Texans throttle Lions, 41-25, in what may be Matt Patricia's final game as head coach
The Detroit Lions haven't been able to beat good teams under Matt Patricia, or most of the bad, and they should soon find out if they can make it through with a new coach.
Deshaun Watson threw four touchdowns and had a near-perfect passerby rating. The Lions posted three first-half sales at Ford Field Thursday, losing 41-25 to the Houston Texans.
The loss was their biggest Thanksgiving defeat since a 45:24 strike by the New England Patriots in 2010.
The Lions have lost four of their last five games in double digits and are 4: 7 in last place in NFC Nord.
[Today should be Matthew Stafford's last Lions Thanksgiving start]
10 days before their next game, General Manager Bob Quinn - or owner Sheila Ford Hamp - has to decide if he wants to bring Patricia back for the last five games and let him finish what will certainly be his final season as Lions coach.
The Lions are 13-29-1 under Patricia, a 0.314 percent gain, and sadly have not looked competitive in many of their games. Five of their seven losses are in double digits and embarrassed on national television Thursday.
They flipped the ball three times in an eight-game period in the first half, allowing for a late touchdown on a 34-yard trick play relapse from Deshaun Watson to Will Fuller.
Hamp has not spoken publicly since taking ownership of her mother Martha Firestone Ford in June. At the time, she said Patricia and Quinn, in their fifth season as GM, had to show "big improvements" over last year's 3-12-1 record to return for 2021.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will face the Texans in the first half at Ford Field on Thursday, November 26, 2020.
While the playoffs are still a mathematical possibility, “substantial improvement” seems like an impossible bar to reach.
The Lions went 3-4 in a recently completed course playing six teams with records under 500 in seven games, and their next four opponents are playoff contenders.
The Lions last fired a coaching season in 2005 when Matt Millen fired Steve Mariucci days after a Thanksgiving loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
In the 15 seasons since then, they have had four successful seasons, contesting the playoffs three times and going through four permanent head coaches, including Patricia.
Watson made 17 of 25 passes for 318 yards, making his way through an understaffed Lions defense that played without cornerback Jeff Okudah and defenders Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand, and lost cornerback Desmond Trufant in the first half to a hamstring injury.
The Lions actually opened the scoring with a 1-yard run from Adrian Peterson, then flipped the ball on three direct possessions against a Houston Defense who took the worst five NFL takeaways in their first 10 games on Sunday.
Matthew Stafford started the comedy of mistakes with an inadvertent interception of a swing pass to Peterson, the J.J. Watt tipped himself and returned 19 yards for a touchdown. Stafford has triggered eight interceptions this season, three of which have been returned for touchdowns.
Jonathan Williams fiddled with his first carry of the season at the Lions next game after scrimmage, and the Texans scored four snaps later after Reggie Ragland received an interference penalty in the end zone for a 2-yard pass on a 2-yard Watson pass Prosise to CJ had submitted to take a 13-7 lead.
The Lions posted their third sales six games later when Kerryon Johnson lost a fumble deep in Houston, but Jamie Collins forced a Texan to fumble a game later to set up Peterson's second touchdown of the game.
Jack Fox's subsequent kick-off went beyond the limits, giving Houston the ball at the 40-yard line, and the Texans took advantage of the favorable field position. Duke Johnson defeated Jamie Collins for an easy 33-yard touchdown and the Texans were leading 23-14 at halftime.
The Lions opened the second half with a drive of 14 games, 68 meters, but had to settle for a field goal after Patricia lost a challenge on a pass from Jamal Agnew to Stafford who gave the Lions the ball within 1 would have. The Lions opened the ride with 10 straight rushes, the first nine of which designed running games.
From then on, it was Watson and Houston who scored 41-17 on their next three possessions before the Lions added a touchdown to garbage time.
Stafford completed 28 of 42 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown for Mohamed Sanu with 6:32.
Fuller had six catches for a game high of 171 yards and two touchdowns, Johnson had 80 yards to scrimmage a week after winning 15 yards with 10 carry wins against the New England Patriots, and Watson finished the race with a pass Rating of 150.4.
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions lose to Texans in Matt Patrick's final game
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