The Detroit Lions coach was brutally honest in his assessment of the team’s poor performance ahead of the bye week, including his own questionable coaching decisions.
“To me, it’s about as bad as it gets. This is the worst,” Campbell said. “This is where we’re at, and sometimes it’s gonna get bad before it gets better and I believe we hit rock bottom. So, now the only place to go is back up.”
For Detroit, “rock bottom” is a 1-4 record.
Through their first five games, the defense allowed a franchise-worst 170 points.
They entered Gillette Stadium with the league’s highest scoring offense, while also ranking last in defense, and were exposed by Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s sound strategy to put pressure on quarterback Jared Goff and attack the depleted defense.
Goff agreed with Campbell that “before you can better, things have to get worse sometimes and today it certainly did.”
Detroit was 0-6 on fourth-down attempts, which included going for it during the second quarter on fourth-and-9 instead of attempting a 49-yard field goal, which resulted in a scoop-and-score after Goff fumbled while being sacked by Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon.
However, Goff doesn’t feel that this game affects the team’s confidence moving forward, especially on offense.
“It was man coverage, and they just played it really well and they rushed really well and I made some dumb decisions,” Goff said. “Kind of a combination of all that, but it wasn’t anything revolutionary over there. They just did a good job planning, and it’s always hard with those guys.”
This was the first instance in NFL history that a team averaging 35 points per game in its first four games was shutout in their fifth game of the season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Campbell says the team will look internally to make changes.
“Certainly, we didn’t play good football there. It was not good,” Campbell said. “It was the worst of the season overall as a team, and that falls on me. You can’t play that way unless your head coach doesn’t have them ready so that’s 100% on me.”
Detroit’s offensive struggles were surprising to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who pushed through a high ankle sprain to face the Patriots after missing the previous week.
His nine-game streak with at least five receptions ended as he reeled in just four for 18 yards while playing at “85%” by his own assessment.
St. Brown was limited to one light practice throughout the week in preparation for the Patriots, but he'll get additional rest this week to heal up before facing the Dallas Cowboys on the road Oct. 23.
“I don’t think the bye week could’ve came at a better time for us as a team,” St. Brown said. “You look at the injuries we have, the guys that went down. It’s gonna give us some time to heal up, rest up and just rethink everything. This bye week is gonna be perfect for us after having lost three straight just to reset our minds, and once we get back from the bye week, it’s full go.”
Running back D'Andre Swift (shoulder/ankle) is also expected to return against the Cowboys after missing the past two games. The Lions are hoping they can turn things around after the second consecutive season of starting 1-4 or worse through five games. They started 0-5 last season.