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Lions vs Falcons: What Just Happened?

A collection of thoughts on the Lions Week 16 loss.

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The hype was super high last week when the Detroit Lions beat the Arizona Cardinals. The hype is still high, but it’s lowered a bit after the Lions' 20-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The Lions didn’t look all that bad in an oddly quiet game. But, not having their starting quarterback really proved to be an issue.

As always, I have thoughts on this.....False Start on Mike Payton.

I’m sorry. Let me try that again. I have thoughts on this game, these are those thoughts:

Tim Boyle was better... but still rough

Boyle looked good early on in the game going 6-7 on the first offensive drive. A few series later, Boyle would hit Amon-Ra St. Brown for his first career touchdown pass. Outside of that, Boyle was off when it counted and was even further off when it really counted. In the final moments, Boyle threw a very bad ball right into the waiting hands of Falcons linebacker Foye Olukun, and that cost the Lions the game. The Lions really need Jared Goff back if they hope to rattle off another win before season's end.

The Field Goal

I get it in theory. You have all three timeouts and the two-minute warning. It’s fourth down and you don’t want to press your luck again. Take the points. Still, The Lions were three for four on fourth down tries on Sunday. Another try could have possibly worked and then allowed the Lions' defense a chance to defend in a tie game.

At the end of the day, this feels like one of those things where it’s really easy to make a call either way from your armchair. I’m not sure what I would have done if I was the guy who had to make the call from the sidelines.

Lions’ run game is going to be great

General manager Brad Holmes is going to have a serious issue soon. He’s going to have too many good running backs. D’Andre Swift really showed that he’s a stud before getting injured and Craig Reynolds has been phenomenal in relief. Jamaal Willimas came out on Sunday and said “don’t you forget me” with a nice 77 yard game on 4.1 yards per carry.

It’s going to be really interesting to see what this team does when they have all three guys available. With Swift back at practice, there’s a chance we might see that sooner than later.

Praise The Sun God

Get in your Delorean and go back to April with me. Lions fans were freaking out that Brad Holmes had not yet selected a receiver before day three. While they were right to feel that way since the Lions receiving corps looked rough early on, Holmes seems like he might wind up having the last laugh after the guy he finally picked, St. Brown, is looking like a legit receiving threat.

St. Brown had nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. Impressively, over the last four weeks, including today’s game, St. Brown has 35 receptions for 340 yards and three touchdowns. You can see that St. Brown might have a future as a potential number one receiver on this team.

Draft Watch

The fun part of being in this position at the end of the season is that there really is no bad situation anymore. The playoffs are out the window and now it’s just win or get a better draft position. The Lions' loss today only helped them have a better draft position. The Texans' surprising win over the Chargers helped too. The Jaguars could have really done the Lions a favor by beating the Jets, but it is what it is. As it stands, the Lions have the second pick in the draft going into April. We’ll see where it goes from here.

False Starts

The false starts are killing this team. They were able to overcome some of them and that’s encouraging to see, but this has been a major issue for the Lions' offense this season. The Lions' offensive line has been very good season, but this is the biggest thing to clean up before 2022. You can’t put your offense behind like this anymore.

The feeling is the same

I don’t know about you guys, but I still feel the same way about the Lions as I did last week after their win over the Cardinals. The Lions played a fairly decent game, and outside of the interception and false starts, it was devoid of major mistakes. Even if the Lions did make mistakes, they were able to overcome some of them. The feeling of watching this team and knowing they’re going to make a huge mistake or totally lose in embarrassing fashion doesn't really exist anymore. The Lions are progressing. Soon that’s going to mean wins and important games late in the season.

By the way, it’s still crazy to me that the Lions are still playing this way despite missing everyone and losing more players during the game. Just wild stuff.