'We should be 4-0.' But Matt Patricia's Lions know how to lose


In what feels like a rerun of last season, the Lions have built double-digit leads in three of their first four games -- and blown all three.

After jumping up 14-0 on the undermanned Saints on Sunday, Detroit allowed 35 straight points to fall to 1-3, placing Matt Patricia -- and Bob Quinn -- squarely on the hot seat.

It was the fifth time in the past six games, dating back to Week 16 of last season, that Patricia's Lions blew a double-digit lead. And the 10th time in the past 13 games, dating back to Week 9 of last season, that they blew any kind of lead at all.

Here's the upside, according to Patricia.

"Again, I think we’ve been able to start pretty fast here, which has been great," he said Sunday. "And I think we will come back (and) try to sustain that."

The downside speaks for itself.

“It’s very frustrating," said veteran LT Taylor Decker. "We start fast, we show that we can get up on teams and score points on teams and stop teams. But at the end of the day, it’s a 60-minute game.

"So, I mean, yeah, it is frustrating. There’s no other way to say it.”

While building leads is certainly a challenge in the NFL, the Lions have made blowing them look easy. Sunday was the most glaring example. Detroit went up 14-0 in the first 4:37 of the game. That's efficiency.

The Saints scored five touchdowns on their next five drives. Over 25:30 of possession, they ran 46 plays for 344 yards and 24 first downs. Detroit's four drives during the same stretch of play lasted just 6:01: 16 plays, 70 yards, four first downs. That's inefficiency of a different order.

The mismatch between Patricia and Sean Payton, and between Detroit's roster and that of New Orleans, was never clearer than when it came time to make adjustments. One team found a rhythm, the other lost it. One coaching staff found the answers, the other found none.

"We obviously jumped out early, but it was so early in the game in the first quarter," Patricia said. "I think after that, we didn’t play very well in the middle of the game. I thought we came back at the end of the game and battled to try to give ourselves a chance to win, and obviously we didn’t come through."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Maybe not the exact script, but certainly the conclusion. We didn't come through. Ultimately, that's what the NFL's about. Not finding ways to compete, but finding ways to win.

Under Patricia, the Lions only find ways to lose.

"Good thing it’s still early in the season," said LB Reggie Ragland. "I know a lot of people are doubting us – man, forget that. We still can make a push of this thing, but we have to make up our mind and go do it because rightfully, we should be 4-0 right now. But we didn’t finish.

"All the great teams in this league finish in difficult situations. That’s what we have to do. It’s the NFL, it’s a grown-man’s league. We have to finish in these tough situations. We got the pieces, we got the coach. We just have to go play, man.”

True, the Lions could be 4-0 heading into the bye. And if we're going off blown leads, they could have been 14-2 last season. That they have four wins over those 20 games says all you need to know about their ability to finish.

"We’ve seen flashes of how good we can be," said Decker. "You see spurts here and there of what we can do when we execute. We know we have all the pieces to execute what we need in this locker room and on this team.

"But at the end of the day, it’s a full group effort. Everybody has to do their job. We’ve seen flashes of it. We just need to see it more consistently.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nic Antaya / Stringer