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O'HARA'S BURNING QUESTIONS: How turnovers & penalties hurt Lions

Lions-Colts Burning Questions: What made the difference, and what it showed for the Detroit Lions with big breakdowns and big penalties in a resounding 41-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field.

Question: What was the difference in a game between two teams that seemed to be fairly evenly matched based on their recent results?

Answer: Results and comparing statistics didn't matter. They meant nothing. The better team won this game. The 21-point margin proved it. So did the eye test. It didn't take a scoreboard to see which was the better team.

While the Lions were wrecking their chances with big misplays and bad penalties, the Colts were winning the battles at every level – from the trenches to the end zones – and taking advantage of the Lions' mistakes to dominate the game.

View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts Week 8 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020 in Detroit

Question: How much did the turnovers and penalties hurt the Lions?

Answer: The Lions certainly helped them, but the Colts did enough on their own to win.

One penalty -- among many -- that hurt the Lions was on a third-down sack by defensive tackle Danny Shelton in the first half that would have forced the Colts to punt. But Shelton was flagged for a personal foul on the play. The 15-yard penalty gave the Colts a first down. Three plays later they had a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

There was more to come.

Late in the third quarter, quarterback Matthew Stafford fumbled on a sack. The Colts recovered and converted it into a touchdown early in the fourth quarter that increased their lead to 28-14.

Eight seconds later, the situation went from bad to out of control. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Stafford's pass was intercepted by Kenny Moore and returned for a TD and an insurmountable 35-14 lead.

Question: What does it mean that for the third straight season the Lions were beaten and failed to get to .500 after getting their record to 3-3?

Answer: Stafford put it best in his postgame interview.

"You've got to prove yourself every week," he said. "Each week it's a prove yourself week."

Question: What did the Lions prove Sunday?

Answer: They proved – again -- that they can't beat good teams on a consistent basis. And they don't have an advantage playing at home. That was their seventh straight loss at Ford Field.

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