With the Buffalo Bills holding a slim 14-13 lead and facing a third-and-7 with two minutes remaining in the game, Davis inexplicably jumped offside just as the ball was snapped.
"I (bleeped) up," Davis said, via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. "That's it. I (bleeped) up. I messed up and lost it for the team."
The 5-yard penalty gave the Bills a makeable third-and-2 situation. Running back Keith Ford came up short on the next play, but rookie quarterback Josh Allen converted the fourth-and-inches on a sneak. With no timeouts left, all the Lions could do is watch two kneel downs to end the game and the Lions' season.
"It's a crucial situation," Davis said. "It's a got-to-have-it situation. You got to make plays. You can't have mental errors like that. And that mental error killed us today."
Davis' mistake proved the tip of the iceberg in a game of self-inflicted wounds. Not only did Detroit botch a point-after-attempt, reliable kicker Matt Prater pushed a potential go-ahead field goal wide right with less than six minutes in the game.
The Lions also couldn't stop a Bills offense down to their fourth running back after third-string rusher Marcus Murphy left with an injury. Despite a potential advantage, the Lions allowed Buffalo to amass 117 yards rushing and a touchdown on 37 attempts.
Given the factors that led to the defeat, Lions head coach Matt Patricia didn't want to pin the gut-wrenching loss on Davis.
"There's a lot of plays in there that we're going to have to talk about," Patricia said. "So, it's a team game -- that's what's great about it. It starts with coaching and planning and all of it. We'll all take the blame, and we'll all move forward."
Nevertheless, the Lions were in a position to save their season and stay alive for the playoffs despite the miscues. All they needed to do was force the Bills to punt at the two-minute mark, but even then, asking a team that has failed to top 20 points in four straight games might have been asking for too much.
Davis' penalty contributed to a lost opportunity for the Lions, who dropped to 5-9 on the season, to attempt a game-winning drive and now has the team looking forward to the offseason.