Why didn’t Detroit Lions go for the win? Where’s the holding penalty? Answering 15 fan questions

Fans frustrated with defense, clock management, officiating, Mahomes commercials

Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter in the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 17, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus, 2023 Getty Images)

DETROIT – Whether it’s Dan Campbell’s decision making, the defensive play calling, officiating, or all the Patrick Mahomes commercials, Detroit Lions fans have plenty of frustrations after the loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Lions fell to 1-1 on Sunday with a disappointing home loss to the Seahawks. We asked viewers for some questions, and you had a lot of them.

NOTE: Some viewer questions have been slightly edited for clarity.

Where was the defense? Was this a scheme issue?

  • Asked by: Robert D., Kenneth T., and Dave V. on Facebook

There were times Sunday when I felt like FOX was airing a replay of last season’s Seahawks game, when the Lions didn’t force a single punt. The defense from the first half of last year showed up, and it was not pretty.

Aaron Glenn has taken a lot of criticism for his mentality on zone coverage over the years, but for me, this game came down to one problem.

You 👏 have 👏 to 👏 get 👏 pressure 👏 on 👏 the 👏 quarterback.

The Lions were playing against two backup offensive tackles and still couldn’t make Geno Smith even remotely uncomfortable. I don’t care if you’re playing Tom Brady or Joey Harrington -- NFL quarterbacks will make you pay if you don’t get any pressure.

Aidan Hutchinson was one of the best players on the field against Kansas City, but this weekend, he was almost nonexistent. Yes, teams are using tight ends and extra linemen to chip him and slow him down, but that means someone else should be freed up to get in the backfield.

Glenn can play man-to-man, zone, or glue his defensive backs to the wide receivers for all I care -- it doesn’t matter. If the Lions don’t get pressure, they won’t get stops.

Should holding have been called on the final play?

  • Asked by: Eileen S., Aaron A., Jason W., Jenny S. and many others on Facebook

Short answer: Yes. What Jake Curhan did to Hutchinson on that play would be a felony in like 47 states. I’m not sure how the officials missed it.

Refs hate calling holding penalties on game-defining plays, but that definitely should have erased the Seahawks touchdown and forced them back to the 16-yard line. Honestly, the way the Lions defense was playing, I think they would have scored anyway, but it was still a terrible missed call.

I can’t get overly upset about that call because of the real reason I think the Lions lost: the way they handled the end of regulation. (Which leads to our next question...)

Why did we play for OT at the end with three timeouts, good field position, and plenty of time?

  • Asked by: Evan P. on Facebook (and ErinElissa D., Brenda J., Sharon D., Michael P., Liane S., and Michael E.)

Evan, that’s a great question. It was the No. 1 thing that stood out to me from Sunday’s game. I don’t have a good answer for you, but we can be angry together, and sometimes that helps.

If you want to read my full rant about the way the final possession was handled, click here. If not, I’ll summarize.

I don’t understand how a team that’s defined by its aggressive mindset can be so passive with the game on the line. The game was in the hands of the offense, which is exactly what the Lions should have wanted. With the way they managed the clock, they took the game out of the offense’s hands and placed their fate on a coin flip.

Seahawks fans must have been so happy when they saw the Lions draining the clock. They knew they dodged a bullet.

Campbell literally won the Kansas City game because of a fake punt on his own 17-yard line. How can he turn around a week later and cost himself a game by playing scared and settling for a field goal?

Why do we need to go for every 4th down?

  • Asked by: Steve S. on Facebook

Steve specifically wanted to know why the Lions go for every fourth down that’s less than three yards, but let’s be honest: Campbell isn’t afraid to go for it when the yardage is even longer.

His mentality is that he trusts his offense, and I think part of him knows he’s playing with fire if he keeps giving opposing teams chances against his defense.

So far, the Lions are 2-for-6 on fourth-down attempts. Both conversions led to touchdown drives, but on Sunday, one of the failed attempts was the Lions’ undoing.

Campbell wants to be aggressive, and the fan base has supported that mentality. Analytics back up a lot of his risky decisions, too. But those fourth-down plays near midfield haven’t worked out so far and might need to be reevaluated.

What are the Lions going to do to toughen up the secondary?

  • Asked by: Frank R. on Facebook

Well, it certainly doesn’t help that C.J. Gardner-Johnson might be out for the entire season. He was probably the toughest of the bunch, and he was definitely their emotional leader.

The Lions desperately need Emmanuel Moseley to make his Lions debut now that Gardner-Johnson is out. Cam Sutton has been solid so far, but Jerry Jacobs is struggling. Badly.

The amount of space Jacobs gave Tyler Lockett on that 3rd and 10 in the red zone before the go-ahead touchdown tells me he had no confidence he could stay with him. When a cornerback loses confidence, it’s not a good sign -- just look at how the Seahawks went right back to Lockett for the score two plays later.

Brad Holmes did all he could to shore up the secondary this offseason, signing Sutton, Moseley, and Gardner-Johnson during free agency and drafting Brian Branch. But injuries have already undone a lot of that work. This might be a weakness of the team again.

Is Darrell Taylor of the Seahawks the new Claude Lemieux? What was up with that late hit on Goff?

  • Asked by: Paul C. on Facebook

Guys, don’t be mad at me, but I actually think Taylor thought he sacked Goff. Seriously. The way he got up and celebrated, he genuinely thought Goff still had the ball.

I know, that’s really dumb. But watch it again. He had no idea that Kalif Raymond was already 10 yards downfield with the ball.

When FOX showed the replay from the camera angle behind Taylor, you could kind of understand why he thought Goff still had the ball at first, but by the time he blasted him in the back, Goff was putting his his hands down, and there was no ball there. Definitely a penalty. Definitely a bad look.

But I think he might have been more clueless than vicious.

Why different OT rules for postseason and regular season? It doesn’t seem fair that the second team doesn’t get a possession.

  • Asked by: Mark L. on Facebook

I hate the NFL overtime rule. At this point, the refusal to change it is just blind stubbornness.

In a league where every week can be the difference between making the playoffs and getting left out, there’s no way games should be decided by a coin flip. Offense dominates this sport -- the team that gets the ball first has a huge advantage.

If the Lions had won the coin flip, I think they would have won the game. It’s ridiculous that this problem hasn’t been fixed.

Thanks a lot, Mark. You got me all fired up.

Why did that last touchdown count when the ball touched the upfield side of the pylon but didn’t cross the goal line?

  • Asked by: Barb P. on Facebook

Here’s how the rule is written: “A touchdown is scored when a ball in player possession touches the pylon, provided that, after contact by an opponent, no part of the player’s body, except his hands or feet, struck the ground before the ball touched the pylon.”

It seems weird, because the placement of the pylon means that the side furthest from the field is actually a couple of inches out of bounds.

Why is that a touchdown? I’m guessing the NFL likes the drama of a player diving and stretching out to try to bang the ball off the pylon. It also makes the rule black and white, instead of a judgment call, which is good.

I don’t think we should be worked up about this, because the Seahawks would have easily scored from an inch away if the ball was marked short.

What is the plan for Jahmyr Gibbs?

  • Asked by: Stuart S. via email

The injury to David Montgomery might expedite their plan, but the Lions openly said they want to slow play Gibbs until they think he’s ready to take on a larger role.

He already has 116 yards on 14 carries and nine catches, so it’s not like he’s been invisible. But since he was drafted in the first round, fans want to see him featured more -- I get it.

Gibbs had a really big drop right before halftime that probably cost the Lions a chance to go down and score. Little mistakes like that don’t do him any favors with the coaching staff. He’ll have a chance to gain trust in the short-term, though, assuming Montgomery misses some time.

Can we keep Dan as a motivator and hire a decision maker?

  • Asked by: Joshua M. on Facebook

Everyone was so supportive of Campbell when his gambles helped the Lions beat the Chiefs, but now they’re jumping ship?

He should definitely reassess exactly which situations warrant risks and which don’t, but overall, I’d rather have someone like Campbell than someone who punts on 4th and 2 from the other team’s 40-yard line.

Now, the clock management... that needs some work.

Do we have a punter?

  • Asked by: Matt W. on Facebook

I know Matt is poking fun at Campbell for all the fourth-down calls, but just in case anybody doesn’t know: The Lions do have a punter! He’s a gentleman by the name of Jack Fox, and he’s very good.

In six attempts, Fox averages 45.8 yards per punt, including a net of 43.2 yards (punt distance minus return yards). He’s pinned three of them inside the 20-yard line.

Here’s a link to buy his jersey, Matt. Hope this helps.

Why was every product being sold on TV being pushed by Mahomes?

  • Asked by: Christine E. on Facebook

There’s no escape. I noticed when the Lions were playing the Chiefs: We saw Mahomes on the field whenever the Lions were on defense. We constantly got split-screen views of Mahomes on the sideline when the Lions were on offense. And we heard Mahomes talking to Jake from State Farm during every commercial break.

Did you know he’s a bath bomb guy?

Why didn’t Geno Smith know the ref was talking to America?

  • Asked by: Christina P. on Facebook

This is a great question. The ref’s lips were moving, sound was coming out, and he was looking mysteriously off into the distance like refs do when they announce penalties.

If Geno couldn’t tell that ref was busy, what’s he been doing all these years while officials announce calls? Oh yeah, I forgot, the Seahawks don’t get called for penalties.

Why is the food at Ford Field so unhealthy?

  • Asked by: Ann H. on Facebook

I think the Bloody Marys have a pickle in them. That’s healthy, right?

What’s amazon’s return policy on used blue ski masks?

  • Asked by: J2 The Max on Twitter

You can return items within 30 days of delivery, and I don’t believe those masks are on the cannot-return list (hold up, people buy live insects on Amazon?).

So if you want, maybe you can wear it to the Falcons game this weekend before making a decision. But do the next buyer a favor and wash it first. Those things are sweaty. Ford Field must have smelled awful.

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.