Lions Den: Lions Fall to Seattle in Ninth Straight Playoff Loss

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Lions Den: Lions Fall to Seattle in Ninth Straight Playoff Loss

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The Detroit Lions played sloppy on both sides of the ball, eventually losing to the Seattle Seahawks by a final score of 26-6 at CenturyLink Field in Saturday night’s wild-card playoff game.

The loss was the Lions’ ninth straight in the playoffs, marking the longest postseason losing streak in NFL history. Seattle will travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons next Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on Fox.

Detroit’s downfall was the inefficiency up front against the Seattle rushing attack. The Seahawks dominated the Lions in the trenches, opening holes for Thomas Rawls who rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Rawls’ day was culminated by a 4-yard touchdown run, extending Seattle’s lead to 19-6 with 8:49 left in the game.

The Lions secondary held Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in check most of the game, allowing him to throw for 224 yards and two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came on a controversial one-handed catch by Seahawks receiver Paul Richardson. Richardson grabbed Lions safety Tavon Wilson’s face mask while making the miraculous catch, but the touchdown was awarded to the Seahawks. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said the referees admitted to missing the call, but the touchdown gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead with 7:07 remaining in the first half.

The Seahawks’ first touchdown was set up by a failed fourth down conversion by the Lions at the Seattle 40-yard line. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford rolled out to the right, looking to get the ball to Dwayne Washington, but had to check the ball down to Matthew Mulligan, leading to a 2-yard loss and a turnover on downs. Seattle would then embark on a 14 play, 60-yard drive for the game’s first touchdown.

Detroit’s offense was just as bad as the defense, as Stafford was held to just 205 yards passing. Stafford didn’t have much success throwing the ball, completing just 56 percent of his passes, but he did have some success checking the ball down to running back Zach Zenner. Zenner finished the game with six catches for 54 yards. Stafford’s completion percentage was hurt by four dropped passes that could have extended drives. Eric Ebron dropped two passes, while Golden Tate and Marvin Jones each dropped one.

The Lions had success running the ball in the first half of their final two regular season games, but that wasn’t the case in this game. Zenner rushed for just 34 yards on 11 carries, but 17 of those yards came on one carry. Detroit’s inability to run the ball put pressure on Stafford to beat the Seahawks’ top 10 defense.

Not only was Detroit not executing, but they were also committing costly penalties. Lions receiver Anquan Boldin was expected to bring a veteran presence to this Lions team, but he was called for two personal fouls. The Lions would finish the game with seven penalties for 68 yards, but four of those penalties were personal fouls. The Lions weren’t executing on either side of the ball, but the penalties made things even harder for them.

The Lions finished the season on a four-game losing streak, but Caldwell will return next season. Caldwell is 27-22 in three season as coach, but his contract is only runs through the 2017 season, meaning he is likely on a short leash heading into next season. If Detroit doesn’t get off to a fast start next season, Caldwell will likely be gone.