CLEVELAND — Mama said there’d be days like this, even if she had no idea she would play a key role in another Detroit Lions loss.
Lions left guard Jonah Jackson was hit with a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the end of the third quarter of Sunday’s 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns for a verbal comment he made about Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s mother.
The penalty came two series after the Lions scored their only touchdown of the game, and with the team driving in Cleveland territory.
Instead of a first-and-10 at the Browns’ 42-yard line, the Lions came out to start the fourth quarter in first-and-25 from their own 43.
They punted four plays later, managed just one first down the rest of the game and fell to 0-8-1 to remain the only winless team in the NFL.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “It was something that is said. It was something about somebody’s mother, OK? And there was a lot of talking going on out there, but so it was a penalty.”
Jackson insisted he did not remember exactly what he said, but admitted he was wrong to lose control of his emotions at a crucial point in the game.
“First of all I should have never even put my team in that situation, but it was the heat of the moment, heat of the game,” Jackson said. “We actually chopped it up after, apologized. It was both sides, but definitely should have never been in that situation to begin with.”
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said he did not hear the insult.
“But a your mama joke will probably get you booked every time,” he told reporters after the game.
The Lions, with backup quarterback Tim Boyle starting in place of an injured Jared Goff, struggled to generate offense for most of Sunday.
Boyle threw for 77 yards in his first career start and the Lions had 80 net yards of offense in the first half, but found some success handing the ball to D’Andre Swift late in the third quarter.
Swift scored on a 57-yard touchdown run with 1:55 left in the third quarter, and after a quick three-and-out by the Browns, had gains of 5 and 13 yards on the two plays before Jackson’s penalty.
Jackson said his penalty, one of seven enforced against the Lions on Sunday, was “definitely crucial” to the outcome of the game. The Lions had 44 yards of offense on 10 plays in the fourth quarter.
Campbell called it “frustrating” and said the Lions are “not that type of team that can overcome those” type of penalties.
“It hurt,” Campbell said. “And look, he knows it. He knows it. He knew it when it came off, but there was a lot of talking going on. And as a matter of fact, while I’m getting told that, I’m hearing talking. But that’s part of it.”