"We’ve given up five non-defensive scores in the last two weeks,” Schwartz said after the game. “We’re 1-3 right now because we deserve to be 1-3 and that’s part of the reason.
“Two defensive pass interference penalties set up their only scores. Five or six sacks; we couldn’t run the ball against good looks to run the football. We dropped touchdown passes and we fumbled the ball in the plus territory. And that’s why when I say we deserve to be 1-3, those are the reasons.”
Schwartz is right, the Lions did more to lose Sunday’s game than they did make plays to win it, and now have some major questions to ask themselves heading to a bye week in last place in the NFC North.
“It's not finding the formula - because we've got the formula, we have the technology in this room to win,” said Lions receiver
“(1-3) should definitely do that and this break should do that. This team has two weeks to think about how terrible we feel. I want the emotions to hit everybody. I want us to sit back and not enjoy our Bye."
All three phases of the game let the Lions down in some way, shape or form Sunday, but the most egregious indictment on the Lions performance has to fall on the shoulders of the Lions special teams, who for a second consecutive week, gave up a kickoff return and a punt return for the games only touchdowns.
“They’re physical mistakes, they’re not mental mistakes,” Schwartz said of his special teams.
According to Stats LLC, the Lions became the first team since at least 1940 to give up both a kickoff return touchdown and punt return touchdown in back-to-back games.
For a third straight week, the Lions offense couldn’t capitalize in the red zone or gold zone and had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. Over the last three weeks -- all Lions losses -- kicker
“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Lions quarterback
“We deserve our record, obviously. We are what we are. Got a bye week coming up – got to do what we need to do to rectify some things and find a way, on offense, to get the ball in the end zone and win some games.”
The offense didn’t get much going on the ground and were plagued by dropped passes. Receiver
It’s the second consecutive week Pettigrew has dealt with drops.
The Lions didn’t score their first offensive touchdown until a Stafford 1-yard dive with 2:56 left in the game that trimmed the Vikings lead to 20-13. The defense then did their job and got the ball back to the offense with 1:53 remaining, but Stafford and the offense had to navigate 98 yards in less than two minutes to try and score, which they couldn’t do. The game ended on a Stafford sack.
In all Stafford was sacked five times as the Vikings clearly won the battle upfront.
“We got our butts kicked upfront,” Schwartz said after the game.
The Lions were given favorable seven-man boxes to run against all afternoon, as the Vikings played their safeties back to prevent the big pass play, and yet the Lions had only 55 yards rushing.
Stafford finished 30-of-51 passing for 319 yards and one rushing touchdown.
The defense played the best of any unit, not allowing a Vikings offensive touchdown, but they didn't make a game-changing play with the offense struggling and did allow Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to rush for 102 yards on 21 carries.
The Lions also got off to a less than auspicious start.
The Vikings set the tone for this one right away when they opened with a 105-yard kickoff return touchdown on a play where returner Percy Harvin wasn’t even touched. It was eerily similar to the kickoff return touchdown the Titans had against the Lions in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss.
The Lions offense was then stalled right before the Vikings red zone and they had to settle for a 40-yard Hanson field goal.
Their inability to cover on special teams cost them a game in Tennessee last week, and their propensity to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns have cost them the last three weeks now.
“Just not executing well enough,” Stafford said. “Got a good plan. Whether it’s me missing guys open or us not being efficient enough in the run game or guys not making plays that they came make – it’s all the way around. It’s the whole team.
“Guys just not making plays that we can make. Guys have got to start playing to their potential and playing to their expectations – it starts with me. I’ve got to play better.”
The Lions trailed 13-6 at the half, the fourth consecutive week they’ve trailed at the half.
It went from bad to worse early in the second quarter when a three-and-out for the Lions offense forced a punt and Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels returned it 77 yards for a touchdown. The two return touchdowns were the only two for the game for the Vikings.
Like Schwartz said, the Lions deserve to be 1-3, it’s now a question of how they dig themselves out of the hole they’ve created for themselves.
“The first quarter of the season is done; we’re 1-3,” Schwartz said. “There is nothing to say that we can’t get it back and that’s our challenge right now is to dig our way out of this.”