Detroit Lions find new way shoot themselves in foot. But there’s reason for hope — really

Detroit Free Press

CLEVELAND — Yo momma so ugly she looks like this game!

The Detroit Lions lost another in the craziest of ways on Sunday. They kept it close but let another winnable game slip away under a barrage of mistakes, penalties, misfires, blown opportunities and costly insults about a parent.

Wait a second, what?

Yes, I’m being serious.

Yo-momma trash talk played a role in the Cleveland Browns’ 13-10 victory Sunday over the Lions.

Which is so Lions.

Stick around long enough and you’ll see them find a new way to lose.

Already this season, we have seen the Lions lose on a record-breaking 66-yard field goal from Ravens kicker Justin Tucker that – boink! – bounced off the cross bar and through.

Then, there was the 54-yarder from Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph, as time expired and crushed whatever hearts Lions fans had left.

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And then this: the yo-momma loss.

Which set up a memorable scene: a repentant Jonah Jackson, the Lions left guard, came walking down the hallway in FirstEnergy Stadium late Sunday afternoon. He could have run to the bus. He could have declined to comment.

But he didn’t.

He faced his mistake, which is both admirable and encouraging in the big picture.

“Let’s do this by this wall,” a Lions media relations official said to a small group of reporters. “But try to maintain social distancing.”

Jackson agreed to talk to the media after he committed an sportsmanship penalty at the end of the third quarter, a mental lapse that happened at the worst possible time.

After an ugly start to this game, the Lions were showing life. They had just scored on D’Andre Swift’s brilliant 57-yard touchdown run, which sliced the Browns’ lead to 13-7. And after stopping the Browns, the Lions offense had momentum and were on the verge of getting into Browns’ territory. They had second-and-5 on their own 45 as the third quarter ended.

Then, Jackson got caught up in the trash talk, and he said something about, well, something he shouldn’t have said.

“It’s something about somebody’s mother – OK?” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “There was a lot of talking going on out there, but it was a penalty.”


Jackson said something about Jadeveon Clowney’s mother. And that played a role in why the Lions game. The penalty killed the drive.

“Yeah. I mean, it hurt,” Campbell said. “You know, when you take a look, he knows it. He knew it when he came off.”

In many ways, Jackson’s penalty was emblematic of everything that is wrong with this team. It continuously shoots itself in the foot.

Or, in this case, puts its foot in its mouth.

Reason to be encouraged?

The Lions have suffered through all kinds of problems. Committing stupid penalties. Or missing tackles. Or blowing chances. Or, well, I’m afraid of what might come next.

Because I didn’t see yo-momma playing a role in a loss this season.

“We’re not that type of team that can overcome those,” Campbell said. “Some can, we’re not. And so there again, take any one of those away, and it may change the change the dynamic of that game.”

But now, here comes the good news for Lions fans. There is a solution.

The only way this team is going to improve is if these players hold themselves accountable, if they face their numerous mistakes and learn from them.

So while I will criticize Jackson for what he did — everyone on this team has to be mentally stronger — I have to give him credit for owning it. That seems like growth and maturity.

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“First of all, you know, I should never even put my team in that situation,” he said. “It was the heat of the moment heat of the game. We actually chopped it up after, like apologized. It was both sides. Definitely should have never even been in that situation to begin with.”

Now, here’s the crazy part.

Jackson wasn’t alone.

Several Lions made costly mistakes.

It was so prevalent, it seemed as if the Browns used an old strategy to beat the Lions. Whenever they got to third down — or even fourth down — they waited until the Lions committed a penalty to give them a first down.

Hey, who can blame them? It worked.

Fourth-and-3 late in the second quarter? Amani Oruwariye was called for hands to the face.

First down Browns.

Third-and-5 from the Lions 14? Oruwariye was called for another penalty.

First down.

On the next play, Baker Mayfield threw a touchdown pass to Nick Chubb.

“Yeah, it is tough,” Oruwariye said. “We always talk about the position we are in as a team. We can’t afford to have any mistakes. I know that is unrealistic being in the NFL, but that is the standard we have to have. Too many penalties in the first half. Third down, could not get off of the field. We definitely were a lot better in the second half, but just maybe that little thing could have been different.”

At least they’re not blowouts

So while the Lions lost another, and the offense was horrible once again, there were glimmers of hope.

After getting crushed by the Philadelphia Eagles, 44-6, the Lions have had a chance to win both of their last two games.

A 16-16 tie against Pittsburgh.

And this 13-10 loss. Ugly games, to be sure. But they were close. And that seems like a positive.

“It is crazy,” Oruwariye said. “You would think we would be down and out, but we are not. You have a lot of guys in there who are still believing and fighting their tails off, and we know we are going to be on the other side of this at some point. We just have to keep doing what we are doing.”

Everything, but the yo-momma trash talk, of course.

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Contact Jeff Seidel: Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff. To read his recent columns, go to

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