GREEN BAY, Wis. – Kerryon Johnson paused for a moment of silence.
The Detroit Lions’ third-year running back was demonstrating his answer to a question about what the locker room was like after Sunday’s demoralizing 42-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but he could have been paying respects to a season that, two weeks in, already looks dead.
The Packers capitalized on a slew of Lions mistakes late in the second quarter and early in the third, scoring 31 unanswered points to send the Lions to their eighth straight NFC North loss and 11th straight overall dating back to last season.
At 0-2, and with two losses in the division, they already are two games behind the Packers and Chicago Bears in the NFC North, and have shown little reason to believe a turnaround is coming.
[ Opinion: Two weeks in, Lions’ season essentially over after flop in Green Bay ]
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Last week, the Lions melted down late in a 27-23 loss the Bears, and on Sunday they suffered through another comedy of errors: Matthew Stafford took a bad sack, Will Harris and Oday Aboushi committed costly penalties and the defense gave up an easy touchdown pass, all in the final 84 seconds of the first half. Then Aaron Jones broke a 75-yard touchdown run on Green Bay’s first offensive play of the third quarter.
“We can’t ride the wave of the game,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “We can’t go up and down and be really high and then something happens and then go really low and try to pick it back up, and then something good happens and go really high again. Just the ebbs and flows of the game, we’ve got to ignore that. We’ve got to stay consistent. We’ve got to not think about the end result before we get to the end result. We’ve got to think about that play at that moment and stay in that moment, and that’s something we have to do.”
The Lions are 9-24-1 in 34 games with Patricia as coach, and their 11-game losing streak is tied for the third longest in franchise history.
On Sunday, they became the first team in NFL history to blow double-digit leads in four straight losses, and after surviving last season’s 0-9 finish, Patricia’s future as Lions coach is once again in question.
Johnson and several other players the team hand-picked for postgame video conferences Sunday offered support for their coach.
“Is 200% an option?” Johnson said when asked his confidence level in the staff. “That’s like the confidence I have in him. As hard as I work, as hard as my teammates work, they work the same. I mean, Matt Patricia stays up countless hours, Bev (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) stays up countless hours, all of our coaches stay up countless hours focusing on how we can win, how we can put ourselves in the best position to win, so I know it’s not from a lack of trying. It just doesn’t happen. At the end of the day, they can only do so much. At the end of the day, we have to go out and perform.”
The Lions have done that far too infrequently under Patricia.
[ Examining Matt Patricia’s hot seat after Lions’ latest ugly loss ]
They went 6-10 his first season in 2018 and 3-12-1 last year, and have given up 69 points in this season’s first two games.
On Sunday, the Lions got off to a hot start, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives, before their offense predictably sputtered and their defense turned into a sieve.
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Johnson opened the game with a 1-yard touchdown run and after Stafford’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones gave the Lions a 14-3 lead, the floodgates opened on a Packers rout.
Aaron Rodgers threw his first of two touchdown passes to Jones early in the second quarter, then took advantage of a slew of Lions mistakes to build a 17-14 halftime lead.
On second-and-6 from the Lions 11 with 1:24 left in the first half, Stafford took a bad sack for the second straight week, leaving the Lions in third-and-long from their own 1. Last week, he took a sack in the fourth quarter that forced the Lions to try a long field goal that Matt Prater…