DETROIT — Mistakes, mismatches, and a familiar scene at Ford Field: the Lions lost 41-21 to the Colts after again taking an early lead.
The Colts scored 15 points in eight seconds early in the fourth quarter to take a commanding lead, after Phillip Rivers picked apart Detroit's secondary and Matthew Stafford threw a pick-six.
Rivers was 23-for-33 for 262 yards and three touchdown passes.
Indianapolis had its offense on the field for most of the first half, and the second half was even more exhausting for the Lions defense. The Colts capped their offensive output when tight end Trey Burton took a direct snap in wildcat formation and scored from two yards out with 7:11 left in the fourth quarter. It capped a 73-yard drive and ended any hope of a Lions comeback.
Detroit's offense lacked a big-play ability, and struggled on third down throughout the game. Marvin Jones scored his second touchdown of the game with 12:15 remaining in the fourth. The Lions set up the touchdown with a 73-yard completion to deep-ball threat Marvin Hall. The touchdown got Detroit within 14, down 35-21.
That drive began after the Colts made quick work of extending their lead. Trailing 28-14 with 13:26 to go in the fourth, Matthew Stafford threw towards Jones, but Colts cornerback Kenny Moore jumped and intercepted the pass. Moore took it 29 yards for the touchdown.
Turnovers quickly became a theme in the second half.
The Lions were the only team in the NFL without a fumble this season. Detroit's first fumble of the season was costly. Stafford coughed up the ball with 2:27 left in the third, with the Lions snapping the ball on the Colts 25-yard line.
Indianapolis capitalized on the mistake, and picked on the Lions secondary to cause another Detroit error. Rivers threw at Justin Coleman, who was flagged for pass interference and an ensuing 41-yard penalty. Jordan Wilkins scored a one-yard touchdown and the Colts converted the two-point conversion to take a 28-14 lead early in the fourth.
Stafford was 24-for-42 for 336 yards, three touchdowns, and the interception that was returned for a Colts touchdown.
Throughout the season, the Lions have had no trouble getting leads. In fact, Detroit is the only team in the NFL this year to score first in each of its games. Despite the early score, the Lions failed to sustain any long drives in the first half, starting the game 0-for-4 on third down.
The Lions began the second half with a much-need, long drive that ended in a Kerryon Johnson touchdown catch. The nine-yard play completed an eight-play, 68-yard drive to begin the third quarter.
Matt Prater missed a field goal that could have gotten the Lions within 10 at halftime.
Nyheim Hines caught two touchdown passes in the first half, and helped the Colts take a 20-7 lead at the break.
The Lions are now 3-4, and after winning a pair of games after the bye week, now travel to Minnesota to face a Vikings team that got Dalvin Cook back on Sunday. Cook dominated in his return, collecting four touchdowns.