DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions knew they had a potential matchup advantage going into Sunday's game with the Seattle Seahawks.
Detroit had its young star defensive end, Aidan Hutchinson, lining up against a pair of backup offensive tackles in Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe.
Even if the Seahawks decided to double-team Hutchinson, there would be plenty of opportunities for the rest of their front seven to get after Seattle quarterback Geno Smith.
That never happened.
The Lions only sacked Smith once — a broken play late in the game — and never got near him as he drove the Seahawks for the winning touchdown in overtime.
“We made some critical errors, and that will get you beat every time,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said after the 37-31 loss.
Seattle's starting tackles — Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas — both missed the game, but Smith didn't believe that was going to make life easy for the Lions pass rush.
“Jake and Stone have played a lot of games for us, and they have stepped up big in a bunch of games,” he said. “We knew what they were going to do for us, and they weren't going to be out there alone.”
The Lions didn't get a sack in last week's 21-20 upset of the Chiefs and didn't get one against the Seahawks until the last play before the two-minute warning.
Smith couldn't find an open receiver and didn't want to throw the ball away before the clock hit two minutes. Linebacker Alex Anzalone ran him down for a 17-yard sack, giving the Lions good field position for the tying field goal, but that was the only big moment of the game.
“You'd like to believe we could have applied more pressure, but we never got them in that type of game,” Campbell said. “We let them continue to function in their offense.”
Detroit's front seven also struggled with coverage, allowing tight ends Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson to catch nine passes from 10 targets for 132 yards. Two of the completions came in overtime, including a 21-yard catch by Parkinson to give Seattle a first down at the Lions 14.
“I wanted to see if we could put some pressure on them and get them out of their comfort zone,” Campbell said. “But we can't rush high and let (Smith) run through the pocket — if he does that, you're covering all day long.”
The Lions are now 0-3 against Seattle in Campbell's three seasons, having allowed an average of 45.3 points, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll isn't hoping for a fourth matchup.
“I have the ultimate respect for that team,” he said. “They challenge you in so many ways, especially with Coach Campbell's play-calling. That's why I'm so happy that we were able to hang around and win this game.”
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Dave Hogg, The Associated Press