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Detroit Lions doomed by Tennessee Titans' big plays

The big play is the quickest way to swing a game and the easiest way to lose one defensively. Defensive coordinators preach it around the NFL on a daily basis.

The Detroit Lions gave up long touchdowns in every way conceivable Sunday during a 44-41 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

» Tommie Campbell had a 65-yard punt return off a Music City Miracle lateral.

» Jared Cook caught a 61-yard touchdown pass from Jake Locker. Tight end Jared Cook.

» Darius Reynaud shook loose for a 105-yard kickoff return.

» Nate Washington pulled a 71-yard touchdown pass off the back of cornerback Jacob Lacey.

» Alterraun Verner ripped the ball from Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew's hands and ran 72 yards for a touchdown.

That's a long score from each kicking phase, offense and defense. MLive.com's Anwar Richardson reported the Lions are the first team in league history to give up five touchdowns of 60-plus yards in one game, according to The Elias Sports Bureau.

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"Can't give up big plays," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "You don't play good defense by giving up big plays, and also like I said, we kept drives alive with penalties. It's poor defense when you're giving up big plays and you're keeping drives alive with penalties."

It was a what-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong day in the middle of a what-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford pulled up lame with a leg muscle strain after another subpar outing. Punter Ben Graham hurt his calf and Jason Hanson was forced into double-duty. It all overshadowed the fact that Mikel Leshoure (26 carries, 100 yards, one touchdown) had the best opening game of any Lions rusher since Billy Sims in 1980.

The Lions are in danger of losing control early. They have the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks -- who are a combined 7-4 -- in the next four weeks. The home game against the Vikings is the only one they might be favored, and Minnesota just beat the same San Francisco 49ers squad that roughed up the Lions a week ago.

Detroit would have enjoyed the 2-1 cushion from a win against the Titans before its first division game.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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