DETROIT — An emotional Dan Campbell shed tears after last week’s heartbreaking loss in Minnesota. But on Sunday in Detroit, the first-year Lions coach was visibly angry when they fell at home to Cincinnati, 34-11.
Detroit’s energy and effort is what upset him the most, as they were never in a position to win. Campbell also issued a challenge to his starting quarterback Jared Goff.
“I will say this,” Campbell said. “I feel like he has to step up more than he has and I think he needs to help us, just like everybody else. He’s gonna need to put a little bit of weight on his shoulders here and it’s time to step up, make some throws and do some things, but he needs help.”
Goff certainly didn’t have his best game versus the Bengals, passing for just 38 yards in the first half. They have now gone four consecutive games without posting a first-half touchdown, which last happened in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers.
Goff finished having completed 28 of 42 passes for 202 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. There were light boos coming from Lions fans inside Ford Field, directed at Goff and the offense while being shutout for three quarters.
“I feel their frustration,” Goff said. “These fans here deserve a lot better than what we’ve been giving them. It’s our job to do that and there’s frustrated people everywhere right now.”
The Lions are the last winless team in the league. It’s their first 0-6 start since the infamous 2008 season, when they finished 0-16. With the Jacksonville Jaguars winning Sunday, Detroit now has the longest active losing streak in the NFL at 10 games dating to last season. They’re desperately seeking a victory and are willing to make the necessary changes to do so, including shuffling the roster.
“I mean, this is a cutthroat league. That happens all throughout the league, no matter what. People get traded. People get cut. People get benched,” Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone said. “That’s up to upstairs, [Lions executive vice president and general manager] Brad [Holmes] and Dan to make those decisions.
“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,” he added. “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.”
“Up and down” is the assessment that Goff offered of himself when describing his play through six games.
“I mean, there’s been good, there’s been bad, there’s been stuff to work on,” Goff said. “It’s kind of always that way when you look at yourself and when you’re critical of yourself. Like I said, everyone’s got their things that they’re working on and I’m no different.”
Entering next week’s game against former Lions star Matthew Stafford and the red-hot Los Angeles Rams, Campbell says he’ll be looking at himself in the mirror to make changes. Those changes won’t involve benching Goff, though, at least for now.
“No. Now, that doesn’t mean that something won’t ever come up,” Campbell said of considering a change at quarterback. “I’m gonna look at everything, but, look, this was a collective effort offensively. You can’t blame one person there. I know maybe you think it’s easy to just throw it out and for me to blame it on myself, but look, they heard plenty from me in there, but the bottom line that’s the truth. I didn’t help them prepare for this game properly or help our coaches help them prepare properly.”