Skip to main content

FOUR DOWNS: Lions eliminated from playoff contention


For the second year in a row, the Lions will be watching the playoffs and not participating in them after being officially eliminated from contention with Sunday's 14-13 loss to Buffalo, a loss that dropped their record to 5-9 on the year.

This season has not lived up to the expectation Lions general manager Bob Quinn set when he said a 9-7 record and missed playoff opportunity last season wasn't good enough.

Another season of missing the playoffs, and the frustration that comes with that, wasn't lost on the players after the game.

"It just sucks," veteran linebacker Devon Kennard said. "You play this game to be in the playoffs and try to win it all. To know that that's impossible it just sucks."

This will be only the second time in Matt Patricia's NFL coaching career he won't be involved in the playoffs. He's been every year with New England since 2004, except for in 2008, when the Patriots missed the playoffs with an 11-5 record.

"I don't like to lose no matter what time of year it is or whatever the situation is," Patricia said after Sunday's loss. "So, again, we're trying to compete and we're trying to win every single game we can. That's really, that's it."


It's always tough finishing out a season knowing there's nothing left to play for in terms of the playoffs, but Detroit still has two more games remaining. The players and coaches are professionals, and view that as two more opportunities to get better.

There are two more chances for players to improve their film resume, and as some veterans eluded to in the locker room Sunday in Buffalo, there's still a lot of pride on the line.

"Personally, I'm a competitor," Kennard said. "I want to go out there and beat the guy in front of me no matter what. I don't really change my approach on gameday at all, it just sucks."

There wasn't any player in the locker room Sunday thinking about draft position or tanking the final two games, though that will certainly be a topic for talk radio and other media outlets the next two weeks.

"We still have something to play for," safety Glover Quin said. "As a professional football player we're trying to go out and we're trying to win. We have a home game next weekend so we owe it to our fans to get the win. It's against a divisional opponent that we play twice a year so we're going to see those same guys next year. It will be good to get a win.

"The last game of the season is Green Bay, obviously we want to go out on a good note and take that momentum over into the offseason. We just have to focus on up and go out and play and get a win."


Wide receiver Kenny Golladay had a disappointing game in Arizona last week catching just two passes for a total of five yards. He knew he'd have to do much more Sunday in Buffalo against a Bills defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL against the pass.

Golladay proved to be a one-man wrecking crew for the Lions in Buffalo. He made contested catch after contested catch against the Bills, and set up both Detroit touchdowns with big receptions.

The Bills interfered with him. Didn't matter. He still made a 31-yard diving reception on a play Tre'Davious White was flagged for interference. Even when a Bills defender was in better position to catch the ball, Golladay simply took the ball away, like he did to Bills cornerback Levi Wallace for a 24-yard gain in the second quarter.

Golladay had four catches of 20-plus yards in the first half and his 115 first-half receiving yards were the most in a half for a Lions player since Calvin Johnson in 2014.

He finished with seven catches for 146 yards and now has 64 catches on the year and the first 1,000-yard season (1,005) of his career.

Golladay declined to comment after the game.


All three phases had a hand in Detroit's loss in Buffalo. The special teams missed a field goal and botched an extra-point snap. The offense couldn't come up with the drive it needed late to put them ahead. The defense, which has been the strength of this team over the last month and half, allowed two first downs and failed to get off the field and give the ball back to the offense late.

It's the latter that was probably the most surprising, though. Detroit's defense played well for most of the game, but wasn't able to make the plays at the end to help them win.

Detroit's defense allowed a 25-yard completion to midfield right before the two-minute warning on a 2nd and 9 play. They jumped offside on a 3rd and 7 that set up a 3rd and 2. Buffalo would end the game converting a 4th and inches two plays later.

"I don't think we accomplished anything we were supposed to do," defensive tackle Damon Harrison said. "At the end of the day, we had an opportunity to give the offense the ball back at the end of the game and didn't do that. Everything that we gave up today was self-inflicted."

Related Content