Failure to hold fourth quarter leads killed Lions playoff hopes

Lions logo (1970–2002). A variation of this lo...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After their 21-19 win over the Chicago Bears on November 10, the Detroit Lions held a one-game lead in the NFL North division. The Lions then went on to lose five of their next six games and found themselves on the outside looking in for a playoff berth.

What may be the most interesting stat from their collapse over the last six weeks is that in each of the five games they lost in the last six weeks, the Lions held the lead in each of those games in the fourth quarter. In fact, through games of Week #16, the Lions had the most losses this season, six, where they had the lead in the fourth quarter in that game. In six of their eight losses this season (75% of their losses) the Lions had the lead in the fourth quarter.

Only one other team this season lost 75% or more of their losses in games where they had the lead in the fourth quarter. The Seattle Seahawks have three defeats this season, and in each of their three losses, they had the lead in the fourth quarter.

For the season (through games of Week #16), in 67 of the 240 games (27.9%) played, the team that lost was ahead in the final period.

Following is a look at how many games each NFL team lost when they had the lead in the fourth quarter. Also noted in parenthesis in the total number of losses this season.

Losses where they had the lead in the fourth quarter

6: Detroit (8)

5: None

4: Dallas (7), Minnesota (10), Cleveland (11), Tampa Bay (11)

3: Seattle (3), Miami (7), Tennessee (9), Atlanta (10), Washington (12), Houston (13)

2: Carolina (4), New England (4), San Francisco (4), Cincinnati (5), New Orleans (5), Chicago (7), Green Bay (7), San Diego (7), Buffalo (9), Oakland (11)

1: Denver (3), Kansas City (4), Arizona (5), Philadelphia (6), Baltimore (7), Pittsburgh (8), Jacksonville (11)

0: Indianapolis (5), New York Jets (8), St. Louis (8), New York Giants (9)

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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