Last year the Lions and Seahawks went a combined 23-9. Three weeks into the 2015 season, they collectively sit at 1-5. However, while the Seahawks appear to be getting their act together, the Lions continue to circle the drain.
The 0-3 Lions have been outscored by an average of 9 points a game, with each loss worse than the previous one. QB Matthew Stafford is second in the league with 5 interceptions, while the team is averaging a league-worst 2.6 yards per rushing attempt, having gained a grand total of 135 yards. A staggering 24.2% of their drives have ended in a turnover; in fact, the offense has more turnovers than touchdowns.
Things got so bad after Week 3’s loss to Denver – when the Lions averaged 1.43 yards per carry and Stafford completed a pass to himself for a 6-yard loss – that head coach Jim Caldwell had to assure everyone that offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi (grandson of Vince) was not going to lose his play-calling duties. Which probably means Lombardi is about to lose his play-calling duties. (We kid, we kid…)
The two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks, meanwhile, last week overcame a rocky start to their season with a dominating 26-0 victory over the admittedly lowly Bears.
The Seahawks defense was buoyed by the return of Pro Bowl defensive back Kam Chancellor, who finally ended his contract holdout after missing the first two games of the season. Nearly as important for Seattle was getting tight end Jimmy Graham fully incorporated into the passing game, as he pulled in 7 receptions for 83 yards and a TD, a week after going MIA against Green Bay.
Not to be overlooked, though, is the health of star running back Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode headed into that game with a nagging calf issue that caused him to miss the first 2 possessions, and he then left the game early, with a hamstring injury.
Lynch has carried a heavy load over the previous four seasons, leading all running backs in both carries, 1181, and yards, 5357, and Lynch is approaching the dread three-oh, the age at which the bell tolls for many a Pro Bowl rusher. Obviously you have to give the benefit of the doubt to a talent like Lynch, but his rushing totals this season have “progressed” from 73 to 41 to 14. Might be time for Lynch to double up on the “power pellets”:
If you’re a Seattle fan, you’ve got to be concerned, and heading into the weekend, reports were that Lynch’s chances of playing were about “50-50.” Fortunately for the Seahawks, rookie Thomas Rawls picked up the slack last week, with 104 yards on 16 carries.
All stats courtesy Pro Football Reference.
Watch the Detroit Lions vs. the Seattle Seahawks at 8:15pm Monday on ESPN.
Note: due to an exclusive contract between the NFL and Verizon, the game is not available on mobile phones.