Up 13-0 at halftime on the road.
Ending with a 23-22 loss to Green Bay from a last-second field goal kick.
We all knew the inevitable was coming, we just didn’t like the ending of the movie this time.
The Lions loss against Green Bay marks the third game this season where the Lions had the lead going into the 4th quarter and squandered away the game.
It happened in week one against the Arizona Cardinals, where the Lions led 24-16 with one minute remaining in the game and still managed to blow it in overtime, resulting in a tie (which might as well count as a loss).
The second, against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago, up 23-20 heading into the 4th and lost 34-30. Now, the latest sequel to the film Lions must blow it, brings us to this week against the Packers.
Instead of holding this team accountable, what do ardent fans always do? Allow NFL commentators to gas our emotions and distract us from any culpability.
We get on social media, bitching and complaining about some questionable calls that didn’t go in our favor.
Blame the zebras.
The referees are the most convenient scapegoats when it doesn’t work out the way we had hoped it would.
Nevermind the fact that the Lions had several chances to convert for a touchdown, and settled for five field goals, in the red zone. Nevermind the fact that Green Bay retained possession for 33:04, while the Lions had the ball for 26:56.
The referees can’t make tight end T.J. Hockenson hold on to a dropped pass on 2nd-and-goal with 13:41 in the second quarter that would’ve put the Lions up 17-0. The referees can’t make Stafford overthrow a touchdown pass on the very next play. The referees can’t make Stafford get sacked three times by Green Bay’s incredible defensive line.
Give the Green Bay Packers their proper credit. They played a hell of a game and made a heroic comeback that playoff-caliber teams are capable of making.
“I think it equals out pretty good over the years,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said smugly, in a post-game response about “catching breaks” in reference to two penalities called on Lions defensive end Trey Flowers.
For all intents and purposes, the penalties called against defensive end Trey Flowers did not decide the outcome of the game. They did, however, provide momentum for the Packers to regain control, once and for all.
The first penalty called on Flowers was for an illegal use of hands to the face, which resulted in a 5-yard penalty. It gave Green Bay a chance to convert on 3rd-and-five. And they sure as hell did, with Aaron “badman” Rodgers slinging a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Allen Lazard. Still, it was 10 minutes remaining in the 4th and the Lions still had the lead, 22-20.
The second penalty against Flowers, another illegal use of hands to the face, happened with 1:34 left in the game. Green Bay ran the clock out and ended the game with a late field-goal kick by Mason Crosby.
The NFL play-by-play commentator crew emphatically opposed the ruling on the field. On the replay, it showed Flowers had his hands on the left shoulder of his opponent, both times, instead of the face as it was called by the refs.
Even so, that does not negate the fact that the Lions had plenty of chances to put the game away, where it wouldn’t have to come down to a late-game situation.
“Certainly we gotta get touchdowns and we gotta keep them out of them endzone on defense,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said after the game. “Red area execution has got to be at its highest, whether it’s communication, lineman, assignments…we certainly can’t go backwards on that aspect on offense and we can’t have penalties on defense.”
The Lions had a chance to be the team to defeat top-level quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers -and they didn’t. The referees didn’t stop them either. Their inability to score touchdowns, particularly in the 4th quarter, is what led to their demise.
The Lions haven’t earned the right to complain about questionable calls deciding their fate. Debating if the game is rigged is a futile argument, because chances are, we’ll all be watching again next Sunday against the Vikings.
The Lions have been the NFL laughingstock for almost too long that it’s no longer even funny. And in life, the laughingstock doesn’t get the same respect as everyone else.
It is a loser’s mentality to blame others for an inability to achieve success, especially when it slips away from the grip of your hands.
So was this game more about Aaron Rodgers heroism? The Refs? Or the Lions’ inability to score touchdowns? You be the judge.
-Lions held possession for 26:56
-Packers held possession for 33:04
-The Lions have now lost two straight this season
-The Lions have now lost or tied three games with the lead going into the 4th quarter
-The Lions slide to 4th in the NFC North at 2-2-1
-Matthew Stafford completed 18/32 of his passes
-Aaron Rodgers completed 24/39 of his passes
-The Packers move to 5-1 for first place in the NFC North