Last-place Detroit Lions miss opportunity in Dallas
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK — Last year, the Detroit Lions started 3-1 and didn’t make the playoffs — so what happens in September doesn’t have to define the season.
The Lions better hope that’s the case, because a loss at Dallas on Sunday has them in a hole.
“There’s a lot of work in front of us,” first-year coach Matt Patricia said Monday. “I think we’re learning a lot about our team. I think we see a lot of different things on the field. I would say these guys are tough, these guys work extremely hard. They will fight all the way to the end for 60 minutes.”
The Lions appeared to be rallying a bit when they beat New England two weekends ago, but Sunday’s 26-24 loss to the Cowboys left them at 1-3.
Detroit certainly looks more competitive now than it did in a 31-point loss to the Jets in the opener, but the reality is that the regular season is now 25 percent over, and the Lions are in last place in the NFC North.
A huge home game with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay looms this coming weekend — the first divisional matchup of the season for the Lions.
It’s still fairly early, but dropping to 1-4 would put Detroit in a tough spot heading into its open date.
The Lions have been outscored 59-17 in the third quarter this season. In all three of their defeats, they faced double-digit deficits entering the fourth.
Detroit was down 20-10 after three periods Sunday, but eventually took a 24-23 lead on Matthew Stafford’s 38-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate with 2:17 remaining.