MINNEAPOLIS – In a loss to the Vikings Sunday that was ultimately decided by a last-second 54-yard field goal, two turnovers by the Detroit Lions ended up being huge negative plays.
A strip-sack of quarterback Jared Goff at the Minnesota 31-yard line in the first half and a Goff interception at the Minnesota 28-yard line in the second half really hurt the Lions' chances.
Goff's now got seven turnovers (four fumbles and three interceptions) in five contests this season. How do Goff and the Lions go about fixing those?
"That'll certainly be something we look at," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said after Detroit's 19-17 loss. "Because it has killed us a couple weeks in a row."
The Lions had two turnovers inside the Bears' 10-yard line last week, both on Goff fumbles, though the first was a bad snap he wasn't expecting.
"It could be as simple as trimming the calls back a little bit to where maybe it's a little more mainstream and to the point and quick and easy, 'I see it in my head, we get lined up.' Just a little less moving parts, if you will," Campbell said. "That's where we can help a little bit. We'll look at everything with it, but it hurts us."
Asked about the turnovers after the game, Goff said the interception was a good play by the defense on an aggressive throw, and he's not going to tone down that aggressiveness.
"I can't play afraid to make a mistake," he said.
Detroit's been unlucky with injuries to begin the season, and it looks like they've been struck once again. Promising second-year wide receiver Quintez Cephus injured a shoulder late in the second quarter after making a nice catch-and-run of 21 yards on a 3rd and 8 play. Cephus immediately left the game and did not return.
Campbell said after the game it's either a shoulder or collar bone for Cephus, and it doesn't look good.
Cephus had three catches for 38 yards in the first half Sunday and had 12 receptions and a couple scores coming into the game. He's been an ascending player for the Lions at receiver, so hopefully this isn't a season-ending injury.
BETTER FOR IT
It hurts right after a loss like Sunday's, which was evident by the emotions Campbell displayed at the podium, but games like Sunday build character for a young football team, Campbell thinks. They show young players how just a couple of plays here and there make the difference.
"We'll be better for it," Campbell said wiping away tears. "I love the fight they have in them and the grit."
Down a touchdown and needing to get a big stop or turnover, veteran linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin made a big play, just like he did last week vs. the Bears when he tipped a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Amani Oruwariye.
Reeves-Maybin stripped Vikings running back Alexander Mattison of the ball in the final minutes of the game, and recovered it at the Vikings' 20-yard line to give the Lions an opportunity to take a late lead.
"The guy goes after the football," Campbell said of Reeves-Maybin, who's gotten more of an opportunity to play after the team released Jamie Collins Sr. "This is not by accident or coincidence. He goes after the football. He makes a conscious effort to punch the ball out."
Reeves-Maybin had five tackles against the Vikings to go along with the forced fumble and fumble recovery.