Five reasons the Lions lost to the Texans

Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions’ fourth straight loss on Thanksgiving, could be the end for coach Matt Patricia.

The Lions’ three turnovers told just part of the story in the 41-25 loss to the Houston Texans (4-7) at Ford Field on Thursday.  

“It’s not good enough, we know that, we’ve got to be better,’’ Patricia said.

The coach could finish out this his third season, the Ford family hasn’t had anything to say since a year ago when they said they wanted to see the Lions play meaningful games in December.

Well at 4-7, really there is no meaning at all. The ball is in owner Sheila Ford Hamp’s court. It’s got to be  just a matter of time at this point. In nearly three seasons, Patricia is 13-29-1.

Patricia would not comment on his future with the team. “I focus one day at a time, that doesn’t change,’’ the coach said.

Five reasons the Lions lost:

1. The Lions lost two fumbles — one by Kerryon Johnson and another by Jonathan Williams. Who? Yes, it was the running back’s first carry this season for the Loins and he fumbled the ball. Why was he in the game? Adrian Peterson was getting a breather but Kerryon Johnson was available. A total head-scratcher.

2. Matthew Stafford threw just one interception but it was costly. It was picked off by J.J. Watt (his first interception this season) and returned 20 yards for a touchdown. “Big turnovers at the beginning of the game killed the momentum it made it tough to come back,’’ Stafford said. He credited Watt for making a great play on the interception. Stafford passed for 295 yards and one touchdown. He was also sacked four times. The play-calling was mostly predictable again. Adrian Peterson ran on the first play of three of the Lions’ series. Tight end T.J. Hockenson was the go-to guy with five catches for 89 yards.

3. The Lions’ secondary was dinged up and missing Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye and Mike Ford. Then Desmond Trufant pulled a hamstring and couldn’t finish. Still no excuses. It was a great day for Deshaun Watson who didn’t have much trouble finding wide-open receivers. Wide open. He threw for 318 yards including four touchdown passes and was sacked just twice.

4. Even without D’Andre Swift (concussion) the Lions run game was decent. After a slow start (eight carries for six yards), Adrian Peterson had a good stretch in the second half and finished with 15 carries for 55 yards. Kerryon Johnson stepped up with 11 carries for 46 yards and four catches for 52 yards. Decent is not good enough.

5. Coaching. At the start of the third quarter, the Lions, who were down 23-14, ran on 10 straight plays. That drive ended in a Matt Prater field goal. Eating up the clock when down 9 points? That’s only in the Patricia playbook. Coaching is an issue each week which is why Sheila Ford Hamp has to take a serious look at Patricia’s future. His firing would send a message to the team. It is not going to get them to the playoffs, but this team needs a new message and messenger. So do the fans.

Next up: Lions at Chicago, Dec. 6.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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