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Lions WR Josh Reynolds on critical drops in loss to 49ers: '(Expletive) happens, man'

It took a downpour of errors for the Detroit Lions to lose a 24-7 halftime lead to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds was at center stage for a couple of those miscues, flubbing two third-quarter passes that would have converted first downs.

"(Expletive) happens, man," Reynolds said earlier this week, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. "I know what kind of player I am. Didn't want to drop them. (Expletive) happens. I just -- do I want those back? Of course, but I can't and I just got to work this offseason and be prepared for the moment when it comes."

Kudos to Reynolds for facing the heat and answering all the questions about his play this week when others would have slunk away.

The first miscue came on the Lions' initial turnover on downs. Reynolds got open on fourth-and-2 in the third quarter, and Jared Goff tossed a perfect pass, but the wideout couldn't corral the ball. Two drives later, after the Niners tied the game, Detroit had a chance to stem the tide but went three-and-out after Reynolds dropped another perfect pass on third-and-long that would have moved the chains.

"It's something you learn throughout the years playing this game cause if you're sitting here sulking on the bad, it's hard to have good come out of it," Reynolds said. "Ultimately, you've just got to learn from it, take it as a learning lesson, take it on the chin and move on."

Reynolds played a vital role for the Lions this season, generating 40 catches for 608 yards and five touchdowns as a compliment to All-Pro Amon-Ra St. Brown. He dropped three passes on 64 targets during the regular season, a 4.7% drop rate, per Next Gen Stats. The 28-year-old picked a bad time to have one of his worst games, catching one of four targets for 25 yards on Sunday.

After the game, Goff dismissed any criticism thrown Reynolds' way, noting that the collapse was a team effort.

"Josh is a stud. Josh is a stud," Goff said on Sunday. "He made a mistake. We made plenty of mistakes out there. I missed throws. I took sacks. He made a mistake, and it happens. He's an absolute stud."

Reynolds, a pending free agent, said the Lions expressed interest in bringing him back in 2024.

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