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.

Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay’s huge interception seals win over Chargers

DETROIT — Darius Slay rated it his second-best interception ever.

By going up and pulling the football away from Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen in the end zone with 1:10 left, Slay sealed the 13-10 win for the Detroit Lions.

Allen finished with eight catches for 98 yards, many of those yards coming with Slay covering him. 

“Oh man, he’s top five. He’s one of the best out here, best in the game. We were battling – back-and-forth, back-and-forth. (He) caught a couple passes, I made a couple break-ups. We know each other personally. We came out together,’’ Slay said. “It was a good battle. Good, friendly battle. We already knew what time it was. I was looking forward to this matchup just as much as he was. Now I just wish him the best the rest of this season.”

When he saw the ball coming into the end zone on that big play, Slay said, “That sh– mine, I saw that sh–, I said, ‘Oh this sh– mine.’ I’ve got to have that. He almost knocked it out but I got good hands, I’m a receiver.’’ 

He wasn’t surprised that quarterback Philip Rivers went to Allen on that third-and-19 play. 

“That’s his go-to guy, that’s his man. If I’m the quarterback I’m throwing to him too, I don’t care if he’s double-covered or triple-covered that’s my guy and I’m going to make sure to see if he can make a play. I just made one more play than he did,” Slay said.

The Lions defense held the Chargers scoreless in the second half.

“To hold them under 10 points is good. Man, Philip is an awesome quarterback, great  competitor. Before the game he sat there and told me, ‘Slay, it’s going to be early and often.’ So he already let me know it was going to be a competitive day,’’ Slay said. “I was prepared for it, he was prepared for it — I just made one more play at the end.’’

It wasn’t a perfect game for Slay. He was called for two defensive holding penalties in the second quarter (one was declined) and a big pass interference call in the third quarter in the end zone going up against Allen. He just had to get over those calls and he did.

 “I have to, because if I don’t, if I lose myself, I’m failing the team. I can’t do that. I have to stay on my grind, stay competing, because these boys look up to me and expect a lot out of me. I just try to go out and give them what I got,’’ Slay said.

A week earlier it looked like the defense let up in the fourth quarter trying (and failing) to hold onto a fourth-quarter lead at Arizona.

It was all different at Ford Field on Sunday.

“Last week we didn’t play all four quarters, but this week we did,’’ Slay said. “That’s why we got it done.’’

Detroit Lions safety Quandre Diggs is huge fan of Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers

Chargers visit Ford Field in home opener on Sunday

It’s difficult to find an NFL safety who will openly admit his admiration and love for a quarterback he will be facing on Sunday.

That’s just how it is with Lions safety Quandre Diggs who will be looking across the line of scrimmage at Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers on Sunday at Ford Field.

Diggs’ brother, Quentin Jammer, who played 11 seasons with the Chargers (2002-2012), is the connection.

“I’ve always been a Philip guy, that’s one of my brother’s favorite teammates, he’s one of my favorite quarterbacks. I just love his passion, I love everything about Philip,’’ Diggs said on Wednesday. “I’ve been watching Philip — he got drafted in ’04, he probably started in ‘06 or ‘07 — I’ve been watching him since.’’

Diggs wasn’t done.

“I freaking love, love Philip, I love everything about him. Great family man, great dude,’’ Diggs said. “Of course he’s met me a few times, when I was a young buck. The first time we played him I went up and just told him who I was, he said, ‘I know it.’  Me and my brother look alike so I’m sure it’s crazy for him.’’

Diggs’ first game as a rookie in 2013 was against the Chargers in the opener.

“It was at Qualcomm where I went to so many games watching my brother play. It’s going to be weird seeing those colors across from me,’’ Diggs said. “At the end of the day I’m a Detroit Lion and I love everything about it.’’

His brother will be at Sunday’s game.

“It will be dope for him to be around the game. He’s still around, he still goes to Chargers’ events — drives up to LA. It’s dope, man,’’ Diggs said. 

Rivers, who has nine kids, used to live down the street from Jammer.

“It’s crazy how these things work together. He was one of my brother’s favorite teammates. You can ask him right now who his favorite Charger is and he’s going to tell you Philip. He loves the guy, Philip loves him back and I love Philip,’’ Diggs said. “… I enjoy these moments from a kid watching him. In my mind he’s a Hall of Famer. Me growing up watching him, it’s amazing how it’s my turn to go up against him now.’’

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)