Five reasons the Lions lost to the Texans

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)

Five reasons the Lions lost 41-21 to the Colts

DETROIT — The Lions never gave themselves a chance in their 41-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Ford Field. It didn’t seem that close. 

The Lions are now 0-3 at home and 3-4 overall.

Execution? Not so much. We’ve seen this before. Plenty of blame to spread around.

Coach Matt Patricia gave credit to the Colts (5-2). “They played well in all three phases and were able to capitalize on the mistakes we made,’’ the coach said.

The Lions were coming off two straight wins, although both were against one-win teams. Still whatever momentum they had built is gone.

“Yeah, I mean it is frustrating to lose. We’ve put a bunch of work into it, and when it doesn’t go the way you want it to go, it’s not fun. And this one’s no different,’’ Matthew Stafford said. “But at the same time we’ve got to learn from it. We’ll look at the tape, we will figure out where we can do better and we have got a new opponent next week. We are going to have to get ready to go to them and play well.”

The five main reasons the Lions lost:

1. Detroit’s defense could not get quarterback Philip Rivers and the Colts’ offense off the field. The time of possession was a joke in the first half. The Colts had the ball for 22:06, the Lions for 7:54. Of course this goes both ways. The Lions’ offense couldn’t sustain drives to stay on the field. “It’s no excuse. We play defense for a reason. Offense is going to have off days, but we’ve got to go out there and play ball, simple as that,” linebacker Reggie Ragland said. Rivers finished 23 of 33 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked twice. The 38-year-old Rivers was impressive and certainly got some help from the Lions’ defense. 

2. Penalties were the killer, not that there were so many of them (four for 76 yards), just those that came at crucial times. None worse that in the second quarter on a third-and-four, Danny Shelton sacked Rivers for a loss of 7 yards. But he was called for unnecessary roughness which is a 15-yard penalty and three plays later. Shelton did not stop when the whistle blew that the play was dead, according to a pool report with Clay Martin the referee who made the call. The flag was delayed because first he had to break up a scrum that was a result of the play. Shelton should know better.Three plays later Rivers connected with Jack Doyle for a 7-yard touchdown.

3. Stafford did not have his best game. He turned the ball over twice. An interception early in the fourth quarter was returned for a touchdown. He said he didn’t have god enough eyes on the nickel. In the prior series he was sacked, fumbled the ball and the Colts recovered it. “Wish I had those two plays back,’’ Stafford said. He didn’t have much time on the field and the offensive shortcomings are not all on him. Stafford put together three nice touchdown drives but it obviously wasn’t enough. He finished 24 of 42 for 336 yards, three touchdowns and was sacked five times for losses of 39 yards.

4. The run game was abysmal. Five carries for 5 yards in the first half spells trouble. They finished with just 29 rushing yards and 10 of those came on a run by Stafford. “Obviously, didn’t sustain drives well enough in the first half or the second half to be honest. Didn’t run the ball as well as we can, obviously and then just didn’t play well enough in the passing game to overcome that,’’ Stafford said. “So, it was obviously we scored early which was great, but we weren’t able to be consistent on drives and our defense was out there for a long period of time, which isn’t good.” Adrian Peterson had five carries for 7 yards while D’Andre Swift carried six times for 1 yard. It was an issue. The run game started off the season well, but has faltered in recent weeks.

5. Matt Patricia said afterward he has to do better. The Lions took a step backward. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,’’ Patricia said. “We have to play better, we have to coach better, that’s the bottom line.” Patricia is now 12-26-1 in his three seasons in Detroit. He’s never put together three straight wins. Most coaches agree that taking care of home turf is crucial. Patricia is 5-14 at Ford Field. 

BY THE NUMBERS: Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., had two touchdown catches giving him three for the season. … Both teams were exactly the same on third-down proficiency – 7 of 14 (50 percent). …. The Colts rushed for 119 yards, the Lions for 29 … Jason Fox averaged 52.4 yards on his five punts. … Jamie Collins and Tracy Walker led the defense with 10 tackles each. Romeo Okwara notched his fifth sack of the season. … Miles Killebrew blocked a punt in the first quarter which gave the Lions the ball at the Colts’ 32-yard line. Two plays later Stafford connected with Marvin Jones Jr. for a 25-yard touchdown that gave Detroit a 7-0 lead. 

NEXT WEEK: The Lions (3-4)  at the Vikings (2-5), 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8. Minnesota beat Green Bay, 28-22, on Sunday.

Lions Adrian Peterson, Everson Griffen have a history

Well, this could be interesting.

Lions running back Adrian Peterson and newest defensive end Everson Griffen like to “wrastle.”

The two, who were close when they played with the Vikings for seven seasons, will be reunited with the Lions next week when Griffen joins the team after his pandemic protocol. The Lions received him in a trade with Dallas this week.

Oddly enough, the first opponent after Griffen arrives will be the Vikings at Minnesota on Nov. 8.

Peterson, a good storyteller, shared one memory with the Detroit media on Thursday. 

“Me and Everson we used to lock up. In case you don’t know what that means it’s like a wrastling match. Every training camp at least once or twice, but normally it was once because it was pretty intense,’’ Peterson said.

This particular story happened after camp when they were back at their practice facility ready for lunch following a Friday practice.

“We normally had our tables lined up and these restaurants would provide meals and this day was a Chinese restaurant that a lot of the guys really loved the food. It was all laid out,’’ Peterson said.

“I don’t know what kicked it off or what started it. I’m sure it had to do something with us talking, going back and forth. We locked up again. It was intense. He’s very competitive, I’m very competitive. We ended up locking up — we’re tussling, falling to the ground and getting up and pushing each other back and forth. If you were an outsider and you didn’t know we were having fun, you probably would’ve thought we were into it.

“I caught him slipping — you’d have to ask him about this — he won’t admit it. I caught him slipping and his knee bent back and I took advantage and rushed him and I ended up stopping because I was going to run into the food. 

“Now when I think about it I think I should’ve sacrificed the food because when I eased up he came four steps ahead and slammed me to the ground, I was like, ‘Alright that pretty much ended it. You seen that I give up, why did you take advantage?’ … He said he had to.’’

So now they will be back together and it raises a few questions:

Is wrastlng a pandemic-friendly activity?

What will coach Matt Patricia think?

“It is strange, it’s funny how things work out, who would’ve thought we’d meet again playing for the Detroit Lions and the first (game) we play together would be against the Vikings,’’ Peterson said. “It’s kind of cool, it’s funny how things come full-circle.’’

Meanwhile, the Lions (3-3) host the Indianapolis Colts (4-2) at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Ford Field.