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O'HARA: What we learned from Week 3

The Detroit Lions were back to the Minnesota Vikings Monday, digesting the bitter leftovers from Sunday's 28-24 loss.

They would have been on to the Seattle Seahawks, their next opponent Sunday at Ford Field, had they finished out a game they could have – and should have – won.

Losing stinks. It also sticks with everyone involved – coaches, players, support staff. And fans, of course.

That's what we learned from the loss to the Vikings. Among the other things we learned include the following: The Lions are led by their offense, which makes some decisions Sunday all the more open to question; a bright spot on defense has been the play of cornerback Jeff Okudah; and defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson showed the ups and downs rookies face.

We start with the fallout from Sunday's loss:

Losing is never good. So much time and energy is put into the 17-game schedule, coupled with the risk of injury present from the practice field to gameday, creates a sense of urgency on every play, let alone every game.

But there are levels of what is acceptable. For example, the Lions' 38-35 loss to the Eagles on opening day was disappointing but not crushing.

The Lions were playing catchup from the time the Eagles took a 21-7 lead until the finish. The performance of the offense alone was a hopeful sign.

Sunday's loss to the Vikings was different. The Lions twice had the game in their hands – with a 14-0 lead in the first half, and a 24-14 lead when the Vikings began their comeback midway through the fourth quarter.

The Vikings marched through the Lions' defense with ease to score two touchdowns: A six-yard run by Alexander Mattison untouched around left end, and the killer -- a 28-yard catch by K.J. Osborn with no defender nearby with 45 seconds left.

The season is not lost because of Sunday's defeat, but it left a mark.

Moving on to playing Seattle Sunday, that's a winnable game that could get the Lions' won-loss record to 2-2. But if they'd beaten the Vikings as they should have, they'd be 3-1. And 4-1 going into their bye week if they beat a struggling Patriots team in Week 5.

And so it goes.

The offense: It's the strength of the team, and within it the offensive line is the strongest unit. In fact, it might be the best offensive line in the NFL, considering the depth that has allowed it to continue to function despite injuries.

The Lions did not play to their strength in two key situations in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game.

First was the play call. On third and one at the Lions' 27 with a little less than 11 minutes left, the Lions bypassed a running play and threw a deep pass meant for wide receiver Josh Reynolds that was incomplete.

Next was a fourth and four at the Vikings' 36 with 1:14 left and the Lions clinging to a 24-21 lead. Kicker Austin Seibert was sent out to attempt a 54-yard field goal. It sailed wide right.

To repeat, the offense is the strength of the team, and the offensive line is its strongest unit. On two key plays in the fourth quarter that at the least would have taken precious time off the clock, the Lions did not go with their best.

Corner stone: Okudah has played well in his return from an Achilles injury that caused him to miss the final 16 games last season.

Sunday's game was his best. He was a major part of the coverage that limited Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson to three catches on six targets for 14 yards and a long gain of six yards.

Okudah had one pass defended. He might have had more if the Vikings had thrown in his direction more often.

Down: Hutchinson was down in Week 1 with only one assisted tackle against the Eagles, and up in Week 2 with three sacks on Commanders QB Carson Wentz.

The Vikings game was another downer. His only stat was one hit on QB Kirk Cousins.

All predictable for a rookie defensive lineman.

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