An ill-timed whistle by one of the officials Saturday night cost the Lions a defensive touchdown and a chance for a big momentum boost.
Lions defensive end Willie Young got to quarterback Drew Brees just as he was throwing a pass in the second quarter and the ball popped loose.
The referee behind Brees let the play continue but another official ruled an incomplete forward pass and blew his whistle.
Unfortunately for the Lions, linebacker Justin Durant had picked up the ball and was being escorted to the end zone.
The officials still gave the Lions the ball after gong to the replay and determining that Brees did, in fact, fumble the ball, but they took the touchdown off the board.
“That should have been a touchdown because every other time in this league, they let that play go and they don’t blow the whistle,” said Lions coach Jim Schwartz after the game. “We were a victim of that last week with them continuing plays and for some reason, in this game, they decided to blow the whistle when that would have been seven points in this.”
The Lions offense went three-and-out and punted following the fumble.
The Lions entered Saturday’s game as the 23th ranked run defense in the NFL.
It’s surprising it was that low after watching the Lions on Saturday.
For as much attention as Brees and the Saints’ passing attack receive, people forget they have the league’s sixth-best rushing offense this season, averaging more than 132 yards per game.
The Saints outdid themselves against the Lions, racking up 167 yards with a 4.6 yards-per-carry average.
The Saints obviously had a plan to exploit the Lions run defense heading into the game and the Lions obliged them with missed tackles and poor technique.
The Lions had little chance of stopping the Saints offense coming into the game and that chance became even smaller when the Saints began running the ball and opening up their play-action game.
The Saints out-rushed the Lions 167-32.
It wasn’t just the Lions’ pride that was hurting Saturday night in New Orleans.
The Lions themselves were hurting pretty bad, too.
Cornerback Chris Houston left the game in the first quarter with a separated shoulder but was able to come back and play in a limited fashion the rest of the game.
Starting left tackle Jeff Backus tore the bicep in his right arm in the fourth quarter and did not finish the game.
Linebacker DeAndre Levy left the locker room on crutches after hurting his left calf.
And safety Amari Spievey said after the game he believed he suffered a concussion.
The difference between teams that win in the playoffs and teams that don’t is that winning teams take advantage of opportunities.
Cornerback Aaron Berry had a chance at two interceptions against Brees Saturday and let both of them slip through his arms.
Eric Wright played a Brees pass perfectly and dropped it. Wright would have probably scored if he made the play.
“If the quarterback throws the ball to you, you’ve got to intercept it, you can’t give them another opportunity to score a touchdown a play later or two plays later, kick a field goal a play later,” said Lions coach Jim Schwartz.
“(The Saints are) obviously a high-powered offense and you need to take advantage of every opportunity that you get.”
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 46 Comments »