It was inevitable and looming on the horizon but with an underwhelming 14-13 loss in Buffalo and combined with Minnesota's win over Miami on Sunday, the Detroit Lions will miss the playoffs.
The Lions will miss the postseason for the second straight year and do so after general manager Bob Quinn said the team had enough talent to go 9-7 under first-year head coach Matt Patricia. Instead, they can finish with seven wins at best and that is assuming the Lions will not be underwhelming against Minnesota and Green Bay.
"It just [stinks]," linebacker Devon Kennard said. "You play this game to be in the playoffs and try to win it all. To know that that's impossible, it just [stinks]."
Missing the playoffs is a familiar sight for Detroit fans, who will watch the Lions sit out the postseason for the 16th time in 19 seasons since 1999.
It is an unfamiliar sight for Patricia, who almost always was in the postseason as an assistant coach with New England.
The only time Patricia missed the postseason was 2008 when Tom Brady injured his knee and the Patriots still won 11 games.
"I don't like to lose no matter what time of year it is or whatever the situation is," Patricia said after Sunday's loss. "So, again, we're trying to compete and we're trying to win every single game we can. That's really, that's it."
First, Patricia can review what caused Detroit's ninth loss in 14 games and he will find it was a multi-faceted problem on offense, defense and special teams in a game that saw the Lions blow a 13-7 lead through three quarters by managing 117 yards and five first downs after halftime.
The offense fell short on a late drive when the Lions were behind, the defense could not duplicate its domination from the 17-3 win in Arizona and allowed two first downs that kept the offense on the sideline. And the special teams messed up an extra point and a field goal by Matt Prater, who missed a 48-yard field goal with 5:50 remaining.
Prater's missed field goal led to the dubious events of the last drive. On the last drive, Detroit allowed a 25-yard completion shortly before the two-minute warning on a second-and-9, then linebacker Jarrad Davis jumped offsides on third-and-seven and could not prevent the Bills from clinching the game on fourth-and-inches.
"I don't think we accomplished anything we were supposed to do," defensive tackle Damon Harrison said. "At the end of the day, we had an opportunity to give the offense the ball back at the end of the game and didn't do that. Everything that we gave up today was self-inflicted."
K Matt Prater missed an extra point and a 48-yard field goal with 5:50 remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday. He had made his first 25 extra points before Sunday and made 15 consecutive field goals since Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers.
LB Jarrad Davis committed a costly offsides penalty on third-and-seven in the final minutes that allowed the Bills to stay on the field. "Just the cadence," Davis said of the play. "He did a good job with his cadence. Like I said, I lost focus on the ball, looked out and I came back in and just didn't look at the ball. To lose the opportunity to miss that chance, hurt the team."
LB Devon Kennard recorded his team-leading and career-high seventh sack in Sunday's 14-13 loss at Buffalo.
RB Kerryon Johnson missed his fourth straight game with a knee injury.
WR Kenny Golladay finished with a career-best 146 yards.
QB Matthew Stafford finished 22-of-29 for 208 yards passing and a touchdown.