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FOUR DOWNS: Lions need to find a way to finish games


Wide receiver Kenny Golladay stood in front of his locker after Monday's 23-22 loss in Green Bay on a last second Mason Crosby field goal and told reporters that this Lions team needs to find a way finish football games.

"Just missed opportunities," said Golladay, who finished with five catches for 121 yards on the night. "We have to find a way to finish. That's a big part of it, we need to find a way to finish. We left a lot of points out there."

Detroit's offense got the ball into the end zone just once, and had to settle for five Matt Prater field goals in the contest. On the road, against Aaron Rodgers, that's a recipe for disaster.

It wasn't just on the offense, however.

Green Bay was able to milk the final six minutes and 46 seconds off the clock, moving down the field to get into position to kick a game-winning 26-yard field goal as time expired with the defense not being able to make a stop.

It was the same thing two weeks ago in a close loss to Kansas City, with the offense mishandling scoring opportunities and the defense unable to make a late stop with the lead.

Detroit finished late in wins vs. Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Chargers.

They didn't in the tie with Arizona and the losses to KC and now Green Bay.

Somehow, someway, Detroit has to find a way to make more of the plays late in the game that get them on the right side of the scoreboard.


Lions head coach Matt Patricia couldn't have liked the fact that his offense went 3-for-13 on third down Monday night and were forced to kick five field goals.

But, if you have to kick them, you better make them.

Kicker Matt Prater was up to that task, hitting from 26, 22, 41, 51 and 54 yards. The 51 and 54-yarders were the 49th and 50th of his career from 50-plus yards. He is now 50-of-65 on field goals from 50-plus yards, good for an NFL-record 76.9 conversion percentage.

On the year, Prater is now 12-of-14 kicking field goals and 11-of-12 on extra point tries.

It's not ideal sending out the field goal kicker, but at least when Prater is called upon, he's proving once again he's one of the steadiest and most consistent in the league.


Detroit was just 1-for-3 in the red zone in Green Bay.

Two weeks ago in a loss to Kansas City, the Lions were 3-of-6. That's just four touchdowns in nine trips to the red zone in two consecutive games where the margin of loss combined was five points.

"In the red area execution has to be at his highest," Patricia said. "Whether it's communication, alignments, whatever it is, assignments, we certainly can't go backwards from that aspect on offense, and can't have penalties on defense. We have to clean that up."

According to Golladay, everyone has to take a long look at themselves to fix the problem of too many points being left on the field early on this season for the Lions. .

"It's really everyone doing their part," he said. "It's not focused on one person. Everybody doing their part."


It was just one penalty in a number of penalties the Lions will look back on and wonder, "what if?"

What if Green Bay had kicked that little chip-shot field goal in the second quarter after the Lions had forced an incompletion in the end zone on 3rd and 5? Instead of a short try and still potentially holding onto a double-digit 13-3 lead, the Lions had 12 men on the field.

Yellow flag.

Five free yards.

Another chance for Aaron Rodgers to score.

It's not advisable to give Rodgers extra chances to score. The Lions did, and Rogers found Jamaal Williams for a 5-yard score two plays later. Instead of 13-3, it was 13-7, and the Packers went on to win 23-22.

Those four extra points proved to be very costly.

"Yeah, we have a couple different calls in that situation, one of the guys didn't get the communication," Patricia said. "We have to get that fixed and make sure that doesn't happen. We can't give Aaron Rodgers another chance."

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