After defeating the Indianapolis Colts on the road last week in dramatic finish, the Detroit Lions struggled in their season opener against the Tennessee Titans, as they lost 16-15.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota converted a fourth down with a perfectly lofted 9-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson with 1:13 left, lifting the Titans to a 16-15.
Lions (1-1) had an opportunity to set up a winning field goal in the final minute for a second straight week, but Matthew Stafford threw an interception to Perrish Cox at midfield with 18 seconds left.
“It was a great play by him,” Stafford said. “I wish I hadn’t thrown the ball, but hindsight is 20-20.”
Contributing factors in this loss start with penalties, especially considering the Lions had 17 of them, which gave away 138 yards in penalties alone. Detroit had three touchdowns erased because of penalties, and at least five first downs.
“Seventeen penalties is disappointing, we’ve got to get that straightened away and get it straightened away quickly.” Coach Caldwell said after the game.
“I’m not certain it was discipline. There were a variety of penalties that happened out there and maybe just guys that were trying a little bit too hard in certain situations, but there were enough to go around, there’s no question about that.”
Beyond the penalties, Detroit Lions also dealt with injuries. They started the game without one of their best players on defense, missing linebacker DeAndre Levy because of a quadriceps injury.
From there, they lost another top player on that side of the ball early in the game when defensive end Ezekiel Ansah limped off with a left ankle injury and didn’t return. Detroit running back Ameer Abdullah left also left with an injured left foot after a 24-yard run in the second quarter.
“You know I don’t talk about injuries.” Coach Caldwell said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Detroit goes on the road next, where it they will play the Green Bay Packers.