It sounds like a running joke, but the Detroit Lions lost another game.
Success still evades the franchise, especially in the playoffs.
They lost all three postseason games that they played in the last decade.
You would have to go way back to 1991 to see their last playoff victory.
But fast forward to the 2021 season, and the Lions started on the wrong note again.
— Evan Fox (@evanfoxy) September 13, 2021
However, the San Francisco 49ers did not laugh until the game clock went all zeroes.
Unfortunately, it was all Niners in that period aside from that Lions touchdown and a 49-yard field goal by Austin Seibert.
After the Hockenson touchdown, San Francisco running back Eli Mitchell scored on a 38-yard rush to take the lead back, 14-7.
JaMycal Hasty also had his three-yard scoring run to extend the Niners lead to 14, 21-7.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 13, 2021
In the following sequence, cornerback Dre Greenlaw intercepted Goff and completed a 39-yard touchdown return.
Another Robbie Gould field goal ended the first half at 31-10 for the Niners.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the third quarter, and another Gould field goal made the count 41-17 with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
The Lions of previous years may have given up after seeing that huge deficit.
But new head coach Dan Campbell isn’t buying that mentality.
Completing A Comeback, Almost
Campbell set the tone for the Lions during his first press conference as the team’s primary mentor.
The most memorable quip is that his team will “bite off kneecaps” to try and win every game.
That mentality resonated when the Lions nearly overhauled the Niners’ lead.
A Jamaal Williams touchdown run and a two-point conversion made it 41-25.
The Lions recovered the ensuing onside kick and scored on another touchdown pass from Goff to Quintez Cephus.
Another successful two-point conversion had Detroit knocking on the 49ers’ door, 41-33.
In the following sequence, the Niners used their run game to eat as much game clock as possible.
Goff commanded a drive up to the Niners’ 24-yard line with less than 30 seconds left in the game.
However, the comeback failed after two incomplete passes to Cephus and Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Forcing overtime at home would have been an excellent start to a new era in Lions football.
In some ways, it will help exorcise the ghosts of their futility.
Sadly, the near comeback masks several points of concern.
More Holes To Patch
Detroit allowed three momentum-changing sacks and converted just four tries on third down out of 15 attempts.
San Francisco averaged eight yards per play which somewhat guaranteed them a first down every two possessions.
The Lions had the ball for 33 minutes of game time but only fought toward the end.
Likewise, Mitchell and Samuel both had big days for the Niners.
Mitchell had 104 yards on 19 carries, while Samuel had 189 receiving yards and a touchdown on nine receptions.
DEEBO SAMUEL adjusting and cooking Okudah, 79 yard TD. pic.twitter.com/AygmdoeFvd
— The GIF Guy (@IHaveFourBalls) September 12, 2021
Yes, the botched comeback is a feel-good story that Lions fans will embrace.
But it did not need to happen if they fought hard from the opening kickoff.
It’s still a defeat, no matter how they look at it.
Banking on moral victories alone won’t help them against the Green Bay Packers in Week 2 at Lambeau Field.
— Rashan Gary ® (@RashanAGary) September 13, 2021
The Packers will come out angry after a 38-3 drubbing by the New Orleans Saints.
Will the Lions match their intensity?
Or will the loss cause them to collapse this early?