DETROIT ( Associated Press) – The Detroit Lions earned more national acclaim after their loss than they did with three straight wins this month.
They faced off against one of the NFL’s elite teams, the Buffalo Bills, which they beat 28–25 on a 45-yard field goal by Tyler Bass with two minutes remaining on game day.
Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker said his team is no longer the same, the perennial laughing stock that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991.
“We’re going after that respect, to earn that respect,” he said.
Throughout the game, the Lions (4-7) never showed an inferiority complex.
They led by three points through most of the fourth quarter, and when Buffalo went ahead with a touchdown, they tried to tie it up with a field goal with 23 seconds remaining.
“We have a sense of ownership, they should know it and they know it,” said coach Dan Campbell.
The players “knew it and they had opportunities that they created but we didn’t execute. The players made plays and credit goes to them. I think our team has grown and we are improving.”
Lions have a reputation for being self-destructive: penalties, turnovers and mental errors. On Thursday, the club eased those issues for most of the game.
In their last three games, the Lions have committed three penalties and 10 infringements. They lost possession twice, once in desperation on the last play. During his winning streak, he only turned the ball over once.
The Lions need more wins to realistically aim for a wild-card playoff run, but no one should be laughing at them right now.
“I feel like the last four weeks we’re a different team, the mood is different,” quarterback Jared Goff said.
“We know we can beat anyone, play anyone, dominate anyone; We had a good team in front of us, but we did a lot better”, he explained.
does it work?
Goff and receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is playing his second season, have clicked over the past three games. St. Brown had 26 receptions for 317 yards in that span, including nine catches for 122 yards against Buffalo’s count. St. Brown also scored his first touchdown since the second week of the season.
What needs to be improved?
Campbell may be a fiery speaker, but his half-time messages to the team yielded no results. The Lions have been unable to score in the third quarter in six of the last seven games. The only exception was the touchdown last Sunday against the New York Giants.
Receiver Jamison Williams could make his NFL debut on December 4 against Jacksonville. Williams, a former Alabama player, was taken in the first round of the draft but is recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the college national championship game. He returned to training this week and could become a big game resource.