Sun, 17 Jan 2021

Tim Twentyman

The Detroit Lions dove into the game film from Sunday's 20-0 loss to Carolina early Monday morning and then quickly turned the page to Houston, who the Lions play in just three days on Thanksgiving Day.

Lions head coach Matt Patricia spoke to the media Monday evening, and here are the key questions from that media session:

What are Patricia's feelings on the 4-6 start?

The Lions were shut out Sunday for the first time since 2009, and overall played probably their worst game of the season.

"Look, I'm a very, very competitive person," said Patricia, who's record in Detroit fell to 13-28-1 with Sunday's loss.

"I don't think there's any doubt about that. I want to win. I want to win every day. I don't think there's any guessing or question to that. So, that's what we're trying to do."

Patricia was asked about his job security. He said any conversations he has with owner Sheila Ford Hamp, he's always kept internal, and his focus right now is just trying to prepare for Houston on a short week.

What kind of task do the Lions have trying to keep J.J. Watt from wrecking the game?

Houston got a big win Sunday over New England, and Watt had a tackle for loss and four batted balls at the line of scrimmage.

Patricia said the best thing about Watt for a defensive coordinator is that he can rush equally effective from the outside and inside. That allows the Texans to play the matchup game up front.

Patricia is expecting some of that on Thursday from the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

What about the other side of the ball and the task Detroit has in trying to contain Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson?

"He's really unbelievable," Patricia said of Watson. "Played him obviously for a number of years (when Patricia was in New England). I would say the thing about this guy that is amazing is how competitive he is all the way through the game. It doesn't matter the situation, this guy always has that mentality he's going to make a play to win and a lot of times he does.

"We've seen games where defenses had him wrapped in the backfield for a sack and the game is over and he gets out and keeps his eyes downfield and makes an amazing throw and threads the needle."

Patricia views Watson as one of the best in the league at the quarterback position. For the year, Watson is completing 68.9 percent of his passes for 2,883 yards with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions for a 108.6 passer rating. He's also rushed for 269 yards and a couple scores.

Detroit's defense will have their hands full with Watson Thursday.

Were there any positives from Sunday's game in Carolina?

Not many, as expected in a 20-0 defeat.

Patricia said he liked to see the two end-zone interceptions by cornerbacks Amani Oruwariye and Desmond Trufant. He thought Detroit had struggled a bit on red-zone defense the past couple weeks, and liked to see them generate a couple turnovers down there.

He also liked some of the interior blocking on punt protection and the way his special teams covered kicks and punts.

What went wrong for Detroit's offense on third down?

Carolina came into Sunday's game last in the NFL on third-down defense percentage (55.2 percent), but Detroit managed just three third-down conversions in 14 attempts Sunday for a 21 percent conversion percentage.

Carolina used some different package looks with some 3-3 stacked fronts with different combinations and pressures off of it, and Detroit was never really able to get them out of it. Patricia said they struggled on first and second down too often, and that played a big part in the third down issues.

In a copy-cat league, Houston no-doubt took notice of Detroit's struggles on offense Sunday, so the Lions need to figure out a way to be much more consistent on first and second down with their play calling and execution to put themselves in better third-down situations.

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