DETROIT — Ford Field was filled to the brim and rocking from start to finish for the Detroit Lions home opener.
But, after beating the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to open the season, the Lions lost a 37-31 heartbreaker to the Seattle Seahawks in overtime in front of a rowdy crowd in Detroit.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, with the Seahawks taking a 31-21 lead early in the fourth quarter. But Goff recovered and led the Lions to 10 unanswered points in the final minutes, forcing overtime to give the hopeful more hope. But the Seahawks won the toss, opened overtime with the ball and went 75 yards across nine plays for the game-winning touchdown as fans watched in disbelief.
“Well, certainly that’s a disappointing loss,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell said. “That was hard. Appreciate our fans, they showed up and did their part and we didn’t finish it. Listen, credit to those guys over there. They came in and they took that game, and they earned it and we didn’t. So we wanted a fast start in both halves and we didn’t do that, we did the opposite of that and that’s not the type of game we wanted to play. Then once we got into that game, we said, ‘Well, that’s fine. We can play that game,’ and we didn’t finish it.
“I just think inadvertently it always — it gets your focus back on. We’re on one track now, here’s what it is, it’s Atlanta, it’s getting back to what we do, it’s cleaning up all the little things, and forget everything else because if we’re not all collectively — me included — all of us just focused on what’s right in front of us, then we’re not all on the same page and I just think that’s what happens with a loss. It stinks, it stinks to lose, it does, but this is not a sprint. It’s a marathon, and I know this though, we’ve got to get cleaned up in a hurry. We’ve got some good opponents we’ve got ready to face coming in.”
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And Lions cornerback Jerry Jacobs, who is generally one of the loudest and most energetic presences around, took a somber but optimistic tone from the locker room. Jacobs was targeted a ton down the stretch, with Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett beating Jacobs to the corner for his first of two touchdown catches. Lockett beat rookie defensive back Brian Branch to the pylon with his game-winning score in overtime.
“We’re sorry,” Jacobs said to Lions fans from the locker room. “Just please keep that same energy because we ain’t gonna let you down. We appreciate the support. That (expletive) was loud. Just keep bearing with us. We got you.”
See below for more from inside the locker room:
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll on his backup OTs stepping up: “Oh, man. I didn’t have words. I was so proud and so fired up for him. Just amazed by that they came through in such a consistent fashion all day long. They’ve played before. Over the weekend I might’ve mentioned it to you, they’ve played before, they’ve been out there, and they just did what they do, and they did a great job to battle all day long against a great player and a terrific group on the other side. But I didn’t really have words other than just to hug them up and just hang with them for a while. They were the first two guys I wanted to see and I found them in the locker room.”
Carroll on how the Lions have grown under Dan Campbell: “Oh, it’s a terrific team. No, they’re a terrific team. And they’ve got a style, they’ve got a way. His challenge is on the fourth down thing that he challenges his team with. We met the challenge today pretty well, but that gives them a whole style and mentality and it’s in your brain the whole game. They may be thinking it here and there. He’s made a real impact and they’re going to win a ton of games.”
Lions QB Jared Goff on not touching the ball in overtime: “Yeah, it’s kind of always the worst case scenario as a quarterback or offense is, get to overtime, lose a toss unfortunately, and don’t get to touch the ball, so credit to them. They got the ball in their hands and finished the game with it. You’d like to have a chance there, but yeah.”
Seahawks QB Geno Smith on the similarities between this game and previous ones with the Lions: “Yeah, it felt pretty similar, honestly. Just a back-and-forth game. They’ve got a great offense. They were moving the ball and scoring. Our defense came up with some clutch plays, some clutch turnovers, just as they did last year. It kind of felt like déjà vu, got the pick-six. I mean everything kind of, that happened last year, kind of happened this year and I just felt like we knew they were a great team coming in, coming off a big win last week and we’re coming off a loss, so something was going to have to give and we came out and we played together. We played hard, fought till the end and, like I said, we found a way.”
Goff on the fan support from Ford Field: “Yeah, they all sting. You would like to get the first one in front of the fans. I think that probably makes it sting a little bit more. That was a real, real, real home-field advantage for us today, and having them do that for the rest of the year will be a real, real home-field advantage. Got to give them something to root for though and continue to find ways to win games. Today stings anytime you lose, but got to find a way to get back on the horse and get next week.”
Lions HC Dan Campbell on this game being a slice of ‘humble pie:’ Yeah, I just think sometimes you don’t know exactly where you’re at until you’re in it. It’s just we come off a big win and you can always preach certain things, but this is the NFL, and these guys came in and they took that win, they earned it over there. We did the mistakes that cost us and I don’t want to say we weren’t ready I just — man we have to make those plays in the moment and not just assume it’s going to turn into the game you want it to. We wanted to go in, we attacked it a certain way and it didn’t go that way and that’s OK, because now you know you’ve got to close it out at the end, and we weren’t able to do that. So, look we’ll regroup and we’ll get this stuff cleaned up, and I’ll be better with the coaching staff and we’ll be great.”