DETROIT - THE SETUP:
Coming off a dramatic come from behind victory in Atlanta that got them back to five hundred, this was a "Show Me" game for the Lions. Are they in control and able to gain momentum and continue to improve as they head into November as Matt Patricia always preaches. And could they pick up their first win at home in more than a year as they tried to win three in a row for the first time ever under Patricia? For Matthew Stafford this was an opportunity to, not only build on the 30th comeback victory of his career but to show that this team is finally in control and heading in the right direction.
DEFENSE TRAVELS ...
Indianapolis came into the game with the second-ranked defense in the NFL and it didn't take long to see why. The Lions only score in the first half came because special teams put the ball in Stafford's hands on a short field ... Marvin Jones is a not so secret weapon, but an off day (early drop) and an injury to Kenny Golladay provided Jones with more opportunities and he cashed in with his first TD of the day. But Detroit couldn't get much going against the aforementioned Colts defense, mustering just 80 yards in total offense in the first half as Indy dominated the time of possession battle 22:06 to 7:54.
BEATING THEMSELVES ...
It feels like a steady drumbeat for Patricia's Lions as they beat themselves with not only costly, but avoidable penalties, and on Sunday the Colts certainly took advantage of the Lions miscues. Danny Shelton's third-down unnecessary roughness flag in the second quarter would have forced Colts to punt, but instead, they get a first down, and two plays later Rivers and his offense took the 14-7 lead.
Stafford and company showed some life utilizing the hurry-up offense to get Prater into field goal position with five seconds left on the clock to end the first half, but a miss from their money kicker left Detroit trailing the Colts 20-10 at the half, after being held to just 80 yards of total offense in the first half. Things looked brighter for the Lions on the first drive of the second half as Stafford and company came out and executed a scoring drive to perfection the second half going 68 yards in 8 plays as Stafford took advantage of the Colts defense hitting Kerryon Johnson for the touchdown to cut the Indianapolis lead to six.
With a defense that holds teams to 19 points per game, and led the league in takeaways coming into Sunday's game, protecting the ball would be at a premium. the Lions did that well in the first half, but in the second half that all changed. With the Lions driving at the end of the third quarter, not only did Darius Leonard get to Stafford, but he took him down and knocked the ball loose and recovered his own fumble. Play of the game - maybe, but he needed his offense to turn that take away into points and that's exactly what Rivers did. Indianapolis won the turnover battle on Sunday and it cost the Lions 14 points.
BLOODIED AND BEATEN:
Stafford missed multiple throws today and by the end of the game, his frustration showed as he pounded his fist on the turf in the closing minutes of defeat and blood dripped down his left hand as he walked off the field. A three-game win streak was not in the cards for Detroit on this day and perhaps the biggest revelation was just how far their defense has to go after taking two steps forward in Jacksonville and Atlanta ... this crushing defeat was more than three steps back.
Final score from Ford Field, Indianapolis 41, Detroit 21. The Lions haven't won at home since October 27, 2019, against the Giants.
- Jennifer Hammond