Miscommunications costs Lions in loss

The Sports Xchange
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The Lions should get the picture now. There is no such thing as a gimme in the NFL.

The Lions may have had visions of a 3-1 start, coming into Sunday's game against a winless Titans team and hosting the Vikings next week at Ford Field.

Visions blocked. Not only did they stub their toe in Tennessee, losing 44-41 in overtime, the Vikings rose up and beat previously unbeaten San Francisco Sunday.

Now, the game against the Vikings takes on some unexpected urgency.

"This is hard now," said defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. "But this team is not feeling sorry for itself, we know what we're capable of and we know what we have to do. We have to keep moving forward.

"The only thing this means is we can't go 15-1. That's all this means."

Still, this will be a hard loss to shake off. The Lions had sent the game into overtime after trailing 41-27 with 1:16 left in the game, with backup quarterback Shaun Hill leading the team to 14 points in 18 seconds.

Then, after the Titans scored a field goal on their first possession in overtime, the Lions marched the ball inside the Titans 10. But the drive and the game ended on a botched 4th-and-1 quarterback sneak at the 7 yard line.

The befuddling thing - the ball wasn't supposed to be snapped.

The Lions lined up as if to go for the first down, even though a chip-shot field goal would have extended the game. Center Dominic Raiola quick-snapped the ball to Hill, who lunged forward.

The officials ruled he lost a yard on the play and video evidence was insufficient to change the call. Game over.

"It was a miscommunication," Schwartz said. "We were going to try to draw them offside. If they didn't jump, we were going to take the timeout and the ball ended up getting snapped. We need to make sure all 11 guys get the calls right there."

Both Schwartz and Hill took the blame for the miscommunication. Raiola, who snapped the ball, opted not to speak to reporters afterward.

"When it all comes down, that's the coach's fault," Schwartz said. "I was right there in position to call the timeout. If I thought it wasn't communicated well I should take the timeout. That's on me."

Hill said it was on him.

"I take full responsibility for that," said Hill, who was 10 of 13 for 172 yards and two touchdowns in three series of work. "It was a miscommunication and it's up to the quarterback to get all 11 players on the same page. Just leave it at that. It was on me."

The Lions, truth be told, should never have been in the game. They gave up five touchdowns of 60 yards or more - an NFL first. They gave up two special teams touchdowns and another on a 72-yard fumble return.

As Schwartz said, "We're 1-2 and we have a lot of things to clean up."

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

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