Other than an opening drive of 12 plays and 75 yards by the Seahawks, the first half was mostly positive for the Lions. They went into the break with a 14-7 lead.
But the second half wasn’t as kind, and since the game eventually went to overtime, it took every single one of these moments to cost the Lions the game.
Here are the six that stood out to me.
David Montgomery fumble
Turnovers are always game-changing plays in the NFL, but the timing of Montgomery’s fumble was particularly damaging.
The Lions made two big stops right before halftime to preserve a 14-7 lead, and they got the ball first coming out of the break with a chance to extend that lead.
But the drive was over before it even began. Montgomery coughed it up on the very first snap, and two plays later, the Seahawks tied the game.
Seattle 4th down conversion
Right after the Lions re-took a 21-14 lead midway through the third quarter, the defense came one play away from getting the ball right back in Seahawks territory.
Seattle gained nine yards on its first three plays and faced a 4th and 1 on its own 41-yard line. Pete Carroll gambled and trusted Kenneth Walker III, who picked up the first down easily.
If the Lions had stuffed Walker, they would have needed just one first down to get into field goal range and make it a two-score game late in the third quarter. Instead, the Seahawks went down and kicked a field goal, sparking what would become a 17-0 run.
I don’t think many people will talk about that fourth down play when they revisit this loss, but it was definitely a turning point for the Seattle offense.
Turnover on downs
Last week, when the Lions were trying to close out the Kansas City Chiefs, Dan Campbell went for a fourth down near midfield and gave Patrick Mahomes a chance to win the game. His defense bailed him out, but it was an extremely risky call.
He took that same gamble Sunday, and this time, it came back to bite him.
Campbell elected to go for a 4th and 2 at midfield with the Lions up 21-17 at the end of the third quarter. Jared Goff’s pass to Josh Reynolds was incomplete, and the Seahawks converted that field position into a go-ahead touchdown.
The biggest play on that ensuing Seahawks drive: A 3rd and 10 at the 17-yard line. Jerry Jacobs gave Tyler Lockett way too much cushion, and Seattle converted easily. Two plays later, Lockett beat Jacobs again for the score.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. No single play was bigger than Goff’s pick-six.
While the Lions struggled to get any pressure on Smith despite the injuries to Seattle’s offensive line, it was pressure from the Seahawks that forced Goff to rush and throw behind Jahmyr Gibbs.
His first interception in 10 games was returned 40 yards for a touchdown that put the Seahawks up 10.
Lack of urgency
Down 10, the Lions kept fighting. They scored a touchdown on their next drive and then forced Seattle to punt with just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The offense took over at the 50-yard line with 1:44 remaining and all three timeouts.
And then... I really have no idea what the coaching staff was thinking.
The first play went for 12 yards. The second went for 11. But by the time Goff took the third snap from the 27-yard line, there were just 32 seconds left on the clock.
That time management was an abomination. No, you don’t want to give the Seahawks’ offense too much time if you score, but how can you even be worried about that when you have a chance to win the game? Score a touchdown, go up by four points, and worry about the rest later.
Instead, Campbell let the fear of the Seahawks possibly driving the length of the field in under a minute stop him from trying to win the game. The Lions went ultra conservative and gave themselves no chance to win in regulation, instead settling for a field goal as time expired.
Overtime coin flip
I’m only being a little sarcastic here, but the final moment that really burned the Lions was completely out of their control.
The NFL’s ridiculous overtime rule takes what should be an even playing field going into OT and puts a great amount of importance on an act of pure chance.
Seattle won the toss, took the ball, and never had to go on defense. The way the Lions defense played in the second half, it sure felt like the Seahawks would win if they got the ball first, and that’s exactly what happened.