A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions’ debacle in Buffalo:
What it means: The Lions broke their own NFL record by losing their 25th consecutive game on the road, dropping to 2-7 amid the some of the most dreary circumstances of their season. The Bills, by the way, entered the game 0-8.
Cutting deeply: The Lions have lost some heartbreakers this season, but this one appears to have hit especially hard. Trailing 14-3, they scored nine points in the final 5 minutes, 53 seconds of the game. The Lions were in position to force overtime if they had converted a two-point play, but quarterback Shaun Hill couldn’t find an open receiver in the end zone. Afterwards, receiver Bryant Johnson tweeted “So frustrated and disappointed. Disgusted.” Johnson also apologized to Lions fans for the loss.
Ick and yuck: There has to be a level of self-destruction involved when you lose to an 0-8 team, and the Lions cooperated with 11 penalties. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News notes seven of those penalties were false starts or offensive holding. Early on, I was also questioning whether the Lions made the right decision in bringing back Hill a month after he fractured his forearm. Hill looked pretty rusty and inaccurate, but you can’t argue with the way he brought the Lions back in the fourth quarter.
Inefficient: How do you run up 390 yards and score only 12 points? You miss on 14 of 19 third-down conversions and don’t convert all of your field goal attempts. I don’t blame newcomer Dave Rayner for missing on a tough 49-yarder in the rain, but being perfect elsewhere is the only way to compensate for poor a poor performance on third down.
Ole! I hate to keep harping on Lions linebacker Julian Peterson, who seems like a nice enough fellow and was once a dominant player. But I don’t think he’s going to want to watch the film of his missed tackle on Fred Jackson’s 16-yard touchdown reception. Jackson slowed around the 10-yard line and then easily slipped through Peterson’s attempt at an arm tackle to reach the end zone.
What’s next: The Lions will play at the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.