If there was a checklist somewhere of all the things the Detroit Lions had to do well in order to go on the road and snap Seattle's nine-game playoff win streak, it probably looked something like this:
- Stop Seattle's rushing attack
- Run the football
- Win the turnover battle
- Take advantage of opportunities
- Contain Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson
Consider Detroit 0-for-5 on this list, which is why they fell, 26-6, Saturday night.
"Obviously one of the things we understand is that you can't turn the ball over against a team like that," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "I think they understood that part, but penalties are part of that as well and then obviously every mistake that you make is sort of magnified a little bit.
"You drop balls on third down, et cetera that makes a huge difference. Those are things and then obviously from a defensive standpoint, just making certain that we fit everything properly and get a guy on the ground, you know, we just didn't do those things right, which we had been accustomed to doing, but we didn't do it well enough this evening."
Seattle totaled 177 yards on the ground vs. only 49 for Detroit. The Lions turned it over on downs in Seattle territory after failing to convert a 4th and 1. Four drops took opportunities to make plays and continue drives off the board, and seven penalties put them behind the chains. Wilson completed 23-of-30 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns (119.3 passer rating), though Detroit's defense did do a nice job keeping him in the pocket and sacking him three times.
"When you play playoff football, you've got to eliminate all the mistakes, really," said receiver Golden Tate, who had one of the team's drops. "That's one thing that we didn't do well tonight."
NO SURGERY FOR STAFFORD
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford injured the top of the middle finger on his throwing hand in the second series of Detroit's Week 14 win over Chicago.
He played the rest of the season wearing a splint and a glove, which Stafford said after Saturday's loss was more of an annoyance than a hindrance, despite the fact he threw just three touchdowns and five interceptions his last four games.
Asked after the game if he would need surgery on the finger now that the season is over, Stafford said that surgery was not in the plans at this point, and all he needed was rest.
One of the bigger plays early in the game was a missed 4th and 1 play at the Seattle 38-yard line that was stuffed by the Seahawks.
Instead of trying to run for the first down, Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter called a play-action boot with Stafford having four options to pass to. Unfortunately, only his fourth option – backup tight end Matthew Mulligan – was open, and he was five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Stafford dumped it off to Mulligan, who was dropped for a 2-yard loss, and the Lions turned the ball over on downs.
"They covered up pretty much everybody," Stafford said of the play after the game. "I had Dwayne (Washington) on the flats, Ebron on a corner. Mully (Mulligan) is a super-late leak, kind of a fourth option. I couldn't run it. There were guys in front of me. You've got to tip your hat to them. They did a nice job on defense."
- Matt Prater was the only source of scoring for the Lions with field goals of 51 and 53 yards. It was the first time in team history a kicker has made two 50-plus-yard field goals in a playoff game.
- Ziggy Ansah had himself a game in defeat. He recorded nine tackles, two sacks and five quarterback hits. He joins Ndamukong Suh as the only players in franchise history to record multiple sacks in a playoff game.
- Receiver Andre Roberts left the game briefly with a quad injury, but did return.