Trying to find a silver lining after another crushing Detroit Lions meltdown

Lions blow 10-point lead in 4th quarter vs. Vikings

Running back Jamaal Williams #30 of the Detroit Lions reacts after running for a first down on fourth down in the second at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (STEPHEN MATUREN, 2022 Getty Images)

DETROIT – Well, the Detroit Lions did it again.

Just moments away from what would have been a monumental road victory against a division rival, the Lions did what they do oh-so-often: Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Dan Campbell and the Lions put on a masterclass of how not to close out a football game. After taking a 10-point lead late in the third quarter, they had chance after chance to put the Minnesota Vikings away. But they simply refused to do it.

We’ve seen some version of this story a thousand times. Call it a curse. Call it Same Old Lions. Call it whatever you want. Either way, it’s a demon that needs to be exorcised from this culture before anything can be accomplished.

Campbell is a young coach, yes, but soon he’ll need to start turning these postgame apology sessions into smarter crunch time decisions. No matter how likable he was on “Hard Knocks,” the Lions aren’t good enough to hand away wins. He needs to be better.

OK. Now, take a deep breath. Let’s look at the silver lining: The Lions appear to be much better than anyone expected.

While disappointing, Sunday was a third-straight data point suggesting the Lions might at last be a functioning professional football franchise. They put up 416 total yards, stopped the Vikings offense seven times (three punts, two missed 56-yard field goals, a fumble, and a turnover on downs), and converted four of six fourth-down attempts.

Jared Goff completed 25 of 41 pass attempts for 277 yards and a touchdown. His only interception came on a Hail Mary at the end of the game. Overall, he played fairly well.

Jeff Okudah shined against perhaps the best receiver in the NFL, Justin Jefferson, allowing just three catches for 14 yards.

The fact that the Lions went on the road and outplayed a division rival -- especially while their two best players, D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown, were dealing with injuries -- is a positive sign.

The question is whether Campbell, Goff, and the defense can figure out how to execute at the end of games. In the NFL, it matters little that you can build a lead if you don’t know how to close.

Through three weeks, the Lions have played toe-to-toe with the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, cruised past the Washington Commanders, and outplayed the second-best team in the NFC North. For a team that’s not expected to be a contender, it seems like Detroit is ahead of schedule.

There weren’t many positive signs at all during the Matt Patricia era, so let’s not run the current regime out of town just yet.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.