By: Will Burchfield
Yet again, the Lions failed to back up their words.
After talking all week long about the importance of starting fast in Sunday’s game versus the Ravens, they were down 20-0 at halftime en route to a 44-20 loss. Early deficits have become a trend for a 6-6 team that’s slipping out of the playoff race.
The Lions have been outscored 36-3 in the first quarter of the past four games, but Jim Caldwell, who shoulders the blame for his team’s sluggish starts, said the numbers aren’t alarming.
“Something you’re going to want to get straightened away, there’s no doubt about that, because we don’t want to start that way. But you look back on I think 23 or 24 of the 33 games we’ve won around here, we’ve come from behind in every single one of them,” Caldwell said.
The Lions were able to rally in Weeks 10 and 11 versus the Browns and the Bears, but they were doomed against better opponents each of the last two games. They fell behind the Vikings 20-3 in what ended up a 30-23 loss on Thanksgiving.
In total, they’ve been outscored 76-30 in the first quarter this season.
“Yeah, we’d like to be able to start better, but one thing we’re not going to do is let it affect our psyche in that regard,” Caldwell said. “But we have to get better. We’re just not good enough right now and we have to keep fighting to get it. That’s the name of the game, that’s our challenge as a staff and as a team.”
Following the loss to the Vikings, arguably the Lions’ best player in Darius Slay voiced some frustration over their inability to string together four quarters of football.
“I’m trying to make sure — I’m making sure I’m playing all four quarters, but I ain’t the only person on the team. We all have to feel the same way,” said Slay. “I’m an energy guy, so I’m turned up all day, every day. Some guys might be a little different, I don’t know.
“But I know one thing: We gotta get this sh*t right because we can’t be starting slow. This slow stuff is going to catch up with us, man. It’s catching up now in critical moments, and we can’t be having that.”
Trailing by two games in the wild card with four games remaining, the Lions have seen their playoff odds dip to just 10.3 percent, per Football Outsiders.
“We’ve got to get this together,” said Golden Tate in the wake of Sunday’s loss. “We’ve still got games and a lot can happen. There’s been crazier things that have happened, but we’ve got to get this thing popping.”