By Ashley Dunkak
FORD FIELD (CBS DETROIT) – The Detroit Lions gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plenty of assistance Sunday, turning the ball over five times before ultimately losing 24-21 to the Bucs, who at one time were 0-8 this season.
Wide receiver Nate Burleson blamed the loss on the turnovers, which he referred to as simple physical errors easily correctable upon watching film. Running back Reggie Bush seemed to feel there was a deeper issue with the Lions.
Detroit is still in contention for the NFC North title but has lost its last two games, both to seemingly inferior opponents.
“We don’t feel like it’s slipping away, but our sense of urgency has to go up quick,” Bush said after the game.
“Our mindset, it just wasn’t where it needed to be,” Bush added. “It’s not our effort because we play as hard as anybody. It’s the little things, the mental errors that are getting us beat, the turnovers, obviously.”
In terms of talent, Detroit is plenty capable, but blunders came in all shapes and sizes, from all units – four interceptions, a blocked punt, an 85-yard pass given up, fumbles and more.
“We definitely need to have a team meeting,” Bush said. “We definitely need to have a players-only meeting and really dig deep inside and find out what we’re made of. It’s going to take everybody on this team – coaching staff, players – to really be able to overcome this.”
Burleson backed up his teammate’s assertion.
“Anything that Reggie says, I’m 100 percent behind him,” Burleson said. “Maybe he’s right. We’ve got to talk this week, just players-only meeting, figure out a way to fine-tune our focus. Guys were focused in the beginning of the game, but there was drops in our energy and letting them continue to stay motivated. We’ve got to figure out a way to kind of snatch away the motivation of opposing teams, especially when we’re at home. We didn’t do that today.”
The Lions need to get their act together quickly with only three days between now and the Thanksgiving Day showdown with the division rival Green Bay Packers. Burleson said players can think about the loss Sunday night but that the next day they need to forget it.
“It’s frustrating, but at the same time we still have a chance to right our wrongs,” Burleson said. “We’ve still got a chance to win the division.
“How mad can you be? You can be made up until you go to sleep,” Burleson continued. “When you wake up, better change your mind, figure out what’s important. Is it thinking about this loss for a few more days, or is it shifting your focus onto Green Bay and getting a win on Thanksgiving, which is something we haven’t done in a while?”
The Lions have not won a Thanksgiving Day game since 2003, and in many holiday games this past decade, they have been on the wrong end of one-sided games. Despite back-to-back losses for the first time this season, Burleson said he still considers Detroit a championship-caliber team.
“If we were out here running the wrong plays and guys were running into each other, and we were getting blown out, that’s when I can’t say that,” Burleson said, “but right now I can say that with extreme confidence.
“And if anybody’s got a problem with that, they can holler at me,” Burleson added. “They know where I work.”