beat with their best pitch.
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