Lions ownership will have decisions to make in 2020

LANDOVER, Md. -- Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia stared off into the distance as he walked slowly toward midfield. It had become an all-too-familiar sight this season, Patricia trudging for the traditional handshake after yet another loss.

It has happened seven times in the past eight games now, after a 19-16 loss to Washington on Sunday that was perhaps Detroit’s worst overall effort since Patricia’s first game of his tenure, a blowout loss to the New York Jets last season.

This year, like the past one and so many others in franchise history, is now clearly lost. The main thing for the Lions now has been trying to show progress. Has there been? Which leads to this: Everything has to be on the table for Lions ownership after the season.

They could keep general manager Bob Quinn and Patricia to give them a third season in which they can try to build their version of a winner. It would be a vote for continuity and not bailing on a program they invested heavily in too soon.

Or Detroit could move on from one or both of them, essentially hitting some version of the reset button again. It’s a dicey proposition after two seasons, but at this point, it's worth at least a discussion.

There’s no singular way to explain what has happened with the Lions this year. Yes, losing quarterback Matthew Stafford was a crushing blow, but Detroit had moved the ball well in games after he injured his back. The defense, though, continues to struggle.

And even though Detroit’s defense was statistically better Sunday, there’s not much to read into because Washington’s offense has been suffering all year long and is starting a rookie quarterback.

It’s still a loss. Another one. And with it, more extinguishing of hope for a franchise this season and, perhaps, for a regime in its totality.

Troubling trend: The Lions continue to have special-teams issues. Detroit allowed a kick return for a touchdown -- Washington’s sole end zone trip against the Lions -- and had Marvin Hall horrifically misjudge fielding a punt, pushing the Lions back to the 2-yard line in the third quarter. Detroit has had special-teams problems all year, often with penalties, and some of those issues Sunday kept an otherwise inept Washington offense in the game.

QB breakdown: Jeff Driskel was dicey Sunday against Washington. He was impressive as a runner, though, carrying the ball nine times for 63 yards. He had no problem scrambling, and his presence allows Detroit to mix in some zone read as another offensive wrinkle. But as a passer, he has made mistakes -- none more so than two critical interceptions in the final minute that eventually gave Washington the lead. He finished 20-of-31 for 207 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.

Silver lining: Bo Scarbrough continued his emergence. He ran outside with a rumble and inside with power, knocking one Washington player’s helmet off when he made contact with him and rarely being brought down on the first hit. He ran 18 times for 98 yards, and that doesn’t include a 25-yard run that was called back because of a Rick Wagner hold. Detroit had been looking for any type of running game after it lost Kerryon Johnson to a knee injury last month, landing the promising, second-year player on injured reserve for the second straight season.