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NOTEBOOK: How early fourth-down stop shifted Lions' momentum

SEATTLE -- There are a number of reasons the Detroit Lions fell to the Seahawks 51-29 Sunday. Poor run defense, an inability to gain any traction in their own run game and turnovers to name a few.

Detroit also got on the wrong side of momentum early in the contest, and head coach Dan Campbell thought that played a factor too. After forcing a three and out by Seattle's offense to begin the game, Detroit was driving down the field on their first possession and got down to the Seattle 29-yard line where they were faced with a 4th and 1. It was certainly no surprise Campbell opted to go for it, that's been his aggressive nature all year, but when running back Jamaal Williams was stuffed about a half yard short of the first-down marker, Campbell thought it was a big early momentum-shifting play.

"I felt it knocked the wind out of us when we didn't get the fourth-and-inches, or half a yard, whatever you want to call it," he said. "Because we got the three-and-out and we drove the ball and we didn't respond after that."

The stop gave all the momentum back to Seattle and they ran with it, literally. They answered with a touchdown and scored on their next nine possessions.

"He might be right when he says it took the wind out of our sails, but I think in that moment it might have because we had a great drive going," Lions quarterback Tim Boyle said. "We got all the way down, I don't know what the yard line was, but we ran the ball well, we passed the ball well and we got down there. When you get stuffed on fourth down, it always hurts."

View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks Week 17 game at Lumen Field on Sunday, Jan. 2 in Seattle, WA.


It was an interception last week in the final minute by Boyle at the Atlanta 1-yard line that stopped a Lions comeback bid.

The situation was a little different this week with the Lions down multiple scores in the fourth quarter, which forced Boyle to try and bring them back almost exclusively throwing the ball, which is a tough task for any quarterback. Unfortunately it was still turnovers that defined Boyle's finish for a second week in a row.

Boyle completed 22 of his 37 pass attempts for 262 yards with two touchdowns, but three second-half interceptions, two in the fourth quarter, were on his mind the most after the game.

"It's accuracy, it's decision making, it's timing. All three of them are on me," he said after the game. "That's something that I have to assess with myself. Our turnovers, I can't keep doing that to the team. Ultimately, a quarterback touches the ball every down and I have to be smart with the football.

"It hurts. Three interceptions, you can't do that. You're never going to have an opportunity when you turn the ball over three times in a game."


Detroit's loss Sunday has clinched them at least the No. 2 overall pick in April's NFL Draft in Las Vegas.

Jacksonville (2-14) currently holds the top pick and will keep it if they lose to Indianapolis next week. The Lions (2-13-1) host the Green Bay Packers (13-3), who have already clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

No other team has fewer than four wins.


With the Lions missing receivers Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond due to COVID-19, they were going to need someone other than rookie Amon-Ra. St. Brown to step up.

It was good to see KhaDarel Hodge be that guy for the Lions in Seattle. Hodge caught five passes for 76 yards (15.2 average), including a beautiful, diving 42-yard reception to the Seattle 1-yard line that set up a late Lions touchdown.

"It was really important because I hadn't gotten many opportunities the last couple of weeks. I knew I had to go in and prove myself once again," Hodge said. "Just make plays just to get the coaches attention, the league's. I didn't perform as well as I needed to early in the season, but I knew I had to come out and make some plays, which I know I could do."

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