Lions' Collapse Starts Early
This time, the Detroit Lions didn't bother waiting until the fourth quarter to blow a double-digit lead.
The Lions scored touchdowns on their first two series to go ahead 14-3 against the Green Bay Packers but allowed that advantage to disintegrate by halftime. Detroit's 42-21 loss on Sunday came one week after the Lions fell 27-23 to Chicago after leading 23-6 at the start of the final period.
Detroit is the first team ever to blow double-digit leads to lose four consecutive games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"We can't ride the wave of the game," Lions coach Matt Patricia said. "We can't go up and down and be really high and something happens and then go really low and then try to pick it back up and then something good happens and go really high again. Just the ebbs and flows of the game, we've got to ignore that. We've got to stay consistent. We've got to not think about the end result before we get to the end result."
The Lions have lost 11 straight games overall for their longest skid since dropping 19 straight from 2007-09, which included an 0-16 season in 2008. After leading 14-3 on Sunday, the Lions gave up 31 straight points.
Detroit hasn't won at all since a 31-26 victory over the New York Giants on Oct. 27. The Lions ended the 2019 season by blowing a 10-0 lead in a 27-17 loss to Denver and squandering a 17-3 advantage in a 23-20 loss to Green Bay.
"We know what we did, we know what we've done in the past and at the end of the day, we're working to correct those mistakes and right those wrongs," running back Kerryon Johnson said. "That doesn't need to be said from anybody. We're all grown men. We all understand this is a grown man's game. We're going to go out there next week and we're going to try and get the job done again."
The Lions are hurting in every respect.
Detroit played Sunday without its top receiver (Kenny Golladay), two projected starting offensive linemen (guard Joe Dahl and right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai), two of their best cornerbacks (Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman), and one starting defensive tackle (Nick Williams).
The Lions' thin secondary made plenty of costly mistakes.
Detroit seemed likely to take a lead into the locker room when Green Bay got the ball at its own 38 with no timeouts and a minute left in the half while trailing 14-10. Lions safety Will Harris was penalized for unnecessary roughness and a horse-collar tackle on consecutive plays, putting the Packers in scoring position.
An 11-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Robert Tonyan put Green Bay ahead for good with 14 seconds left in the half. Detroit's Matt Prater sent a 57-yard field-goal attempt wide right as time expired.
On the first play of the second half, Aaron Jones scored on a 75-yard touchdown run as he got between Harris and Lions safety Duron Harmon.
The Lions gave up 259 yards rushing (7.4 per carry) Sunday after allowing the Bears to run for 149 yards last week. Jones rushed for a career-high 168 yards.
"We've got to do a better job in what we're doing right now, especially to come out and start the second half," Patricia said. "Those plays can happen when you've got a dangerous back like that, but we've got to do a better job of being ready to go."
The mistakes weren't limited to the defense.
Midway through the third quarter, the Lions were at their own 5-yard line when Matthew Stafford felt pressure from Rashan Gary and threw an interception that Chandon Sullivan returned 7 yards for a touchdown. The pick-six extended Green Bay's lead to 31-14.
"Obviously, a huge play in the game I can't make," Stafford said. "I've got to find a way to make sure that we're not giving up points there. If I have to throw an incomplete that looks horrible or find a way to get around and just get the ball out, I've got to do that."
After driving 75 yards on each of their first two possessions, the Lions gained a total of 67 yards over their next six series.
Just like that, another promising start went to waste.
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