DETROIT - Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison was on the ground in pain, pounding his fist in frustration.
Doctors and trainers surrounded him on the turf Sunday in Ford Field. On the bench, linebacker Jarrad Davis was getting his ankle taped. Cornerback Darius Slay and running back Kerryon Johnson were out with hamstring injuries.
The Lions looked beaten up and beaten down as Harrison was helped off the field. It was beyond ominous.
The Lions struggle to stop the run. But with Harrison out?
And a gimpy Davis?
Against a team that is great at running the ball?
The Minnesota Vikings rolled to a 42-30 victory in a game the Lions had to win.
This was a chance for the Lions to make a statement about who they are.
But the statement they made doesn't offer much hope. This team has too many warts, injuries, weaknesses and issues to be considered a contender, or to even beat one.
The Lions have now lost three straight games.
They still can't stop the run (the Vikings had 166 rushing yards).
The Lions can't run the ball, especially not with Johnson out with an injury. They finished with just 81 yards.
Lions defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) tries to tackle Vikings running back Dalvin Cook during the first half Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, at Ford Field.
Lions defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) tries to tackle Vikings running back Dalvin Cook during the first half Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, at Ford Field. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
They fixed their red-zone problems, throwing four touchdown passes to Marvin Jones Jr., but still made mistakes that boggle the mind.
At one point, on a fourth-and-2, Matthew Stafford forced a pass to J.D. McKissic. But it didn't make a lot of sense. It wouldn't have been a first down.
That sums up this team and this season.
We know what this team is. It shoots itself in the foot.
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The Lions lined up for a long field goal on its first possession but a false start forced them to punt.
We know what Lions coach Matt Patricia is going to say - the same thing he said a week ago, and the week before that.
"We've got to coach better," he says. "We've got to clean that up."
But at some point, the talk has to stop and they have to do it.
The Vikings are 6-2 and everything the Lions would like to be. They have a great defense and can run the ball.
This importance of this game can't be overstated, considered it was against Minnesota and at home.
And then, there is the Kansas City factor.
The Lions have already lost to Kansas City - remember back in the old days, when that loss seemed like a good loss?
But both the Packers and Vikings play the Chiefs in the next two weeks, possibly without quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has a knee injury and high ankle sprain (ESPN reported Sunday that he could return in three weeks, if not sooner).
But playing Kansas City without Mahomes, or even a gimpy Mahomes, is yet another advantage over the Lions.
When Harrison went out with the injury, the Vikings had run the ball 12 times for 67 yards. And had just four rushing first downs.
Davis returned to the game, but he was clearly hobbled.
The Vikings ran right at him, and Dalvin Cook scored on an 8-yard touchdown run, ending a 97-yard drive.
Yes, Detroiters are still smarting about the officiating at Green Bay. Whenever the refs were showed on the big screen, Lions fans booed. In fact, every time a flag came out, it felt like a mini drama.
There would be a lot of heads shaking in frustration on this day.
The fans, who watched this team lose their third straight.
And the Lions, as they walked off with another loss.
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