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Notes: What went wrong on the Lions’ fourth-and-19 defense vs. Ravens

A film breakdown of why Detroit’s most important defensive call didn’t work.

Baltimore Ravens v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

During Monday’s press conference, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell defended the play call during the most critical moment of Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. With the Ravens facing a fourth-and-19 with the game on the line, the Lions called a timeout and tried to get every defender on the same page for the upcoming defensive call. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

“What I was hoping to gain was to get everybody settled and get everybody on the same page and we did. We had everybody on the same page but one person and it hurt us. It hurt us,” Campbell said.

The Lions head coach did not reveal which player was to blame, but many assumed it was safety Will Harris, who was the closest defender to Sammy Watkins, who ended up catching the pass for 36 yards—the only yards the Ravens would need to kick the game-winning 66-yard field goal.

Well on Tuesday, the All-22 “coaches film” made the rounds, and it appears it was not Harris to blame. As first pointed out by the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers, it appears cornerback Bobby Price was playing zone when the rest of the Lions cornerbacks were man-to-man. Here’s the entire play from the All-22 film:

And here are a couple of screenshots to illustrate the coverage and the mistake. Here’s what it appears the Lions were trying to do:

But at a critical point, Price, the cornerback at the bottom of the screen, appears to pass his receiver to the right side of the defense, and no one is there.

This is the point in the article where I remind you that Bobby Price is in his second NFL season, and he transitioned to the cornerback position just a little more than a month ago. He was expected to be solely a special teamer this year, but injuries have forced him into the starting lineup. This was his first career start, too, so you have to imagine this mistake is going to stick with him for some time.

  • A Football Life: Calvin Johnson debuts this Friday at 9 p.m. ET on NFL Network. NFL Films released a trailer on Tuesday:


  • Ever wonder what it would look like if every Matthew Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson touchdown pass was charted on one football field? Well, your very specific dream has come true:

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