Detroit Lions: Turnovers alone to blame for loss to Seahawks

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 fumbles the ball as Jarran Reed #90 of the Seattle Seahawks tackles him during the fourth quarter at Ford Field on October 28, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 fumbles the ball as Jarran Reed #90 of the Seattle Seahawks tackles him during the fourth quarter at Ford Field on October 28, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions spent the last several weeks building momentum, and it all came to a grinding halt on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

It was the type of loss that felt all too familiar for the Detroit Lions. After weeks of progress and exhibiting the style of play indicative of a professional franchise, the Lions found themselves right in the thick of the NFC North race.

In typical Lions fashion, just when it was all going right, the bottom fell out in a 28-14 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks. A scintillating start deteriorated almost immediately, and while the Seahawks dominated for a good portion of the game, it was the Lions’ own miscues that led to their demise. The Lions did very few things right in this game.

The run defense, especially when Damon Harrison was off the field on early downs, was paltry. The Seahawks did what most teams successfully do against the Lions – they ran the ball right down their throats.

The 176 yards on the ground allowed the Seahawks to dominate time of possession, and Russell Wilson only needed to attempt 17 passes the entire game.

As bad as the performance looked, the Lions had their share of opportunities to come back and steal this one, and squandered each and every one of them. Ultimately, poor execution and turnovers dictated the outcome of the game.

Ameer Abdullah‘s Fumble

With All-Pro returner Jamal Agnew on injured reserve, the Lions have fielded a committee for kickoff and punt returns. The opportunity has allowed Ameer Abdullah to be activated on game day, and he literally has one job – to take care of the football. He did not do his job.

Abdullah, whose history of ball security issues date back to his playing days at the University of Nebraska, lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff after the Seahawks tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter. The Lions never recovered the football or their composure following the turnover, and found themselves trailing 21-7 very shortly afterwards.

It is important to note that the Lions allowed Abdullah to continue to field kickoff returns for the rest of the game. That shows that either the Lions have confidence in the fifth-year pro, or the cupboard of eligible players was empty.

Brandon Powell handled punt return duties, and while his performance was not noteworthy, he did not commit any turnovers.

Matthew Stafford‘s Fumble and Interception

The Lions had legitimate problems in the trenches against the Seahawks on both sides of the football, and the offense suffered as a result.

Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson had just eight carries, as the Lions simply fell too far behind to try and establish a consistent running attack. The one-dimensional look of the offense left Matthew Stafford vulnerable, and committed the first of his two devastating turnovers as a result in the fourth quarter.

With the Lions trailing 28-14, the defense produced a timely three-and-out, and Stafford had the offense driving into Seahawks territory. Scrambling to make a play, Stafford lost control of the football and fumbled it away. The Lions’ defense again stood up to the challenge with another three-and-out.

Again, Stafford drove the Lions well into Seattle territory, only to throw an interception in the end zone on a pass intended for Golden Tate.

The Lions played sloppy for the majority of the game, but they still had every chance to come back in the fourth quarter. The defense came up with consecutive clutch stops after being punished on the ground early and often. If Abdullah and Stafford do not commit those turnovers, it’s an entirely different game.

A lot of people will criticize the play-calling or the coaching for this latest loss, and it simply is not warranted. Adjustments were made, both sides of the ball gave the team a chance to win down the stretch, but all the coaching in the world does not matter if the players fail to take care of the football.

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The Detroit Lions are still in a battle for the NFC North crown, but they certainly missed a golden opportunity on Sunday. If they want to be taken seriously as legitimate contenders, execution of fundamentals has to improve.