Coming into today’s game, entering a fourth quarter with a 17 point lead or more all but assured victory for a team in the last 14 years. That was the case until the Lions came along and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, something they’ve become accustomed to doing throughout their history.
As Warren Sharp pointed out, NFL teams had won an incredible 779 games since 2006 with such a commanding late lead. Detroit’s defeat was only one of less than a handful in that mark, which is a gaudy number to consider that proves epic comebacks aren’t exactly the norm in the NFL.
The Lions became just the 4th team since 2006 to blow a 17+ point lead entering the 4th quarter.
Teams had been 779-3 (99.6%) in that span.
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 14, 2020
If there was ever going to be a team that would fall into the worst possible 1% and lose, however, it would be the Lions. It’s true the team seems to invent new ways to frustrate and disappoint their fans, and this is just merely the latest example and quite possibly the cherry on top.
Even when there’s a 99% chance at victory thanks to a double digit lead, it can officially be said that the Lions don’t have things sewn up enough to feel comfortable. It’s a sobering thought for fans.
Matt Patricia Has Strange Defense for Fourth Quarter Coaching
After Detroit fell apart late and sustained a 27-23 loss to the Bears, Patricia was asked if he thought there was something with his coaching leading to the frustration late in games. Safe to say the coach disagreed in a major way.
In the answer, Patricia said he has one of the best plays in NFL history to his credit in the late stages of a game, so he doesn’t view it as a problem in Detroit.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia was asked if there's something in his coaching "that isn't happening enough in the fourth quarter."
"Yeah, I don't think so," Patricia said. "I think I got probably one of the biggest plays in the fourth quarter in the history of the NFL." pic.twitter.com/chcqBLXF6U
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 13, 2020
The Lions, of course, haven’t been great under Patricia at putting away games and winning when it’s close. The team has let numerous games slip away in the late stages and as a result, Patricia’s tenure feels as if it’s spiraling out of control a bit. Detroit is now 0-1 to start the season and has a losing record with Patricia as coach, so whatever Patricia did multiple years ago to win a Super Bowl at another job wouldn’t seem to matter at this point.
Patricia had better hope he can turn things around quickly this season, otherwise, this quote might go down in history with Marty Mornhinwheg, Rod Marnielli and others who have failed to get it done and crumbled under pressure with some defensive comments.
Lions Fourth Quarter Failures Under Matt Patricia
The Lions haven’t been great at finishing games under Patricia during his tenure. Case in point, last season, Detroit blew a 24-6 lead against the Cardinals and ended up tying the game. This year, the mark was 23-6 in the season opener. While 2019 was a tie, this was an ugly defeat.
Leading into the 2019 season, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell met with the media and talked about the offseason and where the team is trending in 2020. Still, that didn’t prevent him from casting an eye back to 2019. When it came to that, Bevell explained that the Lions were much, much closer to breaking through than most on the outside may have thought last season.
As he cited, the team led in 10 games in the 4th quarter last season. In those games, they were 3-7-1. Even a modest improvement in that record would have meant the Lions being a much better team in terms of the season they had.
Interesting stat from OC Darrell Bevell. Lions had the lead in 4th quarter in 10 games last year and were tied in another. Were 3-7-1 in those games.
“We weren’t able to finish those… & that tells me we can do better in that area, 4th quarter we have to pick it up & finish.”
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) June 22, 2020
Bevell’s takeaway? The Lions simply have to be able to focus and finish games this coming season, especially late in the final quarter. Typically, the Lions have been an excellent team late in games, earning the reputation as comeback kids during Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. The challenge now is to develop a mindset where they can better protect leads and put away games they should win.
Now the Lions have lost in epic NFL fashion, it’s back to the drawing board ahead of Week 2.