Things were looking bleak for the Lions in the 4th quarter of Sunday’s game in Cincinnati. They were down by a score of 16-10 and Sam Martin was out to punt for the Lions on 4th & 6.
That’s when Detroit was given an early Christmas present by the Bengals defense — running into the kicker. That 5 yard penalty gave Matthew Stafford and the offense another opportunity to convert on 4th & inches. That’s when rookie Tion Green saved the day — actually, saved the season. Detroit converted and a few plays later it was Tion Green again, except this time he was ran for a touchdown.
But that joy didn’t last long. The Bengals marched down the field on their next possession to kick a field goal and take a 19-17 lead, a lead they would keep.
After numerous penalties on the offensive line of Detroit Stafford and the Lions were backed up to 3rd & 28. Matthew Stafford threw up a jump-ball for Golden Tate who looked as if he had come down with the ball.
Initially it was called an incomplete pass but after looking at the replay it appeared Tate maintained possession long enough for it to be considered a catch — but Detroit’s head-coach Jim Caldwell didn’t even consider challenging the play & sent out Sam Martin who botched yet another punt.
The Bengals would score again on their next drive — putting the nail in the coffin for the Lions, who lost by a final score of 26-17.
Throwing salt into the wound of Lions fans is knowing that the Atlanta Falcons lost in New Orleans — which improved Detroit’s chances of getting in. But Stafford and the Lions couldn’t beat a 5-9 struggling Cincinnati Bengals team.
It is yet to be known if Jim Caldwell will return as head coach of the Lions for the 2018 season. Caldwell is the winning-est coach in Lions franchise history — but not a favorite among active Lions fans who have been calling for Caldwell’s job since early in the 2016 season.
One thing is for certain — something needs to happen in Detroit before the start of the 2018 season. Something needs to change — I’d start with a new head coach and a play making running back.