No Satisfaction For Snacks After Season-Opening Tie: "It's A Loss"

Once again, he shouldered the blame for the result.

Will Burchfield
September 09, 2019 - 7:57 pm

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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It was a "tricky day" at the Lions headquarters following Sunday's tie against the Cardinals, said Matt Patricia, because ties are always tricky. The Lions are at once undefeated and winless. 

To Damon Harrison, it's not so ambiguous. The Lions are 0-1. 

Asked how much the 27-27 tie feels like a loss, Harrison said, "That’s exactly what it is, it’s a loss. You can’t look at it any other way. We didn’t get a point in the win column, so for us it’s a loss." 

Blowing an 18-point fourth-quarter lead will have that effect. It obscures whatever positives happened beforehand, like the fact Detroit's defense dominated for much of the game and looked like the top-10 unit it has the potential to be. 

Can Harrison appreciate how well they played for the first three quarters?

"Not at all, not at all. Because, again, we didn’t come out with a win. So I don’t think anybody should be feeling good," he said. 

Harrison was particularly down after the game, calling himself out for a poor performance and taking blame for the result. He said he was "dominated" by the Cardinals' offense. 

That was an overstatement, but the star nose tackle holds himself to an extremely high standard. 

"Anytime we don’t come out with a win and we have the type of defensive performance that we had, I feel like it’s on me," Harrison said. "I got broad shoulders, I can take the blame." 

After practicing sparingly throughout training camp and playing only one game in the preseason, Harrison was held to 27 snaps on Sunday. He averaged about 35 last season with the Lions. Though he did knocked down two passes, he finished with just one tackle and felt he wasn't "my usual productive self."

"That’s what I meant by dominated," he said. "They didn’t do anything to take me out of my game or physically dominate me. Any time I don’t have the production that I’m used to having, I feel like I let the team down. I feel like 'dominated' was a bad choice of words."

The flow of the game dictated Harrison's snap count, too. With the Cardinals throwing the ball frequently as they mounted their fourth quarter rally, the Lions went heavy with pass rushers. Kyler Murray made mention of Harrison's absence late in the game, which Harrison caught wind of on Monday. 

"He said what everybody else already knew. I wasn't out there much in the fourth quarter because I wasn't in the defensive sets that were out there on the field. We had an 18-point lead, we had our defensive guys on the field to try and preserve the lead. It wasn’t a situation where I was tired. I played (27) snaps," said Harrison. 

After holding the Cardinals to 2.2 yards per play over the first three quarters, the Lions allowed 7.2 in the fourth. They appeared to go into prevent mode -- though Patricia disputed that on Monday -- which allowed Arizona to start picking up first downs. Harrison said it came down to mental mistakes. 

"Mental errors, that's all it was," he said. "It wasn't anything they were doing, it was all on us."

As for how to correct them, Harrison said, "Just try to lock in. Anything that you did in the fourth quarter that you could have done better, those are the plays that you focus on the most, not so much the positive plays. It was just mental mistakes that we can’t have again." 

It won't get any easier for the Lions in Week 2, as they welcome in a Chargers team that went 12-4 last year and put up 30 points in a season-opening win over the Colts. For the Lions, that will make it easier to turn the page. 

"The Chargers are coming in the building and they don’t care about what happened last week," said Harrison. "They're trying to get a win just like we are. We have to put that game behind us and learn from it quickly."