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Schwartz stresses turning the page to next game

The Sports Xchange

The Lions had just lost, 27-19, to the 49ers and already coach Jim Schwartz was setting the tone for this week.

"It's a 16-game season," he said. "One of the things you have to be able to do over 16 games is negotiate all the highs and lows that go into a season. This felt like a playoff game between two teams with high expectations, but it was not a playoff game. We got to play next week.

"The teams that do well are the teams that negotiate the highs and lows of the league. These kind of games are going to happen. You need to bounce back."

His message to the team afterward - get ready to play at Tennessee next week and don't let one loss bleed into two.

"It would be one thing if we played our best football and got blown out of the water," said quarterback Matthew Stafford. "We played poorly. We had a lot of penalties. We didn't capitalize on our opportunities and it was a one touchdown game at the end."

Still, it was another piece of evidence pointing to the reality that the Lions still aren't ready for prime time. They are now 0-6 against NFC playoff teams since the start of last season.

It doesn't matter whether they played their best game or worst game, it doesn't matter that they were playing without three starting defensive backs and without an offensive weapon (Mikel Leshoure) that could have altered the way this game went, and it doesn't matter that they hung in and made it a one-score game.

It is another loss to a top contender in the NFC; the ninth straight loss to the 49ers and the 12th straight loss at Candlestick, dating back to Nov. 2. 1975.

"We would have had to play our best football to beat this team and we didn't," defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "We have yet to play our best football, but this team is capable of being very good and when we're clicking, we can beat anybody. We weren't clicking today."

Not in any phase of the game.

The offense, playing against one of the stingiest and punishing defenses in the league, played a smart and patient game. They ran the ball 26 times, passed it 32 and moved the ball fairly consistently between the 25-yard lines.

But they didn't get inside the 20 or into the end zone until their last desperate drive of the game, when they were trailing by 15 points.

"We weren't good at finishing drives," center Dominic Raiola said. "It all goes back to that. We've got to finish. Jason (Hanson) did a good job of kicking, but we can't attempt five field goals against this team and expect to win the game."

They had a roughing the kicker penalty that turned a field goal into a touchdown. Then, down eight with 9:16 to go, they failed to stop a 49ers drive that faced three third-and-long situations.

"That's what we're built for, getting off the field on third down," Vanden Bosch said. "It's a frustrating thing. We had them where we wanted them on third and long and we weren't able to convert."

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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