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FOUR DOWNS: Lions struggle in fourth quarter in loss to Bears


The Detroit Lions have placed a huge emphasis on being able to finish football games and make plays in the fourth quarter that help separate wins from losses.

Detroit won just three of 11 games last year when winning or tied in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, that pattern reemerged Sunday, when Chicago scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to steal the win from the Lions.

"It starts with coaching, got to do a better job of coaching. That's me," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said after the game. "And we have to go execute out on the field as a team. It's not all on one person. There were a lot of plays out there where a lot of guys had chances, including the coaches, to do a better job. We have to coach better and play better in those situations."

The Lions' defense allowed those 21 unanswered points after holding a 23-6 fourth quarter lead. Detroit missed a field goal in the fourth quarter, and quarterback Matthew Stafford took a bad sack and threw a costly interception into double coverage with 2:45 left in the game. Both the missed field goal and interception gave the Bears great field position to assist in their comeback.

"We just have to execute better," Stafford said after the game. "When you look at it that's the name of the game in the fourth quarter. We didn't do it enough last year and we didn't do it obviously enough today."

View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears Week 1 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020 in Detroit


Running back D’Andre Swift had an opportunity to catch a game-winning touchdown in the final seconds Sunday, but the ball slipped through his fingers. It's obviously a tough moment for the rookie, who also had a 1-yard touchdown run in the game.

Patricia walked up the tunnel after the game with his arm around Swift, telling him that many plays led up to the final score, not just his drop at the end.

Lions veteran running back Adrian Peterson said teammates were quick to console Swift at his locker after the game. Peterson said he thinks the young rookie runner will be better in the long run having gone through something like this.

"I just pulled him to the side and told him, 'Hey, it's all about how you respond to this. Don't let this get you down,'" Peterson said. "I can imagine how he feels in that situation, how he must feel. But at the end of the day, what he showed me today, is that he's going to be able to help us. He's going to win games for us going into the season.

"Just keep your head up, man. We have 15 more (games), and at the end of the day, do not let this bother you. Do not let this linger."

Stafford said he's confident Swift will turn the page rather quickly.

"There's so many plays in this game that caused it to go the way that it went," Stafford said. "That's one of them. There's plays that we all wish we had back. I can't turn the ball over in the fourth quarter, there's no question about that. It's on everybody. We're all there to pick him up and go from there."


One of the real positives to take from Sunday's loss for the Detroit Lions is the play of Peterson, who rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries (6.6 average) in the first game of his 14th NFL season at age 35.

The Lions signed Peterson earlier this week after he was released by Washington, and it was uncertain how much the Lions would lean on him in Week 1. It turns out they'd turn to him a lot. His 14 rushing attempts led the Lions. His first carry was 19 yards, and he had a couple nice 14-yard scampers in the fourth quarter.

"I felt good in the offense," Peterson said after the game. "Just being out there in some live action against an incredible defense, let's not take anything away from those guys."

Peterson also said there were some opportunities he left on the field that he thought could have changed the outcome of the game -- A cut here or there that could have led to bigger plays or more points.

"There are some things I need to clean up and we need to clean up as an offense," Peterson said.


Lions veteran linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. was ejected from the game early in the second quarter after contacting an official with his helmet.

It looked like Collins was trying to demonstrate to the official how Bears running back David Montgomery lowered his helmet and used the crown of his helmet to contact him on the previous play, and in doing so, made contact with the official with his helmet, which is not allowed. The NFL rules state that a player who contacts an official is subject to ejection.

The Lions pool reporter for home games, Paula Pasche, spoke to referee Alex Kemp after the game.

"No, players are allowed to touch officials, put a hand on your shoulder, or something of that nature," Kemp said when asked if it mattered if it was intentional contact or how hard or soft the contact is.

"But unnecessary contact with a game official – it's Rule 12-3-1-E (Unnecessary physical contact with a game official. Under no circumstance is a player allowed to shove, push, or strike an official in an offensive, disrespectful, or unsportsmanlike manner. The player shall be disqualified from the game) – covers unnecessary contact to a game official. So, that's what I went with."

The officials huddled and talked it over for a bit after it happened, and gave Collins an unsportsmanlike penalty and ejected him from the game. Collins had three tackles, a quarterback hit and a pass defended at the time of his ejection.

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