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3 biggest reasons Lions lost to Raiders

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 03: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions runs with the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at RingCentral Coliseum on November 03, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

DETROIT – The Detroit Lions lost to the Oakland Raiders 31-24 Sunday. It was a back and forth game and the Lions had the chance to tie it but couldn’t score on 4th and goal late in the game. Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones had a great game for the Lions while the defense struggled again. It was another disappointing loss for the Lions in a game they really needed to win.

Here’s three reasons the Lions lost:

They turned the ball over: The Lions got the ball on the first possession of the game and were driving when they fumbled away a chance to score. It happened on a handoff to JD McKissic on Oakland’s 27-yard line. The Raiders recovered and scored on the ensuing drive to make it 7-0.

The next turnover happened in the 2nd quarter with the Lions winning 14-10. The Lions’ defense had just stopped the Raiders on 4th down. Again, the Lions looked in a good position to score after driving to Oakland’s 20-yard line. Then, Matthew Stafford threw an interception into the endzone. The Raiders would score on the ensuing possession to take a 17-10 lead.

That’s 14 points off turnovers where the Lions could have easily had at least 2 field goals. Losing the turnover battle often means you’ll lose the game, especially on the road.

The coaching: How the Lions play is becoming increasingly frustrating. The defense can’t consistently stop the other team, and the coaching staff seemingly doesn’t adjust. Fans and analysts thought the defense would be the strength of this team, but it’s turned out to be the weakness. Part of the blame is on Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni for not putting the players in a better position to succeed.

The offense also saw some peculiar coaching decisions in the second half. In the first half, the Lions were aggressive, just like we’ve seen in the last couple weeks. But in the second half, it was like they pulled back and ran the ball more, just like we’ve seemingly seen in the past few weeks.

Detroit went back to what was working when they needed a score to tie the game at 24. They also had a good drive on their last possession of the game, until their last play of the game.

The decision to take Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones off the field and bring in a heavy, multiple tight end set is a head-scratcher. The play call was also confusing, with only two tight ends going out for a pass with the game on the line.

Had it worked it would’ve been a great call. But, it didn’t and it confused fans as to why Golladay and Jones would come off the field. That’s part of this season’s story: the coaching isn’t good enough.

They didn’t make enough plays: Matthew Stafford had a good game and he, along with good game planning and play calling from Darrell Bevell, is the reason the Lions have been in every game they’ve played this year.

Stafford has had to be perfect for the Lions to win this year. In Sunday’s game he wasn’t perfect, and the Lions came up just short. There were the two turnovers and also a few missed throws in big spots.

In the 3rd quarter Stafford missed Kenny Golladay on a 3rd and goal throw from the 5-yard line. The Lions would kick a field goal to make it 17-17.

On two third downs in the 4th quarter Stafford picked the wrong receiver to throw to and missed the throws.

On defense, the Lions didn’t make many plays at all. They were able to get some big stops in the second half – including one to force a field goal attempt that was missed – and had one sack but that’s it.

A play that would’ve been huge late in the game was a dropped interception by Tavon Wilson. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs had a pass tip off his hands and Wilson was there to grab it, but it went off his hands, too. Oakland scored the game-winning touchdown the next play.