Game in, game out the Detroit Lions excel at shooting themselves in the foot. They did it again on Sunday in a 13-10 loss to the Browns at Cleveland.
With the loss, Detroit falls to 0-9-1 and must make a quick turn-around to face the Bears (3-7) on Thanksgiving.
First things first.
All the blame for the loss can not be placed on quarterback Tim Boyle. It was his first career start in the NFL. Penalties and befuddling play-calling played a huge role in the loss.
“I’m sure there were a lot of people who thought I was too conservative and maybe I ought to throw it a lot more but I’m not ready to do that with where we are here. … I think you’ve got to go where the game takes you,’’ coach Dan Campbell said.
The defense, however, came up big, shutting down the Browns in the second half. “I thought our defense played their hearts out,’’ Campbell said.
Five things to know:
1. The Lions had a chance to pull out a win. With 5:16 left in the game and down 13-10, the Lions had the ball on their own 40 after a beauty of a catch by T.J. Hockenson which was good for 24 yards. Then on first down, Jamaal Williams gets nothing, on second down Campbell calls a screen pass that did not fool the Browns defense and the Lions lose 4 yards. On third-and-14, it was a draw play for D’Andre Swift and he only gathered 5 yards. Game over once the Browns got the ball back and Nick Chubb just kept running.
2. The Lions finished with seven penalties for 67 yards. It was not just the number of penalties, on a Browns’ second-quarter drive Lions’ penalties on third and fourth downs kept their drive alive ending in a touchdown pass to Chubb. Oh, and between the third and fourth quarters Jonah Jackson was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. So the Lions were at first-and-25 instead of first-and-10 to start the fourth. Campbell said Jackson said something about somebody’s mother. He wasn’t more specific, but said there was a lot of talk going on.
3. The defense knew they had to stop running back Nick Chubb. The guy is a load, no doubt, but he carried the ball 22 times for 130 yards and scored with a touchdown reception. Detroit defense did keep the Browns off the scoreboard in the second half. Amani Oruwariye and A.J. Parker intercepted Baker Mayfield.
4. Tim Boyle gained some momentum as the game wore on, finishing 15 of 23 for 77 yards and two interceptions. This was his first NFL start and it showed. Campbell said it’s unclear if Jared Goff, who has an oblique injury, will be ready to play on Thursday. If he’s ready he will play. If Boyle gets the start again, the coach said he’ll be better noting how he improved between the first and fourth quarters. “He ran the offense well, we had no communication errors. … I’m not disappointed in the kid,’’ Campbell said, admitting Boyle was rusty since he hadn’t played since August.
5. D’Andre Swift was a machine again. The Lions’ only touchdown came when he broke open for a 57-yard run into the endzone in the third quarter. He had 14 carries for 136 yards. He became the first player in team history to produce a TD rush of 50-plus yards and TD reception of 50-plus yards in a season since Barry Sanders in 1997. He’s also only the fifth Lion to ever produce 125-plus rushing yards in consecutive games. Swift had 130 rushing yards last week in the tie with the Steelers.
UP NEXT: The Lions (0-9-1) host the Bears (3-7) on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. The Bears lost 16-13 to the Ravens on Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)