Lions show off their sure-handedness during record-setting streak

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
 
| The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions have an unfortunate reputation for setting notorious records. You know, like becoming the first team to blow double-digit leads in four straight games.

But here’s one for the positive column — with Sunday’s win against Atlanta, the Lions became the first team in NFL history to not fumble the ball once in their first six games. 

That’s 403 snaps, 159 carries, 204 receptions and 504 touches without a football escaping a Lions players’ grasp. Talk about sticky fingers. 

“Honestly, I just think the guys do a great job with fundamentals,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “I think it’s a big part of our teaching of fundamentals. From Day One, when we talk about those things, the number one fundamental is ball security and obviously trying to turn the ball over when we get those opportunities.”

For contrast, the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys have averaged two fumbles per game this season, and Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow has put the ball on the ground eight times alone. 

This isn’t a new thing for the Lions under Patricia. During his entire tenure, the team has been impressively ball secure. Since taking over in 2018, the Lions have a league-low 26 fumbles from scrimmage, slightly better than Patricia’s former employer, the New England Patriots. 

“We’ve got a little bit of a saying, it’s called, ‘It’s all about the ball,'” Patricia said. “That’s the truth. We’ve got to be all about the ball and make sure we’re doing a great job protecting it all the way through.”

The Patriots were also the last team to go six straight games without a fumble, accomplishing the feat in 2018. 

Detroit’s overall ball security has them ranked behind only the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers in giveaways and seventh in turnover differential. That’s a big turnaround from the previous two seasons, when the Lions were among the bottom 10 each year in that critical category. 

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter @Justin_Rogers

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