In the last 22 minutes of Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, the Lions’ defense gave up 34 points and 384 yards. But don’t tell Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham that the Eagles figured out his defense.
Instead, Cunningham blames the players’ execution — particularly missed tackles — for the disaster that the Lions’ defense became at the end of that game.
“I’ve been around for a while but I’ve never seen anything like that,” Cunningham said, via the Detroit News. “We couldn’t tackle in the second half. It wasn’t the scheme that broke down, it was missed tackles. It happens. You can’t afford to let it happen.”
Some said after Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had repeated success running up the middle that the Lions’ Wide-9 defensive line formation was to blame, but Cunninghame doesn’t buy that.
“Whoever is saying that should look at the tape,” he said. “We made adjustments. We put [defensive end Willie Young] inside. But we missed tackles. People have their opinion. But you can’t hold teams six games in a row to 60 yards or less rushing and think the scheme is bad. We missed tackles. That’s what happened. We’ve been a good tackling team all year. You scratch your head about it but you have to move on to the next one.”
Whatever the reasons, Cunningham’s defense didn’t get the job done. Like the rest of the Lions’ coaching staff, he may be out of a job if his defense doesn’t get the job done over the next three weeks.