It was a mixed bag for the Detroit Lions in Week 16. Ultimately, they lost to the Denver Broncos—their eighth straight game in the loss column and 11th overall. But for those hoping the team rises up the draft order, Week 16 was an undeniable success.
Before we get into all of that, here’s how Detroit ended up dropping their away finale against the Broncos.
The Detroit Lions offense got the ball first and they started much faster than last week’s game against the Buccaneers. Thanks to 41 yards by Kenny Golladay, the Lions worked their way into the red zone. But Detroit couldn’t convert on a third-and-6, and former Bronco Matt Prater knocked through a 26-yard field goal to put the Lions up early. 3-0 Lions.
Detroit’s defense got a little lucky on Denver’s first possession. The Broncos ended up going three-and-out after Devontae Booker dropped a third-down pass that would’ve given them a first down and more.
The two teams would trade a couple punts before the game turned over into the second quarter.
After a couple more punts, Jamal Agnew made himself known. Taking punt returns for the first time since his mid-season injury, Agnew took a punt 64 yards for the score. 10-0 Lions.
But Denver would quickly answer. Royce Freeman capped off a nine-play, 75-yard drive for the Broncos with a 1-yard touchdown, bringing it back to a one-score game. 10-7 Lions.
Detroit’s offense answered with a three-and-out, and the Broncos had a chance to tie or take the lead before the half.
Denver would end up tying it. A third-down pressure from Trey Flowers forced Drew Lock to throw the ball away on third down, and Denver connected a 34-yard field goal to tie it up with just 25 seconds remaining. 10-10.
That’s the score the two teams would take into halftime.
The Broncos got the second half started with a kick return that nearly got them to midfield. Denver took advantage by working their way into the red zone. However, consecutive pass breakups by Darius Slay and Tavon Wilson forced the Broncos into a short field goal. 13-10 Broncos.
Detroit running game was able to get them to the Broncos side of the field. First, Kerryon Johnson gained 8 yards, then Bo Scarbrough picked up 18. Throw in a third-down conversion from Danny Amendola and a couple more good runs, and Detroit was down in the red zone. A bubble screen to Kenny Golladay topped off the drive, and the Lions found themselves in the lead again. 17-13 Lions.
Denver wouldn’t go down quietly, though. They converted a fourth down on a neat option play, and drove into Lions territory as the game moved into the fourth quarter.
Four plays into the final quarter, the Broncos re-took the lead on a nifty inside pitch play.
The Lions were primed to answer back, but a huge bomb to Kenny Golladay just barely slipped through his fingers. The play would have set the Lions up in the red zone, but, instead, they punted away.
Denver would extend their lead and put the game away on the next possession. Tim Patrick picked up a key third-and-4 with a 16-yard catch, and on the very next play, Phillip Lindsay broke free for a 27-yard touchdown. 27-17 Broncos.
Detroit’s offense just couldn’t get anything going the rest of the way, and the Broncos would ease into the win.
With the loss, and wins by Miami and New York, the Lions have moved up to the third overall spot in the draft order. If they lose to the Packers next week, they will either pick second or third overall.
The Detroit Lions only have two more chances to end their ever-growing losing streak. For many fans, with the Lions narrowing in on a top-three pick in the NFL Draft, the preference is to stretch that seven-game losing streak into a nine-game streak by the season’s end. With all of the injuries the Lions are currently suffering from—sending six players to IR in the past two weeks—Detroit could certainly be headed in that direction.
The Broncos, on the other hand, are going through some late-season optimism. Second-round rookie Drew Lock has taken over at quarterback. While his performance has been up and down, the team has won three of their past six games, including impressive wins over the Texans and Chargers.
If you’re like me, you’re a completist. So no matter how bleak things look for the Lions, you’re going to see it through. Plus, HEY, maybe Kerryon Johnson plays again this week, and he was one of the most entertaining Lions players last season. That could be worth three of your hours this holiday weekend, right?
Oh, who am I kidding? You’ve already decided if you’re going to watch or not. If you are, here’s the information you’ll need to know. Reminder: It’s a late game.
How to watch Lions-Broncos
Date: Sunday, December 22, 2019
Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
Location: Empower Field at Mile High — Denver, CO
Week 16 TV Map: Courtesy of 506 Sports here
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely
Online streaming: Yahoo Sports app
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Broncos by 7