So much for the Lions’ season.
All they had to do was beat the Bengals, not a good football team.
They missed tackles, accumulated penalties and never found any kind of offensive rhythm.
The 26-17 loss to the Bengals was a total team effort and dropped the Lions to 8-7 with no chance for the playoffs. It makes next Sunday’s home game against Brett Hundley and the Packers meaningless.
(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)
There is a fine line between playing on an even keel and with passion. The Lions just didn’t look like they had the fire on either side of the ball today. The season was on the line, all they had to do was win.
“We were not sharp in any way, shape or form. We had a few plays here and there but they played better, plain and simple,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said.
The Lions offensive line was missing three starters, but no excuse. Actually that’s what Caldwell said too — he’s never used injuries as an excuse for a loss. And, hey, the Bengals had their share of injuries too.
Five reasons the Lions lost:
1. The Lions defense missed tackle after tackle, sometimes on the same play. The Bengals featured the NFL’s worst offense, averaging 268.9 yards per game before they met the Lions. They finished with 364 yards against the Lions and they had nothing to play for except maybe pride.
2. The Bengals also own the NFL’s worst running game, averaging just 77.0 rushing yards per game. They almost doubled that production thanks to the Lions’ porous rushing defense. Cincinnati finished with 143 rushing yards, with Giovani Bernard rushing for 116 yards. His previous high this season was 77 yards in a game.
3. Penalties were a killer in the second half. Don Barclay, who started at right guard in place of T.J. Lang, had three in the fourth quarter. The Lions were whistled for nine penalties costing 74 yards while the Bengals had just five.
4. The offense never got in rhythm. Matthew Stafford had completed more than 80 percent of his passes in the past three games, but only 54.3 percent against the Bengals. Stafford was 19 of 35 for 195 yards, one touchdown, on interception for a 68.2 rating.
5. The Lions had trouble running the ball with 22 carries for 87 yards. Perhaps you’ve heard this before. Rookie Tion Green had a few good runs and finished with seven carries for 43 yards including a rushing touchdown. (It was the Lions’ first fourth-quarter rushing touchdown by a running back in more than two years, according to FOX. Two years.) Don’t use the banged-up offensive line as an excuse. The Lions have to be better at running the ball. Caldwell has said many times they thought the run game would be fine this season with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick healthy. That was a huge miscalculation by the coaching staff.