There is no mercy in the National Football League.
If we didn't know that already – and we should have – we learned it in the Detroit Lions' 38-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs Sunday.
The Bucs had a chance to fatten their statistics and get to the .500 mark with a 7-7 won-loss record, and they took full advantage against a Lions team that went into the game with a six-game losing streak and a roster depleted by injuries.
Among the other things we learned include the following: In their present condition, the Lions have to take advantage of every opportunity and they failed twice; an old hand remains young at heart – and in action – for the Lions; and the Lions still do not have home-field advantage at Ford Field.
We start with no mercy from the Bucs:
Except for an interception on their first possession, the Bucs dominated the game from the beginning. They had a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. That put the Lions in a deep hole, and they were unable to climb out of it.
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 458 yards and four touchdowns, with the one interception. There was no holding back. He threw his fourth TD pass with 2:59 left to stretch the Bucs' lead to 38-17, the final score.
Ryan Griffin took over on the Bucs' last possession and was in for the last four plays – all kneel downs.
Missed chances: It's not logical to say a game turns on one or two plays when the winning margin is 21 points, but the Lions started possessions early and late in good position to get points and failed to convert both times.
Linebacker Jahlani Tavai's first career interception on the Bucs' first possession gave the Lions the ball at the Bucs' 44. From there, the Lions marched backward. They wound up punting after a running play that lost three yards and two incompletions by quarterback David Blough.
In a second-half rally that cut a 24-3 deficit to 24-17, the Lions began a potential game-tying possession in the fourth quarter at their 44 after the Bucs missed a field-goal attempt.
On second down at the Bucs' 35, Blough's pass meant for wide receiver Danny Amendola was intercepted by cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and returned 70 yards for the clinching touchdown.
The bottom line on those two possessions was no points for the Lions, seven for the Bucs.
Amendola, eternally young: At 34 and in the 11th season of a career that began in 2008 with a year on the Cowboys' practice squad, Amendola continues to run on high energy, no matter what the circumstances are.
He had eight catches for 102 yards against the Bucs. For the season he has 58 catches for 641 yards. With two games left, he needs 49 yards to pass his career high of 689 receiving yards, set in 2010 when he had a career high of 85 receptions at the age of 25.
We've learned from Amendola this year that age is a number that does not limit production. He doesn't look like he's close to the end of his career.
Home dome: The Lions will not have a winning record at home for the third straight year. They are 2-5, with the season finale against the Packers the only home game left on the schedule.
They were 4-4 at home in 2017 when they missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record and 3-5 with a 6-10 record last year.
The Lions are the only team in the NFC North with a losing record at home.