The Detroit Lions and Matt Patricia had one last chance to make their case that this ship was headed in the right direction. One last shot to prove to a national audience that this franchise still had something left in the tank.
They proved without a shadow of a doubt that this game is toast, and that changes just absolutely have to happen. A heap of first-half turnovers masked a well-played first half, but everything absolutely fell apart in the second, and the Lions were blown out for the fourth time in five games.
In the end, the Lions were absolutely embarrassed on national television against a Houston Texans, and lost 41-25.
Here’s how it happened:
The Texans offense took the field first, and it appeared they were poised to score on their opening possession. After converting a third-and-7, Deshaun Watson faced a third-and-10 a few plays later at midfield. Jarrad Davis, however, had a nice pass rush from the edge, got a hand on Watson and Everson Griffen cleaned up the sack, forcing a punt.
The Lions offense came out and had some fireworks. Thanks to catches 61 yards from T.J. Hockenson, the Lions were able to get deep into Texans territory. 51 of those yards were picked up on a well-designed reverse flea-flickery type of play:
Thanksgiving trickery!— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 26, 2020
After a Texans pass interference call that put Detroit on the goal line, Adrian Peterson punched it in from a yard away to give the Lions an early lead. 7-0 Lions.
Detroit’s defense remained stout early in the game. After allowing Watson to scramble for 12 yards on the first play of the drive, the Lions would tighten up. A holding penalty pushed the Texans back, and Desmond Trufant had a nice pass breakup on a third down to force a second consecutive punt.
Unfortunately for Detroit, the very first play was a disaster. Matthew Stafford felt the blitz coming and was prepared to drop it off to fullback Jason Cabinda. But J.J. Watt got in the passing lane and picked it off. Watt was able to easily stroll in for the touchdown, but the Texans missed the extra point. 7-6 Lions.
JJ WATT PICK-6!!!— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2020
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Detroit quickly gave the ball right back to the Texans, as Jonathan Williams—on his first carry for the Lions this season—coughed it up.
FUMBLE! And the @HoustonTexans recover.— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2020
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After a sketchy pass interference call, the Texans were on the goal line. A play-action pass from Watson to running back C.J. Prosise fooled the Lions defense, and put the Texans up on the day. 13-7 Texans.
The Lions offense would get back in gear toward the end of the first quarter and worked their way to midfield before the game clock elapsed.
But on the very first play of the second quarter, Kerryon Johnson fumbled in the red zone, Detroit’s third turnover of the day against a Texans defense that had only five turnovers on the season going into this game.
However, the Texans gave the ball right back with a fumble of their own. Jamie Collins Sr. ripped the ball from Prosise and Jahlani Tavai recovered.
MINHA MÃE DO CÉU! É FUMBLE DE NOVO! Na jogada seguinte ao Fumble de Detroit, C.J. Prosise também perde a bola e a posse volta para os Lions! #NFLBrasil #NFLnaESPN #HOUvsDET— NFL Brasil (@NFLBrasil) November 26, 2020
Assista a TODOS os jogos da Semana 12 por apenas 5 REAIS! Acesse https://t.co/uMRqwxJ5yr e aproveite! pic.twitter.com/l462SfsStb
A few plays later, Adrian Peterson punched it in for his second score of the game. 14-13 Lions.
After putting the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, the Texans had good field position. A pass interference call on Desmond Trufant put Houston in Lions territory after just one play. Though a holding penalty would push them back temporarily, Watson found a wide open Duke Johnson, who had thoroughly beaten Jamie Collins Sr. for a 33-yard touchdown. 20-14 Texans
Thanksgiving Day Dimes, courtesy of @DeshaunWatson.— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2020
This was beautiful.
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The Lions offense was moving along quite nicely again, however their conservative nature slowed them down again. After runs on first and second down, the Lions failed to convert a third-and-6. Faced with the option to go for it from the Texans 49-yard line, Detroit opted to punt and Jack Fox kicked it into the endzone.
The Texans took the ball and drove right down field. A big 27-yard gain to Brandin Cooks helped Houston get out of a second-and-24 rut following a Nick Williams sack. Still, the Lions were able to get a stop in the red zone and hold the Texans to just three. 23-14 Texans.
Detroit had plenty of time and three timeouts to pull within a possession before the end of t he half. However, Stafford took a sack on a third-and-8 that pushed Detroit back 4 yards to Houston’s 48-yard line. Rather than go for it on fourth-and-12 or kicking a 66-yard field goal, the Lions punted, essentially ending the half.
The Lions offense took the field in the second half and wanted to make a statement. They went out and ran the ball 10 straight times and it was working all over a bad Texans defense. The Lions then dialed up another trick play.
I LOVE #ThanksGivingDay football!— ️ Steven Van Over (@StevenVanOver) November 26, 2020
23-14 #HOUvsDET | #WeAreTexans | #NFL2020 | #OnePride | #NFL | #SportsTalkLine pic.twitter.com/5t1WwMXezV
But the ball slipped out of Matthew Stafford’s hands, and it was ruled incomplete and stood upon review. Detroit couldn’t punch it in there, and had to settle for a disappointing three points. 23-17 Texans.
The Texans would quickly retaliate. A big pass to Will Fuller V (38 yards) put Houston into field goal range. Watson missed a wide open Jordan Atkins for a touchdown, forcing them to settle for just three, but pushing it back to a two-score game. 26-17 Texans.
The Lions next possession stalled out from there, leaving Detroit in a significant hole as the headed into the fourth quarter.
The Texans pretty much put the dagger on the Lions on their first possession of the final quarter. Watson found Will Fuller, who had again left Oruwariye in the dust, for a 40-yard touchdown:
Another @DeshaunWatson DIME.— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2020
40-yard TD pass to @Will_Fuller7!
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A two-point conversion was good. 34-17 Texans.
Detroit’s offense had apparently used up all they had in the first half, as they quickly went four-and-out, turning the ball over on downs.
On the first play of the next drive, the Texans just put the hurt on Detroit. A well-executed trick play sprung Will Fuller, who had no defender near him and easily scored a 34-yard touchdown.
Just like the kids in the backyard— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) November 26, 2020
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The Lions would add a garbage time touchdown to Mohamed Sanu with a two point conversion, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Lions fall to 4-7, and you have to imagine there’s a pretty good chance we hear from ownership pretty soon. For now, enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving.