The Detroit Lions saw their win streak snapped at three games after they fell to the Buffalo Bills, 28-25, at home in Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season. Now at 4-7, the Lions are in second place in the NFC North. Here we’ll discuss the four Lions most to blame for their heartbreaking Week 12 loss vs. the Bills.

Detroit had planned to showcase its youthful roster to a nationally televised audience after winning three consecutive games. Against a powerful Bills squad, the Lions were looking for their first 4-0 November since 1962.

The Lions showed a lot of potential here. They battled hard to ensure that the Bills bled for their victory. With 28 seconds remaining, Mike Badgley scored a 51-yard field goal to tie the game at 25-25. The Lions even pinned the Bills at their own 25 before star QB Josh Allen made the pass of the day to Diggs that led to the game-winning score.

Let us look at the four Lions most to blame for their Week 12 loss vs. the Bills.

4. Offensive Line

The absence of guards Evan Brown and Jonah Jackson this week hampered Detroit’s offensive line. Backup Dan Skipper was assigned to left guard, and Kayode Awosika was assigned to right guard.

Edge defenders Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell were as steady as usual, but the Lions failed to stop Bills DT Ed Oliver. When Jamaal Williams was thrown for a 3-yard loss in the middle of the second quarter, both relievers Skipper and Awosika missed blocks.

Skipper was also late coming out of his stance when Goff had to throw the ball away in one instance. Meanwhile, Oliver pushed Awosika aside on Justin Jackson’s 5-yard loss early in the third quarter before driving Skipper back into Goff’s lap two plays later for a safety. Oliver was just dominant here, and neither Skipper nor Awosika could do anything to slow him down.

3. RB Jamaal Williams

Following a three-and-out to begin the game, Detroit’s offense capitalized on numerous Bills mistakes on its second possession.

Lions running back Jamaal Williams starred in this series, helping Detroit complete a 12-play, 61-yard drive that took nearly 7:00 of the first quarter. He had his thirteenth touchdown to finish it off.

Williams now has more rushing touchdowns this season than he did in his entire five-year career with the Green Bay Packers. That touchdown helped him tie Barry Sanders and Billy Sims for the third-most touchdown rushes by a Lions player in a single season.

As impressive as he was early in the game, however, Williams had a costly turnover afterward. He fumbled early in the second quarter and handed possession over to the Bills. It was only his second fumble of the season, but following the turnover, the Bills took advantage and marched down the field.

2. QB Jared Goff

Lions quarterback Jared Goff had a roller-coaster outing on Thursday. He did throw two touchdown passes, one to St. Brown and the other to DJ Chark over the middle. When it came to making game-winning plays, though, the veteran quarterback fell short.

Keep in mind that he had that crucial third-quarter safety. It followed Alex Anzalone’s interception and increased their three-point deficit to five. Goff’s worst mistake, however, was an underthrow on Detroit’s final offensive drive.

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In this sequence, Goff dropped to throw under big pressure on third-and-1 from Buffalo’s 34-yard line. Chark was up against single coverage and was open down the sideline with Buffalo committing to halting the run. Goff threw the ball but was incomplete. It forced the Lions to go for the game-tying field goal instead of a possible TD.

1. Coach Dan Campbell

It’s clear that Lions head coach has had trouble with time management. To wit, his handling of the clock in the last minute of this game lost the Lions a potential game-winning touchdown. Recall that Campbell did not immediately call a timeout after a 15-yard throw to Amon-Ra St. Brown with 37 seconds left in a 25-25 game. This let the clock run for 10 seconds before the referees reviewed whether the Lions had a first down.

Detroit did not obtain a first down on the play because of the aforementioned botched connection between Goff and Chark. The Lions potentially could have run a play, got the first down, called a timeout, and had another set of downs to go for the game-winning touchdown. They could have saved time, but this strange coaching decision didn’t do that.

It was third-and-1, and Campbell could have called a run play or had Goff go underneath for the first down. Take note that the Lions still had two timeouts left at this point. Even though Chark seemed to be open on the route, Goff had no reason to go that deep on third-and-1. They took an unnecessary risk that did not pay off.

It’s yet another example of late-game scenarios ending up disastrous for Detroit throughout the Campbell era. Not surprisingly, he has heard not-so-pleasant things from Detroit fans after this heartbreaking defeat.