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GAME IN REVIEW: It seemed like every player pointed the finger at himself after Lions 27-24 loss

Posted Oct 20, 2013

It was a particularly difficult loss for the Lions as the Bengals booted a last-second, game-winning field goal

If the following question was posed to 100 football fans, a heated debate would probably ensue:

Which is more painful: a blowout loss or a down-to-the-wire loss?

On one hand, players don't want to be embarassed in a game they were never competitive in. On the other hand, losing a game when they were so close to winning is just about as tough as it gets.

The Lions experienced one of the latter in their 27-24 loss to the Bengals at Ford Field.

When Matthew Stafford was asked in his postgame press conference if this was one of the worst losses he's experienced in the NFL, he simply said, "Yep."

He left it at that.

"This one hurt ... This should hurt," said C Dominic Raiola. "There are no moral victories here anymore, we are beyond that. We are too good of a team to say, 'Aw man we were close. We were a field goal or a couple calls away.'

"It doesn't matter. We are too good of a team to do that."

Attention immediately goes to the Lions inability to put together a drive to win when they got the ball back with less than two minutes to play. Then after they were forced to punt at their own 23-yard line, P Sam Martin managed just a 23-yard punt out of bounds to put the Bengals at midfield.

"It could have been that play or it could have been another play, but that kick came down to that play at the end of the game," said Martin on how he moves on after the punt.

"That's what you see and that's the immediate thought. I don't think anyone is wrong for thinking that, I should have hit a better punt."

In fact, this game was filled with "what ifs".

"Martin's blunder was costly, certainly, but so was the front four's inability to get to Dalton and the secondary's failure to make a play in the back end, pretty much all day long," said Tim Twentyman on detroitlions.com.

"Dalton threw for a season-high 372 yards and three touchdowns and had a passer rating of 135.9. He was sacked just once. His favorite target on the day was All Pro receiver A.J. Green, who finished with six catches for 155 yards, including that 82-yarder on Houston on their first series of the game."

  • CB Chris Houston had a tough first half, giving up two touchdowns -- one to WR A.J. Green and one to WR Marvin Jones. Rookie CB Darius Slay replaced Houston to begin the third quarter.
  • "You have to try and remain confident," said Houston after the game. "That's why he took me out, let me get my head. Once you're getting double-moved week in and week out, it kind of slows your aggressiveness down.
  • "And then they just let me go out and get my head right and then let me come back in and be more aggressive."
  • After a phenomenal performance -- nine catches for 155 yards and two highlight-reel touchdowns -- WR Calvin Johnson declined talking to the media in the locker room after the game saying he'd, catch them "next time".
  • "For the Lions, 'next time' -- next week's game against the Dallas Cowboys -- cannot come soon enough," said Mike O'Hara on detroitlions.com. "Until then, they have to own up to the fact that the Bengals did enough to deserve to win. They didn't win on a referee's call or a weird bounce of the ball.
  • "When it came down to who could make the winning plays, the Bengals made them and the Lions didn't."
  • INJURY UPDATE: T Corey Hilliard (knee) and CB Rashean Mathis (groin) did not finish the game. T Riley Reiff injured a hamstring in the first half, but returned to the game once Hilliard went down. Hilliard is likely to have an MRI and more tests done on the knee Monday.

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