ALLEN PARK — In a few weeks when the Lions obituary is written for this season, not finishing games will be one of the causes of an early exit from playoff hopes.
The Lions (3-8-1) have led in all 12 games but won only three of them.
It gets worse. They have led or been tied in the fourth quarter five times, losing four of them.
Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni is optimistic about improvement.
“We’re a play or two away from being in position to hold those leads that we’ve had. We’ve been very fortunate, we’ve held a lead in a lot of games – probably all of them, maybe,’’ Pasqualoni said. “We just have to make another play. We’re a couple of plays away. I think it’s important that we’re playing well against the run, which gives you a chance to at least have an idea they’re going to through the ball, so you’re not always kind of in between what they are doing. I think the guys are playing really hard. I’m really pleased with how hard we play. I think we play really, really hard and I think we have a lot of guys that are going in and out of the game.’’
He thinks some of the young guys have responded “pretty well.”
“We just have to take care of some little things and get a little bit better and just make a few more plays. It’s a game of inches, you know I’ve always said that this game is a game of inches and I really believe it is a game of inches,’’ Pasqualoni said.
It’s on defense for not making stops and offense for not getting the big play when it most matters. The Lions have been outscored 105-70 in the fourth quarter.
If it continues on Sunday at the Vikings, put another one in the loss column.
In their first meeting — a Vikings’ 42-30 win on Oct. 20 — the Lions held an early 14-7 lead, tied at the half and then were outscored 21-9 in the second half.