DETROIT -- You’ve likely read something like this before on the Detroit Lions over the past two-plus seasons. They take a lead, it looks like the Lions have a shot. Then, like the same horrid film again and again, the same recurring things appear.
The defense can’t stop the run or the pass. Silly penalties elongate drives. The offense is too inconsistent for the talent they have. It’s been the theme of the Matt Patricia era, on full display in a 35-29 loss to New Orleans on Sunday.
Detroit once again held a double-digit lead, up 14-0 in the first five minutes. Predictably, the Lions lost that lead. Not only did they lose it, they gave up 35 straight points by the middle of the third quarter. It was eerily reminiscent of the loss at Green Bay in Week 2, when everything looked good for a quarter only to end in a mauling.
It’s the fifth straight game in which the Lions held a double-digit lead yet still lost, which according to Elias extends the NFL record they set against the Packers.
It all sums up the Patricia era so succinctly. The jerseys may change. The opponents inflicting the damage may be different. But the results end up the same. Loss begets loss -- and Detroit will now go a calendar year without winning a game at Ford Field when the Lions next play at home on Nov. 1 against Indianapolis.
They have lost 14 of their past 16 games under Patricia and fall to 1-3 this season -- the team's only win a come-from-behind victory in Arizona last week that stopped the team's 11-game losing streak.
Detroit enters its off week with many more questions than answers -- from the direction of the franchise to what is going on in the mind of new owner Sheila Ford Hamp, who took over primary ownership from her mother, Martha Ford, in June.
Hamp said in June the goal was “major improvement” from last season’s 3-12-1 mark when the family decided to retain Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn last December. Has she seen enough to continue for now?
Only she really knows. But if the Lions continue as they’ve been, the answer might be easier for her than ever before.
Describe the game in two words: Just. Awful. There’s no other way to describe what the Lions defense did, allowing 394 yards and 5.8 yards per play to a New Orleans offense missing Michael Thomas, Jared Cook and, for the majority of the second half, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk -- and both Alvin Kamara (83 yards, 4.4 yards per carry) and Latavius Murray (64 yards, 4.6 yards per carry) could barely be stopped.
Promising trend: T.J. Hockenson didn’t have a big stat line Sunday, but the second-year tight end continues to make plays when the Lions need them, catching a touchdown pass to stop New Orleans’ 35-point run and then a two-point conversion to cut the Saints' lead to 35-29 with 3:40 left.
QB breakdown: Matthew Stafford was not sharp Sunday. He threw a bad interception intended for Hockenson in the end zone that stopped a promising drive and missed open receivers more than once. He wasn’t helped by early drops, but for as decent as his stat line looked -- 17-of-31 for 206 yards, three touchdowns and one interception -- his play didn’t quite match up with it. Too many passes missed their mark, especially against a Saints defense down their top two corners in Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins.