What are the Detroit Lions up to, going for it so many times on 4th down without ever converting one?

Steve Brownlee

I have to admit I was off-and-on watching both the Packers and Lions games this weekend on one of my rare Sunday afternoons off.

Sleep just kept overtaking me. I wonder why?

But while the Packers’ flop just looked like a good ol’fashioned second-half collapse, I had a lot of curiosity about Detroit being shut out after leading the league in scoring entering the game.

One thing that I haven’t heard talked about with all the other related talk was the Lions going 0 for 6 — just in this game — when head coach Dan Campbell went for it on fourth down.

I heard that stat mentioned late in the game, but didn’t see any stories about it until I went for a Google search and found something on the SB Nation Pride of Detroit site written by Kellie Rowe.

So she confirmed those numbers.

Six times failing!

Without making it once!

C’mon, you wonder why you don’t score any points!

If they had been, say, 2 of 5 when the sixth situation presented itself, I could see going for it.

But never having made it?

This turns me off to the Campbell regime as much as his energy and forthrightness makes me like him.

It did set a record of futility for the most-ever fourth-down tries without making it once, a record previously owned by the team the Lions played Sunday, the New England Patriots.

It came in 1997, which I see should be just before the time Bill Belichick came to the team.

With all the other questioning going on around the league about whether to go for it on fourth down or kick a field goal, or go for a 2-point conversion of kick the extra point, maybe Campbell should consider himself lucky his team is only 1-4.

Otherwise, he’d be feeling the same heat as the coaches of Indy, Denver and the Los Angeles Chargers are.

On second thought, though, none of those teams are tearing up the league, either. But they do have a lot higher expectations than the Lions do.

Ah well, on to this week’s picks:


Today, 8:15 p.m.

Washington at Chicago — Of the four worst teams in the NFC, here’s two of them (Detroit and Carolina are the others).

Can these two beat last Thursday’s seven-field-goal, 12-9 overtime snoozer between Denver and Indy.

Maybe not, but they’ll be close. Bears, 16-13.


Sunday, 1 p.m.

San Francisco at Atlanta — The Falcons are suddenly showing life. But San Fran is showing Super Bowl-type life. 49ers, 30-24.


New England at Cleveland — I’m not suddenly on the New England bandwagon.

But I could be if they play nothing but the likes of the Lions and Browns every week. Patriots, 23-17.


New York Jets at Green Bay — I would hope that Aaron Rodgers feels, and will make his young team, feel like their backs are up against the wall.

Meanwhile, the Jets are just enjoying their new-found success too much to deny Matt LaFleur & Co. when they really want it. Packers, 26-19.


Jacksonville at Indianapolis — Jacksonville at least showed some life several times.

I don’t count what the Colts did in Denver last Thursday as showing life. More like a Halloween ghoul-fest. Jaguars, 24-20.


Minnesota at Miami — The Dolphins seem completely discombobulated without Tua Tagovailoa. It doesn’t help that second-stringer Teddy Bridgewater it out, too.

So it’s an unfair fight. Vikings, 31-21.


Cincinnati at New Orleans — While the Saints won, they gave up 32 points to the so-so Seahawks doing it.

Imagine what Cincy’s offense will produce? Bengals, 37-28.


Baltimore at New York Giants — Two teams liking to run the ball. I’ll take the one with Lamar Jackson doing all that leg work. Ravens, 27-20.


Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh — The Steelers look not only like the Not Ready For Prime Time Players, but also the Not Ready to Take The Field at 1 P.M. Sunday.

Tampa’s defense will keep the ‘Burgers under wraps. Buccaneers, 23-13.


Sunday, 4 p.m.

Carolina at Los Angeles Rams — Just what the doctor ordered for Matthew Stafford et al. after not being able to put together any offense — a team that doesn’t have an offense. Rams, 19-10.


Arizona at Seattle — It’s been tough for Arizona, but they’re tough as old shoe leather when meeting a league lesser-than like this. Cardinals, 27-19.


Buffalo at Kansas City — Why wasn’t this game moved to Sunday night?

And of course this won’t be a Sunday afternoon off for me. Drat! Bills, 36-32.


Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Dallas at Philadelphia — Of course, now seeing it’s this game on Sunday night, I see why they didn’t switch Buffalo-KC.

Can the Cowboys “D” carry this team against anybody? Me doesn’t think so. Eagles, 20-16.


Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Denver at Los Angeles Chargers — I’m hoping this L.A. doesn’t take the Broncos seriously, otherwise this one could get out of hand quickly. Chargers, 21-14.


Last week — 11-5, 69 percent. Season — 43-36-1, 54 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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