No winning season or playoffs, only disappointment for Lions

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The Detroit Lions trudged off the field late Sunday afternoon, some faster than others, all pretty quickly. There wasn’t much else to do after a loss that effectively ended their season with two games remaining.

A chance at the playoffs: extinguished. A third consecutive winning season, something the franchise hadn’t accomplished since the mid-1990s: no longer possible. Another year ending in disappointment after a 14-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

“It sucks. It just sucks knowing that we’re not going to the playoffs,” safety Glover Quin said. “That’s what everybody plays the game for, to have an opportunity to get in the tournament, you know. When you get eliminated, it just sucks, you know.

“It’s kind of like, heck, the season’s not over. Still got two games left to play, you know. Just not going to the playoffs. We owe it to our fans to go out next week, get a win and then, you know, going to Green Bay. Both of those are division opponents so we got to play those guys next year, so good to go get a win and go into the offseason with good momentum.”8

Sure, but what happens over the next two weeks is for a different discussion and a different day. Right now the Lions (5-9) are trying to figure out how they got here. And Sunday was a bunch of issues old and new.

The offense, put together by duct tape, glue and players unaccustomed to their roles over the past three weeks, was essentially ineffective other than a career-high 146 yards from receiver Kenny Golladay and decent running afternoons from Theo Riddick (eight carries, 47 yards) and Zach Zenner (10 carries, 45 yards). The playcalling, particularly late, was once again conservative when the Lions needed a score. Golladay’s production was close to two-and-a-half-times more than the rest of the Detroit’s pass-catchers combined.

The defense, which improved over the past month, had some issues with defensive holding and pass interference — four penalties called overall, two declined — and couldn’t get off the field when it mattered most.