Sunday’s 34-11 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals was a low point for the 2021 Detroit Lions. The game was not competitive, and other than some early defensive vitality, the Lions were not close to their Week 6 foe.
Head coach Dan Campbell shouldered blame for the mistake-filled, uninspired game. In his postgame press conference, a distraught Campbell made it clear that everyone needs to do better, and that starts with the coach himself.
“The focus wasn’t there,” Campbell said. “I’ve said this—I told the team this, I’m going to look at everything, that’s my job. But when you get whipped like that, that’s on me. That’s on me—there’s no other way around that.”
Campbell later stated the obvious,
“I know this—I’ll be looking directly at myself tonight first before anything else because that’s the bottom line. You don’t get whipped like that unless your freaking—your head coach has a hand in that. That’s the truth.”
Many fingers were pointed at QB Jared Goff, who did not have a good game against the Bengals. The quarterback understands that everyone has to step it up if the Lions are to get a win.
“You look at the film and see where you can get better,” Goff stated. “Look yourself in the mirror and move on and get better from it. That’s all you can do is learn from it and try to get better.”
Many of those players are in their first or second NFL seasons. The Lions will not lean on inexperience as an excuse.
“There are definitely a lot of guys who lack some experience, but we don’t care,” CB Amani Oruwariye said after the game. “We’ve got to win now with whoever we have and we just need guys to step up from all around the field. I’ll just piggyback off of what Dan (Campbell) said, I didn’t think we played well at all today. So, we all have just got to look ourselves in the mirror and find a way to get better.”
Oruwariye did come up with an interception in the game but also got beat in a few coverage scenarios.
Linebacker Alex Anzalone, who came to Detroit from New Orleans with coach Campbell, echoed those thoughts.
“All you can do is just focus on yourself, what you can do, like I said, look in the mirror and get better every day,” Anzalone said. “As a team, we don’t listen to the outside noise. Whoever we go on the field with, it’s what we’re riding with, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The film room will not be kind to many of the players or coaches. Expect a lot of sullen looks in those mirrors for players who collectively need to step up their games.