Head coach Dan Campbell still seemed bothered by his team's latest performance when he spoke to the media Monday to kick off Week 17 preparations for the Chicago Bears.
In Detroit's 37-23 lopsided loss to the Panthers, Campbell saw a lack of aggressiveness and what he called a lack detail, discipline and finish. After watching his team play pretty good complementary football over their 6-1 stretch heading into last weekend, he lamented the fact that wasn't the case Week 16 with so much on the line.
"Look, I'm just going to say this again, it stings," he said. "It's awful. But man, it's the best thing that could happen to us because I think no matter who you are, in whatever you do, some of your best work is when you get your face kicked in.
"When your back is against the wall and you get trotted on and everything is at its worst, either you stay down there, or you get up, and you come back motivated and upset with calculated energy and aggression, and man, you go and there is a purpose. And so, I think this is the best thing for us."
A new week brings new opportunity for this young Lions team that missed out on a chance to snag the last wild card spot in the playoffs and control their own destiny the final two weeks with a win Saturday. Now they'll have to do it the hard way, which certainly isn't foreign to this group this season. Nothing has come easy after putting themselves in a 1-6 hole to start the season, but this team fought their way back from that terrible start to reel off six of their next seven and put themselves back even.
Now faced with adversity once again after two months of pretty smooth sailing, how will this coaching staff and young team respond with a playoff berth still in sight, though no longer in their control alone?
Campbell didn't refer to Saturday as a loss, he called it a setback in the way his team was thoroughly dominated. The Panthers set franchise marks for total offense (570) and rushing yards (320). It was a bitter pill to swallow after two months of progress. Now the big question is how will they respond.
Campbell seemed excited in a way to find out that answer for himself. It will say a lot about this group. But rest assured, Campbell will do everything in his power this week to steer his crew in the right direction.
"Everything that can be perceived as a negative, you have to be able to get something out of it," he said. "If you don't, then you really aren't growing and learning and making the most of the situation at hand.
"Look, it is what it is. That happened. It happened for a reason. We weren't ready, which falls on me. I'm going to have them ready this week. And so, it's all about how we respond, and that's the beauty of it, everything, it's in our hands how we want to handle this. We'll be ready for this one."