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Detroit Lions' Wembley fiasco shows problems run deeper than Lombardi

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All the talk this week ahead of the Detroit Lions vs Kansas City Chiefs game in London was about how the Michigan franchise's offense was primed to awaken from its slumber after the change at the offensive coordinator position.

Same old story

But, after four uninspiring quarters at Wembley Stadium this afternoon on the way to a comprehensive 45-10 defeat, the Jim Bob Cooter era barely stuttered into existence today.

Joe Lombardi may be gone, but the interceptions, inability to protect Matthew Stafford and all round disjointed play remain and it doesn't look pretty.


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Things were never going to completely change overnight for Detroit, but their fans were at least expecting a spark after Cooter's promotion.

Unfortunately for them, the brightest that spark ever got when it mattered was a 10-play opening drive that ended in a field goal - Detroit didn't reach the red zone again until garbage time. Yep, that really is as good as an offense that includes Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Eric Ebron and Matthew Stafford could muster in London.

Stafford finished with two interceptions, one touchdown pass and 227 yards - the majority of which came in the latter stages with the game long gone.

He was sacked six times as the Lions' offensive line failed to pick up multiple blitzes. Oh, and, with two picks, he took the lead in the NFL for most interceptions this season with 11.

Long road

Ultimately, the idea that Lombardi's departure would magically transform the Lions into a to a free-scoring, chain moving team was put to bed.

This state of affairs at the end of the first half summed things up.

And, with the Detroit defense hitting their own new lows, Jim Caldwell's bold prediction last week that the Lions can still make the 2015 playoffs looks frankly absurd.

Granted, Cooter hasn't had long to implement his own ideas - he only took the OC job last Monday and has had a transatlantic flight as a disruption since - but the Lions look a team devoid of ideas with the ball in their possession.

On paper, they have the makings of a productive offense. In 2015, though, there is simply no cohesion.

Against a Chiefs team that has given up the joint second-most TDs to opponents this season and the ninth most passing yards before today, they failed to muster any fight.

Stafford was sacked four times in the first half alone, through a mixture of the Detroit offensive line's inability to pick up Chiefs blitzes and his own inability to release the football quicker than a snail's pace.

It wasn't only Stafford that struggled in London, though. The hopes of a freed up Megatron failed to materialize, whilst Eric Ebron dropped at least a couple of passes to rub salt into the wound.

Cooter will have a lot more time to work on the issues when the team arrives back on U.S. soil. There trip to London, though, rather than being the start of something good, only highlighted the size of the challenge ahead.

Big problems

Watching from a distance so far this season, Detroit looked a poor team. Watching them up close this afternoon, they did nothing to suggest they are anything other than a team heading for double digit defeats. 

And seeing Jim Bob Cooter's less than enthusiastic reaction to Matthew Stafford's second interception hammered home the increasingly obvious fact that everything is now well with the Lions.

Unfortunately for Detroit, it looks like the problems run deeper that an offensive coordinator. A few more performances like this, and the Lions could be looking for a new head coach and defensive coordinator, too.

Lions fans: Should Jim Caldwell keep his job after this season? Have your say in the comments below...

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