O’HARA’S BURNING QUESTIONS: Where did Lions go wrong in loss to Redskins?

LANDOVER, MD.Lions-Redskins Burning Questions: Another fatal, final fade by the Lions after grinding on the ground to get a lead, missed opportunities in a 19-16 loss to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field:

Question: Was losing to the Redskins, who had a 1-9 won-loss record going into the game, the Lions’ worst loss of the season?

Answer: It’s the worst loss so far --- and by a big margin – and I say so far, because there are five games to go, and the Lions have piled disappointment on disappointment this season to get to 3-7-1.

Q. Quarterback Jeff Driskel: It was his third start, and he had three interceptions. One was a wild throw for a critical interception that set up the Redskins to kick the winning field goal with 16 seconds left. Rate his performance.

A. Driskel did well enough running the ball, running for 63 yards and Bo Scarbrough had 98 yards in a strong effort.

But Driskel’s arm was a liability – especially late in the game in the clutch.

He wasn’t the only culprit. The defense failed again late in the game, as it has all year.

Bottom line: The Lions are 3-7-1 for a reason. It’s not all on one player. It’s everybody. No one is exempt from blame.

View photos from the Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins Week 12 game at FedExField on Sunday, Nov. 24 2019 in Landover, Md.

Q. First half bottom line: What did the first half score – Redskins 13, Lions 6 – represent?

A. Failures to take advantage of situations, failure on kickoff coverage that allowed Steve Sims Jr. to recover his own fumble and run 91 yards for the only touchdown of the first half.

Q. Situations: Where did the Lions’ go wrong on those?

A. It was mostly on not taking advantage of good field position. They started possessions at Washington’s 38-yard line, and their own 45, 30 and 42. Those were good starting points that gave the Lions the option to run or pass.

They fumbled the ball away when they had the ball at the 45, and they managed only two field goals on the other three.

Q. Early chance, second half: The Lions took advantage of receiving the second-half kickoff by driving to their first touchdown – a 12-yard pass to tight end Logan Thomas to make it 13-13. How important was that?

A. For one thing, it was a new game – a tie with almost a full game left. And the Lions had scored on consecutive possessions—getting a field goal on the last possession of the first half, and then Thomas' TD catch to start the second half.

Q. Lions lead – finally: Did it seem like a matter of time when the Lions finally got their first lead when kicker Matt Prater made a short field goal early in the fourth quarter?

A. Yes. Absolutely. The Lions dominated the stats – 347 yards to 111 – but they had trouble getting the ball in the end zone. The only reason the Redskins were in the game was because of the kickoff return TD in the first half.

The Lions worked to get the lead, regardless of the circumstances and that the Redskins are one of the worst teams in the league.

Now it was up to the defense to protect the lead, and the offense to keep the pressure on.

Q. Redskins tie it: What was it like to see the Redskins tie the game at 16-all with 1:49 left?

A. Surprising, and it shouldn’t have been. The defense hasn’t protected leads all year, and this was no exception. The Redskins drove form their 22 to the Lions’ 24 to set up the tying field goal.

Q. Early chance, Lions fail: Were the Lions too conservative when they recovered a fumble at Washington’s 38 on the first possession of the game? The Lions got nothing out of it when Prater sliced a 39-yard field goal attempt wide right.

A. The play calling was conservative and not what I would have done. A run by Scarbrough on the first play gained five yards. After a catch by wide receiver Danny Amendola gained eight yards and a first down there were two more runs by Scarbrough for a one-yard gain and a two-yard loss.

Prater’s missed field goal came after a pass for a short gain on third down.

Q. Early stand, Lions: Good for the Lions’ defense that it held the Redskins to a field goal when they got to the 12-yard line with a first down on the ensuing possession? The possession stalled at the eight, forcing the field goal.

A. Good that it held. Bad that they let the Redskins convert two third downs in a 62-yard drive to the eight-yard line. Good coverage forced an incomplete pass on third down.

Q. Injured Lions: How much difference does it make that the Lions had a lengthy injury list?

In addition to Matthew Stafford’s absence for the third straight game the Lions were without several key players, including Trey Flowers, their best defensive lineman, center Frank Ragnow, their best offensive lineman, and others.

But they weren’t winning with those players, and they lost without them Sunday.

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