SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The aggressiveness that characterised the turnaround for the Detroit Lions beneath coach Dan Campbell backfired on the worst doable time.
Detroit failed on two fourth-down tries in field-goal vary within the second half, contributing to a blown 17-point halftime lead and a 34-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers within the NFC championship recreation Sunday.
The success-starved Lions (14-6) appeared poised to make their first Tremendous Bowl in franchise historical past once they took a 24-7 halftime lead towards the Niners — solely to permit 27 straight factors in a mistake-filled second half.
Kindle Vildor turned a possible interception right into a 51-yard cross play when Brock Purdy’s lengthy throw hit the Lions cornerback’s facemask and bounced to Brandon Aiyuk.
Rookie Jahmyr Gibbs misplaced a fumble to arrange one other landing. Josh Reynolds had two key drops on third and fourth right down to stall drives.
The Lions botched downing a punt on the 1-yard line, resulting in a touchback.
The outcome was simply the fourth convention recreation loss for a workforce that held a lead of a minimum of 17 factors.
Campbell performed his personal position in it with the failed fourth-down selections. Detroit had a league-high 62 conversions on fourth down in Campbell’s three seasons, however got here up brief when it mattered most.
Main by 14 early within the third quarter, Campbell opted to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the 28 however Reynolds couldn’t maintain onto Jared Goff’s cross.
The Niners then drove for a landing to make it a one-score recreation.
Then with the Lions down three factors halfway by way of the fourth quarter, Campbell went for it once more on fourth-and-3 from the 30. Goff threw one other incompletion and San Francisco drove for the insurance coverage landing.
A magical season for the Lions ended one recreation in need of the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl look.
Detroit stays the one workforce to play each season of the Tremendous Bowl period with out reaching the last word recreation. This seemed as if it could possibly be the breakthrough season to finish that drought when Detroit received back-to-back playoff video games after successful only one within the earlier 56 seasons.
However the Lions should wait a minimum of one other 12 months to have an opportunity on the first NFL championship since 1957.