Lions notes: ‘Frustrating’ loss dims Thanksgiving festivities for center Frank Ragnow

Detroit News

Allen Park — Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow wanted to enjoy some time with his family on Thanksgiving, but it’s tough to get in the right frame of mind hours after a loss, particularly a difficult loss where you feel the result could have been different if your team made one or two fewer mistakes.

“It’s hard, man, especially going home to your family,” Ragnow said. “It’s Thanksgiving, right. Your family is all excited to hang out, play board games, and honestly, I just wanted to sit by myself in my bedroom for a while.

“There was a lot of good, but the things that jumped out really was us beating ourselves,” Ragnow said. “The fumble, the safety, a couple other detail things, it was stuff that we did, which is frustrating. That’s a good team (Buffalo), with a great defense and we played well for the most part, but the the things we shot ourselves in the foot with kind of ended up biting us.”

After being granted a little time and space by his family, Ragnow eventually joined the holiday festivities, even settling in for a game of charades. In hindsight, that decision might have been as regretful as any from the loss to the Bills.

“It wasn’t the most fun,” Ragnow said with a smile.

But here’s the thing, even with that loss, the Lions are still hanging around on the fringes of the playoff picture. At 4-7, they’re still two games behind in the loss column of the No. 7 seed in the NFC, the Washington Commanders, but the Lions also hold a tie-breaker there after winning a head-to-head matchup earlier this season.

And even though Detroit’s hopes can best be characterized as a long shot, it’s better than the alternative, especially after starting the season with six losses in the first seven games. Ragnow is simply excited to be playing meaningful December football for the first time in his career.

“I don’t think I’ve experienced it,” he said. “It’s not over, right? We’re still in this thing and to be able to say that, it’s pretty cool.”

The loss to the Bills snapped a three-game winning streak for the Lions. And after showing some moxie to bounce back from that 1-6 start, this week offers another opportunity to show some resiliency for the young roster, against an opponent in Jacksonville that, in many ways, is trying to traverse the same path to relevancy.

“Our whole focus has got to be on this team that’s right in front of us, right now, and understand what’s walking in here,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “It’s very much a mirror image of us as far as they’re starting back over a little bit, (with a) new coach.

“…And so it’s a hungry team,” Campbell said. “And they’ve got a ton of talent on top of that, and they just came away with probably their best win they’ve had all season. And so, we have to understand what’s going to be coming into Ford Field on Sunday. If we don’t, then we don’t have a chance. But as long as we do and we continue to improve — because I do feel like we’ve improved over the last four weeks, we have to improve again, even a little bit more — if we do that, then you like our odds. I like our odds.”

Avert your eyes

Having played earlier in the week, Lions players and coaches had an opportunity to catch Jacksonville’s game against Baltimore live on Sunday, but neither Ragnow or Campbell did, while cornerback Mike Hughes only tuned in for the final moments of the thrilling matchup.

Jacksonville came back from nine points down to take a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter, following a touchdown and successful two-point conversion with 14 seconds remaining. But it wasn’t over until Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker came up just short on a game-winning field goal attempt from 67 yards.

The scenario was enough to give any Lions fan flashbacks, given Tucker made an NFL-record 66-yarder as time expired to beat the Lions last year.

“I’ve seen the kick,” Campbell said. “I have not seen the game, but yeah, I know, I’m with you.”

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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