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FOUR DOWNS: Red-zone woes hurt Lions in loss to Bears


Coming into Sunday's contest in Chicago, Detroit was one of the better red zone scoring teams in the NFL, converting touchdowns on seven of the eight times they reached the opponent 20-yard line in the first three contests.

It was a much different story in Sunday's 24-14 loss to Chicago.

Detroit reached the red zone in each of their first three possessions and came away with zero points. On the first possession, Lions quarterback Jared Goff wasn't expecting a shotgun snap from Frank Ragnow that bounced off his shoulder pads and into the hands of Bears defensive tackle Bilal Nichols.

Detroit's second possession ended at the Bears' 5-yard line on a failed 4th and goal pass attempt that was deflected.

Detroit's third possession also reached deep into Bears' territory, but again, Detroit turned the ball over when Goff was sacked and stripped of the ball by Robert Quinn, which was picked up by Khalil Mack. Detroit trailed 14-0 at the half.

Detroit finally scored in the red zone late in the third quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Goff to wide receiver Kalif Raymond. It was Detroit's 15th snap in the red zone before scoring.

The Lions finished 1-for-5 in the red zone with two turnovers and two failed fourth-down attempts.

"We need a lot of third-down work and we need a lot of red-zone work," head coach Dan Campbell said after the game. "That's what we're going to start focusing on. We need to do a ton of work down there. We need some of these third downs, fourth downs, got to have it in the red zone.

"We need work and if we have to do three days of it this week that's all we'll do."


Veteran wide receiver Kalif Raymond had a really nice game for the Lions for a second consecutive week.

Down their No. 1 receiver entering the year – veteran Tyrell Williams – the Lions have been looking for some players in the receiver room to step up. Quintez Cephus has had his moments, and Raymond's now put together a couple nice outings in a row. He caught six of 10 targets last week for 68 yards, including a couple key catches on the final possession that gave Detroit a late lead over Baltimore.

Raymond caught both of Goff's touchdown passes Sunday in Chicago, a 4-yarder in the third quarter and nice 25-yard post route in the fourth quarter. He finished with three receptions for 43 yards. Cephus led the team with four catches for 83 yards.


If the Lions could find a way to play consistent football for 60 minutes and not just 30 here or 15 there, it would be interesting to see what the outcome looks like. It's safe to say they wouldn't be sitting at 0-4 to begin the year.

Goff said after the game that good teams play good football for 60 minutes. We've yet to see that from the Lions this year.

There have been too many lulls early this season. Sunday in Chicago Detroit had its third scoreless half of the season in four games.

"Same thing every week," Goff said. "There's good moments, but how can we do it the whole game, right? You'd like to think once we start doing it we'll start winning some games."


Campbell is an aggressive coach, and he's been aggressive going for it on fourth down this season. Some of those have been in late-game situations trying to come from behind, but he's made some calls to go for it early in games too.

There was one Week 1 vs. San Francisco in the first quarter they didn't convert. They failed on a pass attempt on a 4th and 1 play in the third quarter Week 2 in Green Bay at the 25-yard line trailing 21-17.

Entering Sunday, Detroit was 2-for-7 converting fourth downs on the season, which ranked 23rd in the NFL.

Trailing 14-0 in the second quarter with the Lions facing a 4th and 5, Campbell went for the touchdown instead of trying to come away with some points. Goff's pass intended for running back D’Andre Swift was deflected.

Late in the game, Campbell faced a 4th and 1 at the Bears' 8-yard line down 10. Instead of kicking the field goal and making it a one-score game, Detroit went for it and didn't get it. Most coaches would probably kick the field goal and make it a one-score game.

"I don't regret any of them but the last one at the end, here's what I would have done, I wish we would have huddled up and that's on me," Campbell said after the game.

The Lions got to the line quick after coming short of the first down on third down and ran a play. Goff threw high to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who was open.

"We want to go for it if we're in a position to go for it," Goff said. "You always want the coach to have that confidence in you guys. Damn right we better start making them if we're going to keep going."

Detroit was 1-for-3 converting fourth downs in the game.

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