By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – The Detroit Lions slogged out to a 14-0 lead in snowy Philadelphia, and then they turned into the vintage Lions, eventually giving up 28 points in the fourth quarter and losing 34-20.
Lions running back Joique Bell, who fumbled twice in the first half, claimed sole responsibility for the loss.
“Don’t blame the offense. Don’t blame the defense. There’s no way we can go in the red zone twice and I cough it up twice,” Bell said. “Don’t blame nobody. Don’t blame the coaches. Put that game on me, on my shoulders. I’m going to come back next week, I’m going to run furious, I’m going to go into the week and prepare like I’m just p—– off.
“I can’t allow myself to go out there and do that, put my team in that predicament,” Bell continued, “and it’ll never happen again.”
Bell fumbled in the first quarter when the Lions had 2nd and 12 at the Philadelphia 28-yard line, and he fumbled again early in the second quarter when the Lions had 3rd and 7 at the Philadelphia 10.
His mistakes cost Detroit big, no doubt. However, Bell’s miscues hardly decided the game for the Lions. Detroit went into halftime leading 8-0 and took a 14-0 lead after Jeremy Ross returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford also had plenty of trouble handling the ball. He bobbled, dropped and recovered four snaps, including three in the team’s first two drives. Another fumble occurred when center Dominic Raiola snapped the ball when Stafford was not looking. Stafford had a chance to recover yet again, but instead of falling on the ball, he tried to pick it up, and the Eagles ended up falling on it first.
The Lions offense could not do anything after the first quarter. Detroit’s only points after the initial touchdown came from Ross, who, in addition to his punt return for a touchdown, returned a kick 98 yards for another score.
“It’s not the same as a sunny day, that’s for sure, but you’ve got to make adjustments,” Stafford said. “I thought we made some good plays in the passing game. I don’t think anybody was going to go 20 of 25 for 350 yards in that, but we just didn’t make enough plays in the second half.”
The defense also became less effectual as the game wore on. The Lions had not given up 100 yards to any running back this season despite facing three of the NFL’s top five running backs – Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (twice), Chicago’s Matt Forte (twice) and Washington’s Alfred Morris. Against the Eagles, Detroit allowed 299 rushing yards, including 217 to LeSean McCoy alone.
Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy attributed to failures to a combination of mental and physical errors.
“We played soft in the second half, and we can’t do that as a defense,” Levy said. “It was mental if anything, and then physically, missed tackles. We played soft down the stretch. We can’t do that.
“Half of those runs, a guy was cut out of the gap or in the wrong gap and a little bit slow in their fit, whatever it was, and then they get to the second level,” Levy added. “Guys missed tackles, myself included, and they went for big gains. When we feel the momentum switching like that, we’ve got to kind of get a hold of ourselves, get a hold of the game, not panic and just continue to battle, and we didn’t do that.”