In a season filled with missed opportunities and plenty of goals left unfulfilled, Sunday’s loss to the Bears left everyone involved a little unfulfilled.
The Lions were left playing the role of spoiler vs. Chicago and trying to get a couple individual records that could have potentially shed a small ray of positive light on an otherwise dreary season.
Consider the Lions 0-for-3 on those goals Sunday.
First, they lost the game, 26-24, which kept the Bears playoff hopes alive.
“It’s a hell of feat getting to where we got to,” Johnson said after the game. “So I’m not disappointed as far as that goes.”
It’s almost fitting the Lions came up a little bit short in all three goals for the way this season has gone.
Trying to explain away 4-12 will take a pretty big note pad and possibly a pencil sharpener. There’s no one simple explanation for the Lions’ eight-came collapse to end the season, but turnovers is a pretty good place to start.
“The biggest story this year in my mind is turnovers,” said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz after watching his team turn the ball over four more times in a 26-24 loss to Chicago.
“And not only not getting them on defense … last year I think we were near the top in the NFL in points off of turnovers. We fumbled … and I know we fumbled three times today … but we fumbled just about the same number of times this year as opposed to last year. But we lost more. I’m certainly not blaming it on the bounce, but the ball didn’t bounce out way."
The Lions finished with a minus-16 turnover ratio.
They finished last year's 10-win season with a plus-11 ratio, the fourth-best in the league.
“Minus-four, minus-three the last two weeks. That’s the story,” Schwartz said. “Turnovers are definitely a big story.”
The Lions didn’t do enough to force them, either. They finished as the only team in the NFL without a return touchdown of any kind (interception, fumble, punt or kickoff return).
“There’s no excuse made,” Stafford said of the turnovers. “We either threw it to the other team or fumbled it and let them get it, whatever it was.
“It’s something that we’ve got to be more cognizant of especially in key games like this.”
DEFENSE IN THE RED ZONE
The Lions offense didn’t do the defense any favors Sunday by turning the ball over four times and giving the Bears four short fields to work with from the Lions’ 24, 23, 13 and 10-yard lines.
The defense gave up only one touchdown on those four possessions, though.
It’s really what kept the game close in the end.
The only touchdown the Lions gave up Sunday in the red zone was following a pass interference penalty on
Without the penalty, the Lions would have shut the Bears out in the red zone and potentially won the game.
For as many problems as the defense has had this season, their play in the red zone was superb Sunday.
“I think we got a little too comfortable with last year’s playoff (game),” he said. “I say we’ve just got to continue to work hard and not get too comfortable. Make the plays we’re supposed to make.”
Delmas went on to say that he saw teammates get too complacent after it became apparent the Lions had nothing more to play for.
“When we started going down the drain, 4-10 … 4-and-whatever. That’s when I started to notice,” he said.
That has to be a bit of a scary admission for Lions coaches and front office personnel who have a lot of roster decisions to make this offseason.