MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- An emotional Dan Campbell wiped away tears.
The Lions (0-5) are now the first team in NFL history to lose twice in a season on 50-yard field goals on the final play of regulation, per Elias Sports Bureau.
“Look, you want it for yourself, as an organization and for all of us, but you want it for those players,” Campbell said, trying to hold back tears. “They’re out there busting their ass, and it’s tough."
He then paused as emotions intensified.
“When you see your players give all that they have and you lose that way, it’s tough," he said. "You don’t want that for them. So, we’ll be better from it.
"Again, credit Minnesota, but we made the one mistake that cost us, and so, ultimately, we didn’t do enough to win. But I was proud of them, and I love the fight that they had in them. And I love the grit. I do. When your defense plays that way, you’ve got a chance to win every game. I thought our defense played lights out today, I really do.”
Against Baltimore, it was Justin Tucker's NFL-record 66-yard field goal that buried the Lions at Ford Field.
Then in Minneapolis, it was Vikings kicker Greg Joseph who clenched his fist in celebration of his 54-yarder as Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” blasted throughout U.S. Bank Stadium.
“It’s hard to give everything you’ve got every week and to have moments of feeling like you’ve won the game and to have it snatched from you,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said. “It’s tough. It’s as hard as it gets.”
The Lions are 0-5 for the first time since 2015. Dating back to last season, they’ve dropped nine straight games, which is the second longest active losing streak in the NFL.
Inside the visitors locker room, Campbell told his players he was “proud of the way they fought,” despite the loss. And his players said they respect how invested he is in them.
“I understand that Coach was a player at one point, so that passion is still there. So, he puts a lot into it just like everybody in this locker room,” linebacker Trey Flowers said. “To put a lot into it and come up short, you’re gonna be emotional, but nobody’s gonna feel sorry that we’re emotional or feel sorry for us. We’ve got to come back and work.”
The Lions were seemingly in position to gut out a victory after leading 17-16 with 37 seconds remaining. Vikings running back Alexander Mattison’s fumble at the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter set up a seven-yard rushing touchdown for running back D'Andre Swift with 37 seconds remaining, before Goff connected with KhaDarel Hodge on a 2-point conversion.
The Vikings' final drive started with 33 seconds left in regulation, which was capped by Joseph’s kick as time expired.
For a Lions franchise in the midst of a full rebuild, this latest defeat was another punch in the gut among a group struggling to get its first win.
The team feels the same way that Campbell does, desperate for at least one victory.
“I just want to change the culture around here. I’ve been here four years. I’ve experienced a lot of losses,” safety Tracy Walker III said. “So, I want to do a lot more winning. As a player, that’s what I want to change. I want to go out there and give it my all and try to give my best to help change the game.”