Blown Leads Send Lions Into NFL Record Books: 'We Keep Finding A Way'

They're finding different dead-ends every week.

Will Burchfield
November 28, 2019 - 6:43 pm
Coleman

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Say this for the Lions: they're good enough to grab a lead. And this: they're kind enough to give it right back. 

So it went Thursday against the Bears, and stop right here if you've read this before. Detroit had the game in its grasp -- up 17-7 in the first half, then 20-17 in the fourth quarter -- only to let it slip through their hands like a butterball turkey. 

Here's the tidbit you probably know: the Lions are one of only three NFL teams to lead in every game this season. The other two are a pair of Super Bowl contenders in the 49ers and the Chiefs.

But how about this? 168 teams in NFL history have held a lead in each of their first 12 games of a season; Detroit's 3-8-1 record is the worst of them all, according to STATS

"We just can’t finish right now," said Kenny Golladay. "It shows." 

And just like that, the Lions have been eliminated from playoff contention on Thanksgiving, in a season in which they were supposed to hang tough in the heavy-hitting NFC North. Thursday dropped them to 0-4 in the division. 

"Agh," said Darius Slay, shaking his head at the thought of all those blown opportunities. "Sh*t. It’s rough. We keep finding a way. We just have to break down the wall, man. That wall is right there and it’s just not moving. We just have to find a way to kick the wall down." 

Slay's right. Not that it's anything new, but the Lions are finding different dead-ends every week. And before we go any further, this is your last chance to turn around.

Detroit led 20-17 with 6:40 to go, with the Bears backed up on their own five-yard line. Two plays later on third-and-4, Mitch Trubisky found Anthony Miller for a 35-yard gain. It was Justin Coleman in coverage. Four plays after that on third-and-5, Trubisky found Miller for 32 more, all the way down to Detroit's two. It was Coleman in coverage again. 

"He made two good catches," Coleman said. "He got his hands on the ball, I wasn’t able to get it out, and that's good on their part." 

With 2:22 to play, Trubisky found a wide open David Montgomery in the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown.

But the Lions weren't lost yet, not for good. Third-string quarterback David Blough led them slowly to Chicago's 26 with time ticking down, then lofted a pass deep down the sideline for Danny Amendola. It fell right over Amendola's shoulder, where only he could grab it, and then clanged off his hands incomplete. 

"That’s a good pass, man," said Amendola. "Hit my hands, gotta catch it."

Two plays later, Blough was intercepted on a fourth down heave, and the Bears were out of the woods. 

It's astonishing, really, that the Lions can be so competitive and so incompetent. Good teams build leads in the NFL, and bad teams blow them. The Lions are both at the same time, but mostly the latter when it counts. So here they are through 12 games, with lead after lead and loss after loss, and without any answers for why they can't break through at the finish. 

"I mean, sh*t, that’s part of football," said Coleman. "They were able to make more plays than us. That’s why they came out with the win."

Same old story, same old sting. 

"It don’t matter how you lose, losing is losing," Coleman said. "Whether you get beat 40-to-nothing or lose by one point, you still lost -- and that sh*t hurts no matter what."