Dan Campbell, the Lions players are bearing the brunt of losing so many close games

Dan Campbell, the Lions players are bearing the brunt of losing so many close games

Week 8 saw the Detroit Lions come close to beating the Miami Dolphins. A 10-point halftime lead was promising, but coach Dan Campbell’s Lions collapsed on both sides of the ball in the second half and lost, 31-27, in front of a disappointed home crowd.

The Lions are now 0-4 in one-score games in 2022. That drags an already poor 2-6-1 record for Campbell in games decided by eight points or less into his rookie season in 2021 as coach of the Lions.

After the game, the frustrated manager was asked how he can reverse the terrible results in tight games. Campbell was inspired by the words of his NFL coach and an obvious influence, Bill Parcells.

“Bill Parcells just used to say, ‘The only way to win close games is to win close games.’ So we’ve got to find a way to win a close game when we’re actually playing close games, and that’s how you build confidence to do it,” Campbell said after the game. “And until then, you have to do all the little things right. So I think it covers everything.”

Campbell continued,

“Hey, it’s frustrating, but I know everybody’s tired of hearing that it’s close, but I know we’re close, and you just don’t know when it’s going to turn. But if we don’t keep turning it around, it’s only going to get worse.”

Several of Campbell’s players had similar thoughts in the locker room after the tough loss.

“It’s really tough,” quarterback Jared Goff offered. “You know normally all these games are going to be one score, right? And the teams that have the good records are on the right side of that and the teams that aren’t are not. And now we’ve been on the wrong side of that a bunch sometimes. It’s hard, but you know that at some point it will change if you keep doing things the right way. And that’s the only thing we can do, keep trying to do things the right way and keep putting our best foot forward and trusting everyone around us and doing our job to the best of our ability.”

Left tackle Taylor Decker, who admitted the loss is “draining,” echoed his quarterback’s thoughts.

“I think when we get those opportunities, we don’t have to press to try to make a play,” Decker said. “We literally just have to do our job like we did in the first half, and everything is taken care of; everything is smooth You don’t want guys who are too excited to try to do something extra, because usually when you try to do something extra is when bad things happen. They just want us to go out there and do our job, and God, we have so many good pieces. We have so many good guys in this locker room. We just do it, we have enough. We just have to play a full game. We have to play for 60″.

Running back Jamaal Williams scored twice in the first half, but he too was frustrated after the game.

“But we know what we have to do,” Williams said. “Of course it’s irritating to hear the same question over and over and know how close we really are. We just have to move on. So I don’t really pay attention to words or people saying anything just because we know how close we’re really in. It’s just up to us to figure it out, get it out of ourselves and come out with those (earnings).

Decker’s sentiment about playing a full 60 minutes is perhaps the most important thing anyone said after the game. As the longest-tenured Lions player on offense, his veteran wisdom is sharp. But getting that to translate on a very young roster that has almost uniformly been unproven for NFL success is a tall order.

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