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O'HARA'S BURNING QUESTIONS: What made the difference in loss to Titans?

Detroit Lions-Tennessee Titans burning questions: The Lions' offense doing what it had to do (control the ball), the defense doing what it couldn't do (stop the Titans) and Matthew Stafford doing what he always does – play, no matter what – in the Lions' 46-25 loss to the Titans.

Question: What made the difference? The Lions kept it close. Tennessee's lead was down to 24-18 on Matt Prater's field goal in the third quarter but the Titans turned it into a runaway the rest of the game.

Answer: The Titans were too good and had too much to play for in their bid to make the playoffs to have a letdown.

They had big games from the players who've led their offense all year. Derrick Henry for 147 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Tannehill threw three TD passes and ran for two scores.

And they took advantage of mistakes and big breakdowns by the Lions to stay in control most of the game.

View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Tennessee Titans Week 15 game in Nashville on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.

Question: Mistakes and breakdowns – how much did they hurt the Lions?

Answer: There are no excuses. The better team won this game, and the Titans were the better team.

Mistakes and breakdowns were more of a symptom of the Titans being the better team than something that caused the Lions to lose.

There were just too many. Among them: Tight end T.J. Hockenson losing the ball on a fumble after gaining a first down on a run; Prater missing an extra point; running back D’Andre Swift losing a fumble on an attempted leap into the end zone; and Tannehill converting a third and 11 into a first down early in the third quarter. The possession ended in a touchdown that extended Tennessee's lead from 24-18 to 31-18.

It was too much for the Lions to overcome.

Question: How would you rate Stafford's performance playing with an injured rib?

Answer: Predictably heroic. He hadn't practiced much all week, and there was no doubt that he was bothered and limited by the rib injury he sustained in last week's loss to the Packers.

He was effective, completing 22 of 32 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. He finally left the game in the fourth quarter after taking two hard hits on the same series, and with the game out of reach.

Stafford gutted it out, as usual. He's the leader of this team, and he did what leaders do – compete.

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