ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Matt Patricia wasn’t the only one dropping F-bombs after Detroit was eliminated from the postseason.
Frustration swept through all corners off the Detroit Lions locker room Sunday after a 14-13 loss that mathematically eliminated them from the playoff chase. But linebacker Jarrad Davis was especially vexed after he was whistled for a critical flag late in the game.
“I (bleeped) up,” he told a small group of reporters before making his way to the buses. “That’s it. I (bleeped) up. I messed up and lost it for the team.”
The locker room was littered with players who share culpability for the loss, including long snapper Don Muhlbach (botched snap on a PAT) and placekicker Matt Prater (missed go-ahead field goal late). And that’s saying nothing of the offense, which was held to 17 points or fewer for the fourth straight game.
But there’s no doubt Davis made a critical blunder, too.
The Lions looked like they would get the ball back when they got a stop on third-and-7 with 2 minutes left. But Davis, who was coming on a blitz, was flagged for jumping offsides on the play. That gave the Bills new life, and they made the most of it.
Fourth-string running back Keith Ford rushed within a few inches of the sticks on third down, then Josh Allen finished the job with a QB sneak on the next play. That gave Buffalo a fresh set of downs, and Detroit had no recourse to stop the clock.
Allen kneeled twice, and just like that, this game — and Detroit’s postseason bid — was over.
“It’s a crucial situation,” Davis said. “It’s a got-to-have-it situation. You got to make plays. You can’t have mental errors like that. And that mental error killed us today.”
Davis gave Buffalo rookie quarterback Josh Allen credit for getting him to jump.
“It was the cadence,” Davis said. “Just a soft cadence. He did a good job with his cadence, and like I said, I just lost focus on the ball. Looked out, and coming back in, just didn’t look at the ball.”
The mistake marred what was otherwise another promising performance from the second-year linebacker. He racked up seven tackles in the first quarter alone, second most in franchise history, and finished with a team-high nine for the day. He had another for loss, and played a critical role in slowing the best rushing quarterback in the league.
Allen had run for at least 100 yards each of the last two weeks, and 99 yards the week before that. The only player in the NFL with more rushing yards over that stretch was Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
Detroit countered by assigning Davis as the designated spy, and while Allen did run for a 3-yard touchdown, he finished with just 16 rushing yards on nine carries.
It was another good performance for a young player that has been trending upward for weeks — except for a critical blunder late. Coach Matt Patricia was quick to defend Davis after the game.
“There’s a lot of plays in there that we’re going to have to talk about,” Patricia said. “It’s a team game — that’s what’s great about it. Starts with coaching and planning and all of it. We’ll take the blame, and we’ll move forward.”