2. Both clubs got off to a sloppy start, looking every bit of cellar-dwellers in a sleepwalking first half. The Lions, in particular, were careless with the football, turning it over on three straight possessions following an opening-drive score. Fortunately for Detroit, Houston was also shooting itself in the foot, with one fumble of its own and a cavalcade of penalties. In the first two quarters, the Texans committed eight penalties for 65 yards. The slapdash first half included a combined four turnovers, 95 yards in penalties, a missed PAT and a kickoff out of bounds and ended with poor clock management. The silver lining for Houston was J.J. Watt’s pick-6 of Matthew Stafford early in the first quarter. The former DPOY had four batted balls last week. Thursday, he held onto one and got his team on the board as the offense scuttled early.
3. The Lions offense couldn’t take advantage of a defense that struggled all year. Houston entered last in the NFL at creating turnovers. Detroit, in a giving mood, coughed it up three times. Insistent upon establishing the run against the league’s worst run defense, the Lions couldn’t get on track early, earning just 2.5 yards per carry on 17 first-half totes. To open the third quarter, Detroit finally took advantage of the Texans’ bad run D, sticking to the ground on 10 straight plays to open the half while trailing by nine points. Emblematic of the Lions issues, a 14-play drive took over half of the quarter but ended with a field goal. Outside of a few nice plays to tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Detroit offense was an inconsistent bore for much of the afternoon.
4. The Lions lost to a three-win team for the second straight week. Matt Patricia is staring at the end of the line. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday morning that the Thanksgiving game loomed large for the coach’s future in Detroit. Consider it an abject failure. The Lions coach managed the game poorly, his defense is atrocious, and the entire team sleepwalked much of the contest. Detroit ownership put out a mandate that the team needed to be competitive in December in order for the brass to keep their jobs in 2021. Heading into last week, Patricia’s team had a chance to make a run and at least remain in the hunt for the playoffs. Instead, his club laid back-to-back rotten eggs. Getting lambasted by a fellow bad team on a national stage could be the final nail that ends Patricia’s tenure in Detroit.
— Kevin Patra