Tag:Detroit Lions
Posted on: December 11, 2011 4:51 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Officials miss face-mask call, Lions beat Vikings

The no-call on this face mask ended the game and now Detroit is 8-5. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Lions are 8-5 after a wild finish to Sunday's game against the Vikings, and remain in the hunt for a wild-card spot. Detroit's modus operandi this season has been to get down early in games, usually by two or three scores, and look completely lost in the process. Then, as if they suddenly remembered how to play football, get it together in time to pull out the victory.

We saw it frequently during the Lions' 5-0 start, less so in their ensuring 2-5 stretch. Against Minnesota it was just the opposite: Detroit went up 21-0 in the first quarter, and then held on for dear life, eking out the victory, 34-28, after the officials missed a face mask as time expired.

The Vikings had a chance to win it on the game's final play, but a Joe Webb fumble and an uncalled Lions' face mask (see the photo above), ended things with Minnesota just one yard short of the end zone.

We'll be hearing all week about that face mask by linebacker DeAndre Levy, especially since a penalty would've given the Vikings one more shot from the Lions' half-yard-line.

But the play before, one that saw Webb rush for a first down, almost made Detroit linebacker Cliff Avril the goat. With no timeouts and with Webb scrambling to get his players to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball and stop the clock, Avril inexplicably jumped offsides stopping the clock in the process.

(We wonder if Avril's momentary lapse falls under head coach Jim Schwartz's zero-tolerance policy for stupid plays.)

But these aren't Matt Millen's Lions; this team was able to overcome mistakes and even got some breaks along the way. And with three weeks to go in the regular season, they're right in the thick of things.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Jim Schwartz draws line in sand for his team

PettigrewBy Josh Katzowitz

With a rash of postplay personal foul penalties last week, not to mention the whole Ndamukong Suh saga, it sounds like Lions Jim Schwartz has had enough.

As ESPN reports, Schwartz told his team that he’s invoking a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to postplay personal foul flags. If somebody is penalized, Schwartz said he’ll be banished to the bench for the rest of the day.

Even if it’s Matthew Stafford? Apparently, yes.

Schwartz came to the decision after watching Brandon Pettigrew bump an official last week, taking a $25,000 fine in the process, Stefan Logan earn a taunting penalty when he flipped the ball to his opponent, and Titus Young shoving a Saints player in the face after a play was finished.

“Obviously, everything on the field is a reflection of the organization,” Schwartz said, via the NY Times. “It’s a reflection of the head coach, it’s a reflection of all the coaches and reflections of the players.

“That’s not a presentation we want.”

Nate Burleson, a receiver who was called for four (!) penalties last week, weighed in with his thoughts on how the Lions could rein in themselves.

“Now that we’re actually in the hunt, the microscope is bigger, and we’ve had some issues,” he told the paper. “A guy getting suspended. Those same mistakes aren’t going to fly anymore.

“They’re not going to be swept under the rug. The ref’s not going to look at that and hold his flag, like he did earlier in the season. Now, he’s saying: ‘Oh, those are the Detroit Lions. They’re the guys who are going to do a little bit extra.’ That flag is coming out a lot faster.

“The other teams are probably saying, ‘Hey, if you pick at these guys, they’ll end up doing something stupid.’”

Thus far, those other teams have been absolutely correct.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 11:56 am
 

Fairley, Kevin Smith to miss today's Lions game

SmithBy Josh Katzowitz

Already without Ndamukong Suh, who’s serving the final game of his two-game suspension, the Lions have lost another major catalyst on the defensive line. Nick Fairley, who’s played sparingly in his rookie season, is inactive today because of more foot problems.

More bad news for Detroit: after practicing Friday, leaving him questionable for today, running back Kevin Smith is officially inactive with an ankle injury.

Both losses will hurt the Lions when they face the Vikings today.

Fairley has missed five games this season while dealing with a foot injury suffered in the preseason, and after playing well last week in the first quarter vs. the Saints -- he recorded three tackles and finally got his first career sack -- he reaggravated his foot injury. According to this Detroit Free Press story, Fairley is experiencing soreness where he had a screw inserted into his foot after his initial injury.

"We'll just see how he goes through this week," Schwartz said earlier this week about Fairley. "He (got X rays on Sunday) and everything was looking good and everything else, but it just didn't make a whole lot of sense to put him out there (at practice)."

Smith suffered a high ankle sprain on Thanksgiving, but he still managed to play last week, touching the ball 12 times for 80 yards. But on Friday, via the Free Press, Smith pulled up during a receiving drill during practice and he couldn’t finish the workout. Without him in the lineup, Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams can expect more touches.



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Posted on: December 11, 2011 11:52 am
 

Adrian Peterson out, Christian Ponder starting

By Will Brinson

Well here's an odd combination for the Vikings on Sunday: running back Adrian Peterson is inactive against the Lions with a high ankle sprain, but rookie quarterback Christian Ponder will start despite dealing with a hip pointer.

Via our Vikings Rapid Reporter Joe Oberle, cornerback Chris Cook, linebacker Xavier Adibi, center Brandon Fusco, tackle DeMarcus Love, tight end Allen Reisner and defensive end D'Aundre Reed are also inactive for Minnesota.

Peterson's absence -- coupled with Ponder starting -- is odd because Ponder is understandably more effective (and safer!) when Peterson is available to carry the load against opposing defenses.

Instead, Toby Gerhart will get the nod as starter for the Vikings, and is likely to see a substantial number of carries on Sunday.

Joe Webb could also see plenty of action for the Vikings; if Ponder stumbles out of the gate and/or re-aggravates his hip injury, Webb will step in to take snaps for the Vikings.


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Posted on: December 9, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 14 NFL preview

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

The Steelers handled the Browns on Thursday night, but it was a bizarre game -- on today's podcast we break down Ben Roethlisberger's injury, how he managed to keep playing, whether the Steelers should be concerned, and if James Harrison is going to get fined and/or suspended.

Then we take a spin around the NFL action scheduled for Sunday, wondering if Oakland is a sleeper to take down Green Bay (no, really!), if Chris Johnson can keep running against the Saints, whether the Falcons are playoff-worthy, if Tim Tebow can take down the Bears, if Jim Schwartz can wrangle the Lions and whether we'd rather have Tony Romo or Eli Manning for the rest of their careers.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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Posted on: December 9, 2011 11:43 am
 

Allen on living in Detroit: 'I'd drown myself'

By Will Brinson

If you can't say something nice about the city where your opponent lives, don't say anything at all, right? That's the opposite of what Vikings defensive end Jared Allen did on KFAN-FM when previewing the upcoming Lions-Vikings matchup at Ford Field on Sunday.

Allen, instead of practicing the old "if you can't say something nice, don't say it all" move, said if he had to live in "gloomy" Detroit, he would "just drown myself in the river."

"I don't like going to Detroit," Allen said, per Justin Rogers of MLive.com. "I'll be honest, it's gloomy, it sucks. Everything is brown and then there is snow on the ground. There's like Brownstones everywhere and I'm like, 'Awesome.' I don't know, I couldn't do it. If I had to live in Detroit, I think I'd just drown myself in the river that was across the way.

"I'm not trying to be mean, but it's just depressing when I go there," he continued. "There's two cities like I don't go out to eat or don't do anything. It's Detroit and New Orleans. New Orleans looks like I'm driving through a third-world country every time I get off the plane, I'm like, 'Oh, flak jacket.' I'm trying to get down. I'm like, 'Ah, crap, I can't carry my gun here. This sucks.'"

Um, ouch? And, uh, really? Detroit and New Orleans are two major American cities ravaged by circumstances out of their control (economic meltdown and a natural disaster), and even if you don't like being there, at least just say "it's not my favorite city" or something.

Of course, Allen didn't stop there. He also said that the 7-5 Lions, going against the 2-10 Vikings, are "obviously struggling" and "ripe" for an upset.


"It's Vikings/Detroit, it's always a good game," Allen said. "They've got some talent, but they're obviously struggling. One of their best defensive players will be out, so I think it's ripe for the picking and we can go up there and get things done."

Vegas says the Vikings won't, as they're 7.5 dogs in Detroit (although several of our experts believe the Vikings cover), but that doesn't mean this can't be a good game.

What'll be interesting is how Jim Schwartz' team, currently on double-secret probation when it comes to doing stupid things on the football field, responds to some of Allen's comments. After all, he might just be trying to get in their heads by riling the team up and goading them into making

Just don't expect the fans -- and residents of Detroit -- to appreciate his motivational tactics.

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:39 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Archie Manning, MDS, MNF

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 13 is all wrapped up, and we break down the Chargers-Jaguars matchup.

We've got a special guest this week though, and Archie Manning joins the show to talk about the BCS matchup, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award (click to vote), the status of Peyton Manning's health, why Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin are more vulnerable to critcism than other people (and if they deserve it), how Eli's developed wide receivers this year, the Ole Miss coaching search, and how Peyton and Andrew Luck would work on the same team.

Then we break down whether or not Tim Tebow can be an MVP candidate and bring on our good friend Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk to discuss Tebow's candidacy, whether the Lions are a shinking ship, and much, much more.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: December 6, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

By Ryan Wilson

Caleb Hanie, Bears

This makes two weeks in a row that Caleb Hanie, who has two career starts, has appeared in Coach Killers. Of course, no one expected him to even be in this position; after a slow start, the Bears and Jay Cutler had found their groove only to have Cutler suffer an injury to this throwing hand against the bad-luck Chargers in Week 12. Now Chicago's playoff hopes lie with Hanie, who turned out to be the worst quarterback on a field Sunday that also included Tyler Palko and Kyle Orton.

By the time it was over, Hanie was 11 of 24 for 133 yards with three interceptions. In two games against, he has six picks. Exacerbating things: Matt Forte suffered a knee injury and he could be out 2-4 weeks. If it's any consolation (and we suspect it isn't), wide receiver Roy Williams takes responsibility for one of the interceptions since, you know, he gift-wrapped it for the Chiefs defender … in Kansas City's end zone.

"It was my fault. I’ve got to make those plays," Williams said. "Did that lose the game? Nope. There were a lot of things that happened before that that [could have made a difference]. But in my mind, yes, it [did]. In the fans’ mind, yes, it [did]."

Week 13 Recap
Well, it didn't help, that's for sure. The Chiefs won 10-3, the only score coming on and end-of-half modified "Hail Mary" touchdown pass from Palko. (We're calling it "modified" because the ball only traveled 38 yards as measured from line of scrimmage to goal line. For any other NFL quarterback, that's a flick of the wrist. For Palko, it was a throw that required everything he had. Whatever you call it, it counted, and that was the difference.)

Despite Hanie's second uninspiring performance, head coach Lovie Smith doesn't plan to change things going forward.

“That’s our group,” Smith said, referring to Hanie, rookie Nate Enderle and veteran Josh McCown. “We’re going to make improvements with our group, like all positions. We’re not looking on the outside. We’re not having a quarterback tryout or anything like that. These are our guys and they’re all going to get better.”

There was some speculation that Donovan McNabb, released by the Vikings last week, might be an option but as Devin Hester pointed out Monday on ESPN Radio, "That would be a waste of time." Not so much because McNabb has nothing left (which is probably true), but because he wouldn't have time to learn Mike Martz's offense.

And things don't get easier for Chicago: they face Denver this week. A month ago, everybodyhad the Bears and Cutler wiping the floor with the Broncos, the team that sent him to Chicago in 2009. Now, with Tebowmania on track to be a national holiday, the Bears will have the worst quarterback on the field for the third game in a row.

Nate Burleson, Lions

Here's the good news for Detroit: unlike the Bears, their NFC North rivals, the Lions are able to move the ball on offense. And while they may not have beaten the Saints in New Orleans Sunday night, the game should've been a lot closer. Which leads to the bad news: the Lions have all the self control of a fat kid locked in candy store. Except instead of stuffing their faces with caramels, they're incapable of not committing personal foul penalties after the whistle.

Nate Burleson, it turns out, didn't have such problems, but he did have three (THREE!) offensive pass interference calls against the Saints, all big plays that cost the Lions field position. And even though he wasn't penalized 15 yards for slapping an opponent in front of an official or inadvertently hitting an official while trying to get at an opponent, his was a mental mistake too.

By the time it was over, Detroit had committed 22 penalties (to New Orleans' six) despite outgaining the Saints in total yards, 466 to 438. The silver lining: mental mistakes are easier to correct than physical mistakes. In theory this makes sense, right? "Hey, don't slap a player on the other team right in front of the ref" or "For the love of all that's holy, do not push off when coming out of your break, Burleson" seem straightforward pretty easy to fix.

Then again, the Lions were without their best defensive player, Ndamukong Suh, because he was serving a two-game suspension after stomping on a Packers player after the whistle.

We mentioned it on the Pick-6 Podcast, but head coach Jim Schwartz has to fix this. We're guessing he's had similar conversations with his players in recent weeks but to rack up personal-foul penalties like they did against the Saints is a sign that they didn't hear him.

But in terms of the postseason implications, it could be worse. See the Bears, for example. They'd love to have their franchise quarterback and a franchise wide receiver if that meant only fixing the dumb penalties. As it stands, they're stuck with Caleb Hanie. Of course, maybe we're giving Detroit too much credit. Why should we think that now, after three-quarters of the season, they'd suddenly stop making back-breaking mental mistakes?

Dunta Robinson, Julio Jones, Falcons

Without a doubt, the Philadelphia Eagles are the NFL's most disappointing team this season. The Chargers are second. After that, though, it's a wide open race. Depending on the week, it could be the Giants or the Titans or maybe even the Rams. We're going with the Falcons. At 7-5, they're right in the mix for a wild card spot. And Football Outsiders says their relatively consistent from one week to the next, but that's sort of the problem. If you're consistently mediocre you're still mediocre.

They were probably expecting something more than that after giving up a ton to get Julio Jones during the draft. Their latest loss came against the Texans, down to their third-string quarterback, T.J. Yates. And while Houston's offense is built to lean heavily on the run, the Falcons had their chances. Two series in particular stick out.

On the second play of the fourth quarter with the game tied 10-10, Yates threw a pick-six to linebacker Mike Peterson. Huge play … except that Dunta Robinson -- on the other side of the field away from the play -- was flagged for defensive holding. It was the right call and it cost the Falcons six points. (Linebacker Sean Witherspoon was called for defensive holding, as well. Apparently, it's contagious.)

Then, with a minute to go in the game and Atlanta trailing 17-10, quarterback Matt Ryan needed to lead a touchdown drive. After a 17-yard completion to Harry Douglas Ryan wanted to spike the ball to stop the clock. Except he had to wait while Julio Jones made his way back to the line of scrimmage. Jones was a good 40 yards downfield with Douglas was tackled but instead of, you know, hustling back to line up for the spike, he looked confused about what was going on.

Two plays later, Jones was penalized for an illegal touch pass, and then on the final play of the game, he dropped what would've been the game-tying touchdown. It wasn't an easy catch, but you don't trade away your draft to acquire a guy who only makes the easy grabs.

Richard Seymour, Raiders

This really isn't about Seymour, who was ejected for the second consecutive season after throwing a punch at a player. It's about the entire team on both sides of the ball getting thoroughly outclassed by a Dolphins outfit that began the season 0-7. Oakland's defense couldn't stop Reggie Bush (!) and the offense didn't get on the board until the fourth quarter after trailing 34-0.

And now the Raiders, 7-5, not only drop out of the lead in the AFC West (they got Tebow-ed), but they're also behind the Titans for the final wild-card spot.



Head coach Hue Jackson didn't make excuses after the loss and that includes the play of his de facto franchise quarterback Carson Palmer, who finished the game 20 of 41 for 273 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.

"He's our quarterback and today we lost," Jackson said. "He didn't produce a win for our football team. We didn't play well. I'm not going to say it's because he's fatigued or anything. This is the National Football League. When they say 'set hut' you gotta play."

This never would've happened if the Raiders drafted Tebow. (That's a joke.)

The Raiders' schedule over the final month of the season doesn't help, either: at Green Bay, Detroit, at Kansas City, San Diego. Meanwhile, the Broncos have Chicago, New England, at Buffalo, Kansas City.

That Dolphins loss could prove to be huge.

Dan Bailey, Cowboys

This is "Coach Killers." Presumably, Princeton trained head coach Jason Garrett wasn't trying to get himself fired in Dallas. But as has been well documented the last 36 hours, Garrett did manage to ice his own kicker by calling a timeout milliseconds before Bailey split the uprights with what would've been the game-winning field goal.

Instead, Garrett burned a timeout, mumbled something about the kicking team "still settling in," and then watched helplessly as Bailey honked his second attempt.

By the way, you know you messed up when the opposing coach, without cracking a smile, says after the game, "I was glad they iced their kicker so I didn't have to."

We brought it up on the podcast and Grantland.com's Bill Barnwell wrote about it Monday: research suggests that icing the kicker doesn't work. But that research didn't account for the coach of the kicking team calling the timeout because, well, why would anybody do that?

Barnwell continues: "So if Garrett deserves a pass for his timeout, why should we be excoriating him? Well, because of what Garrett did before the timeout. On Dallas' final offensive play, Tony Romo hit Dez Bryant over the middle for a 15-yard gain to pick up an essential first down on third-and-11. When Bryant hit the ground, the Cowboys still had 23 seconds left on the clock and two timeouts to work with. The ball was on the Arizona 31-yard line, which is within makeable range, but far from a chip shot; the average kicker will boot that through less than 65 percent of the time."

Which was the point CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco made. "What I can't understand is not trying to get more yards with two timeouts to make the kick easier. Last time I checked, a 49-yard field goal isn't a chip shot."

As CBSSports.com's Will Brinson pointed out Sunday night, that's something you'd expect from Wade Phillips, not Jason Garrett. And yet here we are.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com