Lions Notebook: Penalties Upend Lions

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has the Monday speech down pat where he tries to explain how his team fought hard in yet another defeat but ultimately let silly plays and mistakes stand in the way of victory.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has the Monday speech down pat where he tries to explain how his team fought hard in yet another defeat but ultimately let silly plays and mistakes stand in the way of victory.

He's had a lot of practice with that one.

This Monday was no different after Sunday's 28-20 loss to the Giants in which the Lions committed 11 penalties for 91 yards and had three turnovers.

"There are some (penalties) that you can live with," Schwartz said. "We've not done a good job with penalties this year. In this game in particular we had two that hurt us."

Schwartz is referring to a 28-yard pass to receiver Nate Burleson that initially gave the Lions a first-and-goal at the Giants 5-yard line early in the third quarter, when they were trailing 14-10. But the play was called back when right tackle Gosder Cherilus was flagged for an illegal formation penalty, and the ball came back to the 38-yard line. Quarterback Drew Stanton was stripped of the ball on the very next play, and the Giants recovered.

"There's no excuse there," Schwartz said. "That's at least three points and possible 10 points because we lose the ball on the next play."

The second was a personal foul penalty on defensive end Cliff Avril after the Lions had stopped the Giants on a third-and-goal midway through the third quarter. The Giants scored a touchdown three plays later to extend the lead to 21-10.

"That's a four point play right there. There a chance for a defensive player to score four points," Schwartz said. "That's a situation we shouldn't be in as a football team."

"Those are two we can do something about. We can't go on the way we've gone on with those."

The Lions lead the league in penalties through six games with 59. The Raiders are second with 55.

"We just sat in that meeting and watched every single one of those penalties we had yesterday," said Lions guard Rob Sims. "You know, you would think that we'd come back a little different after seeing something like that and seeing how close we were and how those plays affect us. We sat in there and watched it together. We saw every single mistake the defense made, the special teams made and the offense made. And we'll be better for it."

Schwartz also pointed to missed assignments leading to a 45-yard run by Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw and multiple mental lapses in the secondary leading to big plays in the pass game.

"There were four or five plays that were over 20 yards in this game. Respect to them, they have good playmakers, but again, the big plays on defense, the turnovers and the penalties are things we need to do a better job of eliminating those," he said.

Follett Back in Detroit

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said during Monday's press conference that linebacker Zack Follett's injury Sunday had nothing to do with a concussion.

It appears Follett suffered a neck injury or stinger when he went head-to-head with Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul Sunday, though Schwartz wouldn't elaborate on the exact nature of the injury.

Follett lost feeling in his extremities and was down on the field for 20 minutes as medical personnel stabilized him. Follett was transported to a local New Jersey hospital, where he spent the night.

"Zack Follett should be in route to Detroit fairly soon. He's flying back today. He's doing a lot better. His tests all came back very, very encouraging and we look forward to a quick recovery and seeing him back on the field sometime," Schwartz said.

Follett will likely be replaced by either Landon Johnson or Ashlee Palmer, who have been playing middle linebacker in DeAndre Levy's (ankle) absence. Levy should be back after the bye week.


  • Quarterback Shaun Hill had surgery to repair a broken left forearm Monday. Hill suffered the injury with 1:20 left in the second quarter when he tried to brace himself after having his legs taken out from underneath him.

    "It's going to be a few weeks," Schwartz said. "It's a little too early. It's his non-throwing arm and it depends on what kind of cast and everything else that can be put on it. I don't want to put any timetable on it but there is going to be some missed time with it."

    Hill had been playing brilliantly for the injured Matthew Stafford, completing 127 of 208 passes (61.1 percent) for 1,309 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions in 20 quarters of work.

  • QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder) was active Sunday as the team's third quarterback and briefly ran on the field after backup Drew Stanton, playing for the injured Shaun Hill, was shaken up in the fourth quarter. Stafford ran into the huddle but was called back when Stanton convinced Schwartz that he could continue.

    Stafford, who has missed the last five-and-a-half games with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder, has been targeted to return after the bye week against the Redskins. Schwartz said Monday that Stafford is still in line to start against the Redskins

  • LB DeAndre Levy, who has missed the last four games with groin and ankle injuries, should also be back against the Redskins barring any setbacks at practice over the bye week.

  • WR Calvin Johnson played through a sprained AC joint Sunday and had seven catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. Johnson could barely lift his arm above his shoulder at practice Friday.

  • RB Jahvid Best continues to suffer from turf toe and had just 12 rushes for 16 yards. Best, the NFL's Rookie of the Month for September, has yet to rush for 100 yards in any game this season.

  • DT Ndamukong Suh recorded 1.5 sacks to give him 4.5 on the season. He leads the team in sacks from his interior defensive line position. He leads all defensive tackles with those 4.5 sacks.

  • WR Calvin Johnson became the first player in Lions history to record two receptions of 85+ yards. His 87-yard touchdown reception Sunday was his second longest of his career. He also has a 96-yard touchdown at Houston Sept. 19, 2008.

  • K Jason Hanson tied an NFL Record (three players: Josh Brown, Martin Gramatica and John Kasay) by making two 50-yard field goals in a game for the fourth time in his career. His second 50-yarder Sunday was his 45th career 50-yard field goal.

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