By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Matt Patricia’s debut as an NFL head coach went about as bad as it possibly could have Monday night in Detroit.
Patricia’s Lions took the field with a refreshed sense of hope, but all that good mojo was quickly sucked out Ford Field. The former Patriots defensive coordinator stood helplessly on the sidelines as he watched his team get outplayed in every facet of the game, suffering an embarrassing 48-17 blowout loss to the New York Jets on national television. Patrica became the first NFL head coach since 2008 to lose his debut by 31 or more points.
“I’m going to be most disappointed in myself,” Patricia said after the loss. “I think that’s where I always start. I have to do a better job and that’s always where I’m going to take it.”
Matty P has a whole lotta work to do on a short week, as just about everything that could have gone wrong did indeed go wrong for his Lions. The Detroit D picked off Sam Darnold’s first pass as a professional and returned it for a touchdown, but then couldn’t figure out the rookie quarterback the rest of the way. Darnold completed 16 of his 21 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, looking like a savvy veteran and not a 21-year-old making his NFL debut. The Lions defense surrendered a number of big plays throughout the game, including touchdown passes of 41 and 21 yards. Jets running back Isaiah Crowell provided the icing on the cake, capping off the scoring with a 62-yard touchdown run in the game’s final minute.
The embarrassment wasn’t just on the defensive side. Detroit floundered on special teams, allowing Andre Roberts to return a punt 78 yards for a touchdown. Veteran kicker Matt Prater also missed a pair of field goals.
The Detroit offense was even worse. Not only was the unit ineffective, but extremely predictable. The New York secondary knew just about everything Matt Stafford was going to throw at them, picking off Detroit’s $135 million quarterback four times. The Jets rubbed salt in the wounds after the game by mocking the Lions, saying they easily figured out Detroit’s signals and knew what plays were coming for much of the evening.
In addition to their in-game dominance, the Jets clearly won the battle of pre-game preparation as well.
“We were calling out their plays as he was getting up to the line,” Jets linebacker Darron Lee said after the win. Lee finished with a pair of interceptions, including one he returned for a 36-yard touchdown.
“Film study,” said safety Jalen Adams. “The offense paints a picture. They give us little tips.”
As the night went on, Patricia’s stone-faced reaction on the sideline became an internet meme. At one point late in the game, he was caught mouthing “I give up.”
Yeah, it was that bad for Patricia. Going back to last year’s Super Bowl, his defenses have now surrendered 89 points in his last two games. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that’s some really poor defense.
As bad as his debut was, Patricia was not alone among his head-coaching brethren this weekend. Overall, new head coaches went 0-7 in Week 1, though none suffered such an embarrassing as Patricia’s.
But if there is anything Patricia has learned from Bill Belichick, it’s that an NFL head coach has to move on quickly. He now has a short week to get his team ready for the San Francisco 49ers, and that busy schedule may be the best thing for him. He has no choice but put Monday nightmare behind him and move on to San Francisco.
It can only get better from here, right?