Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia often has talked about control as a crucial element in determining the outcome of games, and he saw that in force Sunday.
The Seattle Seahawks had it – on offense, on defense, on special teams. And, of course, in the most important category of all -- on the scoreboard, with a 28-14 victory over the Lions.
"They took control early on both sides of the ball," Patricia said in his postgame press conference. "We didn't do a good job of getting that done. Sometimes, that happens.
"Obviously, not a very good game for us here. All three phases. It was a bad job coaching, a bad job playing."
And a bad loss, at a bad time because of how much a win would have meant to the Lions both in the standings and in the hearts of their legion of fans.
This week's Monday Countdown is about control and my takeaways on offense, defense and special teams.
We start with control in a vital area where the Lions have not had it for a haunting period back to the end of the 2016 season:
1. Home field advantage: Ford Field should be the Lions' play pen. They have some of the most loyal fans in any sport, not just the NFL. There was electricity outside Ford Field two hours before kickoff Sunday because of the reasonable expectation that the Lions would beat the Seahawks and stretch their winning streak to three games.
And all was well when the Lions scored first to take a 7-0 lead – just like it was in the opening game when Quandre Diggs intercepted a pass on the first play of the game and returned it for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
We know what happened in that game. The Jets strung together 31 straight points in the third quarter for a 48-17 win. On Sunday, the Seahawks ran off 28 in a row before giving up a TD late in the game.
Ford Field is a mine field for the Lions.
They were 6-2 at home in 2016, but they lost a final-game showdown with the Packers for first place in the NFC North. The Lions still made the playoffs at 9-7, but they missed out on starting the playoffs at home. Instead, they were a wild card and went to Seattle, where they couldn't reach the end zone in a dreary 26-6 loss.
Last year the Lions had a 5-1 record in the North but missed the playoffs because of a 4-4 record at home. And this year, they're 2-2 – losing to the Jets with rookie Sam Darnold starting his first pro game, and to the Seahawks who thoroughly controlled Sunday's game.
In their last 13 homes games, the Lions are 6-7. That gets you nowhere in the NFL.
2. Run game: Before Sunday the Seahawks were ninth in rushing offense but only 23rd in rushing defense. The Lions, coming off a 248-yard rushing game last week against Miami, but with problems of their own on defense, could have expected something close to a standoff.
The Seahawks ran 41 times from scrimmage for 167 yards and held the Lions to 34 on 13 carries. Punter Michael Dickson added another nine yards for Seattle when he ran out of the end zone late in the fourth quarter.
Lions rookie Kerryon Johnson, who strafed the Dolphins for 158 yards – with a long run of 71 yards – was held to 22 yards on eight carries.
The Seahawks' control of the line of scrimmage was absolute. They did it without a run longer than 12 yards.
3. Running plays: The Lions having only 13 running plays – one of them a scramble by Matthew Stafford -- wasn't the result of a faulty game plan. It was the result of a fumble on a kickoff return and an inability to stop the Seahawks. It all limited their chances to run.
The Lions' only possession in the first quarter was a 13-play, 91-yard drive that ended in the first of two TD passes to Marvin Jones Jr. They ran the ball six times on that possession.
The Lions had only four more possessions, and 22 plays, until the first minute of the fourth quarter, when they faced a 28-7 deficit – and had to pass because of the deficit.
The bottom line: The Seahawks controlled the game and forced the Lions out of any semblance of a running game.
4. Run defender: It doesn't show in Sunday's overall stats, but Damon Harrison, the defensive tackle acquired last week in a trade with the Giants, will help the Lions interior defense.
The Seahawks ran the ball on their first two plays for gains for nine and six years.
The next three run plays in the possession gained a yard, two yards and three yards. Late in the game, he stuffed a running play in the goal-line defense. Harrison is not known as a pass rusher, but he had one of the Lions' two sacks.
5. Special teams: They weren't special. Ameer Abdullah's fumble on a kickoff return after Seattle's first TD put the Seahawks in position for a three-play, 34-yard drive to its second TD and a 14-7 lead.
Two penalties on the return team forced the Lions to start possessions at their nine-yard line and the 15. They drove to touchdowns on both.
6. 50-50 balls: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 14 of 17 passes for 248 yards, three TDs and a maximum passer rating of 158.3. All three of his TD passes were contested by Lions defensive backs – cornerbacks Nevin Lawson and Teez Tabor, and safety Quandre Diggs.
"They out-finished those plays and came down with them," Patricia said. "They were big for them and not good for us. We have to make more of those plays when we have those opportunities."
7. Matthew Stafford: He wasn't awful Sunday, and he didn't cost his team the game, but he seemed a little off at times. His stats were good: 27 of 40 passing for 311 yards, two TDs and one interception.
But the interception on a first and goal with 3:08 left ended the last chance for a comeback, and a lost fumble earlier in the fourth quarter happened, as he said, when he was carrying the ball with one hand instead of two.
A lot of things went wrong for the Lions, and those two were preventable.
8. Russell Wilson: Patricia had warned earlier in the week about the dangers he presents with his athleticism, competitive will and overall skill.
Wilson was as good as Patricia's word.
"I think I talked about him all week, about his ability to control the game," Patricia said. "He's like a linebacker when he has the ball in his hands.
"He took control of the game."