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Lions - Colts final score: Detroit’s big mistakes lead to decisive loss, 41-21

The Lions’ had a big letdown

Indianapolis Colts v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions couldn’t keep the momentum of their two-game winning streak going in Week 8. Hosting the Indianapolis Colts, the Lions just did not look like a team worthy of contention. The offense sputter early in the game, while the defense missed out on some key opportunities to get off the field, and critical mistakes along the way sunk Detroit’s chances at their fourth win of the season.

When all was said and done, the Lions walked off the field 41-21 losers and beaten up, too.


According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions may be coming out Sunday with a new offensive line lineup that we haven’t seen yet this year. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is finally back at right tackle, set to make his first start there for Detroit. Joe Dahl is back in the starting lineup at right guard, as Detroit appears to have decided to keep rookie guard Jonah Jackson on the left side.

This decision may have to do with the injury to Taylor Decker. Though Decker is active an expected to start, the Lions may want to keep backup swing tackle Tyrell Crosby fresh in case Decker steps out at any point. That way, they can keep the rest of the offensive line intact. We’ll see what happens after kickoff.

First quarter

The Colts got a big play early when Philip Rivers found a wide open Jordan Wilkins for 24 yards. But Detroit’s defense rebounded quickly, shutting down the run and finishing the drive with a Romeo Okwara sack on third-and-11, his third in two games.

The teams traded punts after that, but the Lions made the first huge play of the game. Miles Killebrew blocked the Colts’ second punt of the game, setting the Lions up in great field position to take the early lead.

Matthew Stafford didn’t waste any time from there. One play later, Stafford found Marvin Jones Jr. for a beautiful touch pass, and a 25-yard score. 7-0 Lions.

The Lions defense continued to be extremely stout in run defense, including a huge tackle for loss from Da’Shawn Hand. Through one quarter, the Colts had 10 rushes for 12 yards. Detroit forced another punt—the third of the day—though Indianapolis was able to pin the Lions inside their 10-yard line.

Second quarter

The Lions offense went three-and-out for the second time after Kerryon Johnson slipped on a well-set-up screen play.

The Colts took advantage quickly with a couple of big plays from Philip Rivers. First he found a wide open Marcus Johnson with an extra couples steps on Jeff Okudah for 21 yards. ON the very next play, the Colts dialed up a well-designed play that got Nyheim Hines wide open for a 22-yard swing pass touchdown:

7-7 tie.

A couple of misses from Stafford stalled the Lions’ next drive. They only managed one first down before punting back to Indianapolis.

The Colts took advantage on a strange series. The Lions got a third-down sack from Danny Shelton, but after Shelton threw Rivers down, a scrum ensued and the Lions were flagged for unnecessary roughness. The official called Shelton on the penalty, but he was not involved in the scrum. It was most likely Reggie Ragland who drew the flag.

Three plays later, the Colts cashed in. 14-7 Colts

Detroit’s offense couldn’t respond. Yet another thee-and-out from Stafford in company (thanks to Indy’s second sack of the half) gave the Colts good field position, especially after a special teams penalty gave Indy an extra 15 yards.

A pivotal play in the game when the Colts face a fourth-and-1 in Lions territory. With a chance to get the ball back with good field position, the Lions couldn’t get a stop. Two plays later, Rivers dropped this phenomenal pass for Hines’ second TD of the game:

After a missed extra point, the score was 20-7 Colts.

The Lions had one more chance to score points with 56 seconds left in the half and three timeouts. Stafford was able to work Detroit into field goal range, but Matt Prater shanked a 48-yard field WIDE wide left, and the score stayed 20-7 at the half.

Third quarter

Despite a concerning start to the drive—two rushes from Adrian Peterson for 2 yards—the Lions offense finally got it going with some pace and some aggression. Stafford went 5-for-6 for 66 yards and a nice touchdown pass to Kerryon Johnson 9 yards.

20-14 Colts.

The Lions defense got off the field in three plays thanks to a big run stop from Jeff Okudah on a third-and-2 play. Detroit’s offense couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, however. As the Lions drove towards midfield, a Stafford overthrow and a false start on Jamal Agnew doomed the possession. The Lions punted back to the Colts, but a three-and-out gave the ball back to the Lions.

Still without Golladay, the Lions were able to move into Colts territory. However, Stafford took a sack on a critical third down and fumbled the ball for Detroit’s first lost fumble of the season. The play took three potential points off the board for Detroit, as they were in the fringe of field goal position.

Fourth quarter

Detroit’s defense had a good opportunity to get off the field with a third-and-14 play. However, Rivers went deep and Justin Coleman, back from injury, was tagged for a 41-yard pass interference penalty on a ticky-tacky call. Three plays later the Colts punched it in and converted a two-point conversion. 28-14 Colts.

On the very next play, Stafford had a complete visual breakdown, mistaking zone for man, and threw it right to Kenny Moore for a pick six and a devastating touchdown. 35-14 Colts.

The Lions did score a quick retaliation touchdown. A huge bomb to Marvin Hall put the Lions into the red zone.

A few plays later, Marvin Jones Jr. picked up his second touchdown of the game to bring it back to a two-score game. 35-21 Colts.

But Detroit’s defense—having been on the field for well over the majority of the game—finally looked worn down by the Colts offense. Indy responded with a 12-play, 73 yard drive that ate up 5:14 of the clock and extended the lead back to 20 points and pretty much ended the game (another missed PAT). 41-21 Colts.

With the loss, the Lions are now 3-4 and in need for some serious help around the league. Unfortunately, they’re also quite beat up in this game with Kenny Golladay, Trey Flowers and Jamal Agnew all injured. We’ll see if the Lions can recover next week against a Vikings team coming off a big win against the Packers.

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