Four downs with Tim Twentyman

Posted by ttwentyman on November 24, 2011 – 7:26 pm

First down

One of the reasons Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is so difficult to defend is because he’s perfected the back-shoulder throw with his receivers.

Rodgers completed several throws Thursday with Lions corners draped all over his receivers. The back-shoulder throw made those catches possible.

“It’s just a read,” said Lions corner Aaron Berry. “If he sees that you’re on top of the route he’s going to release it so quick and he puts it on the money. It’s a tough play but you have to make it. You win some, you lose some.”

Second down

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a few throws Thursday he wishes he had back. Stafford threw three interceptions against the Packers Thursday.

Over the last three weeks, Stafford has thrown nine total.

“The first one, D-lineman didn’t rush, tipped the ball. Clay Matthews made a great play. You know, the second one, they made another great play. I was trying to go to (Brandon) Pettigrew over the middle and the guy jumped way up and made a great (one-handed) pick. On the last one, guy just took it, you know. I thought it was, you know, a good play, he just made a better one.

Stafford finished 32-of-45 passing for 276 yards with a touchdown and those three interceptions. His quarterback rating was 66.5.

More than the interceptions, though, it was a few missed passes early on that halted a couple good drives.

With three added to their total Thursday, the Packers now have 22 interceptions for the Packers, which leads the league.

Third down

The boo birds were out at Ford Field when coach Jim Schwartz decided not be aggressive at the end of the first half and put points on the board.

The Lions got the ball at their own 29-yard line with 30 seconds remaining and one timeout.

Stafford completed two short passes to running back Maurice Morris and time ran out on the half.

“We were trying to get it to midfield so we could take a shot at the endzone and we were just a little slow getting it,” Schwartz said. “There was one second left when we called our timeout, but if it was a little bit quicker, we would have been able to get that shot from half-field. Thirty seconds, one timeout – not a whole lot of time there.

“We were able to make one play in there, try to get up on the ball quick and try to put ourselves in position to try and take a shot. If we had completed a long one, we needed that timeout to be able to get a field goal on the field. We just needed our operation to be a little bit quicker on the other stuff and that was difficult because our receivers were down the field when we were checking it down to the back based on the coverage.

“But, obviously, they knew it was 30 seconds also and they weren’t going to allow us to be aggressive in that situation. It’s one thing for us to want to be aggressive; it’s another thing for the defense to say … they know there’s 30 seconds and we have one timeout.”

Fourth down

Safety Amari Spievey bounced back nicely Thursday after a terrible game against the Panthers in which he was benched for missing tackles and taking bad angles at runners.

Spievey, who started the game, led the Lions with seven tackles (six solo) and played well in the box against Packers runners.

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Packers extend lead after two Stafford interceptions

Posted by ttwentyman on November 24, 2011 – 3:58 pm

This one is getting out of hand after two second-half interceptions by Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The Packers scored on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones after the first and Packer kicker Mason Crosby hit a 35-yard field goal after the second.

The Packers now lead 24-0 with 1:10 left in the third quarter.

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 6 Comments »

Ndamukong Suh ejected

Posted by ttwentyman on November 24, 2011 – 3:40 pm

The questions about Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh being a dirty player are about to ratchet up this week after he was ejected in the third quarter Thursday.

Suh was ejected after stomping on the arm of Packer center Evan Dietrich-Smith after a third-down play deep in Lions territory. Suh was flagged and immediately ejected and had to be escorted off the field to the locker room.

The worst part of the penalty was that it came after the Lions had stopped the Packers on third down inside the Lions 5-yard line. The penalty gave the Packers a first down that led to a 1-yard touchdown run by John Kuhn to give the Packers a 14-0 lead.

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Packers take advantage of Stafford interception

Posted by ttwentyman on November 24, 2011 – 2:47 pm

The Packers took advantage of a tipped pass deep in Lions territory and put the first points on the board with a 3-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings.

The Lions have been to the Packers 49-, 35-, 30 and 43-yard lines and have committed penalties each time to kill drives.

The Lions can’t get out of their own way.

The touchdown pass from Rodgers was his 75th in the redzone since 2008. During that time he’s thrown one interception.

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Penalties hurting Lions early on

Posted by ttwentyman on November 24, 2011 – 2:07 pm

The Lions offense is shooting itself in the foot early on with penalties.

The Lions have three penalties for 30 yards in their first two drives.

An illegal use of hands penalty on Jeff Backus and a holding penalty on Brandon Pettigrew took the Lions out of field goal range and forced a punt on their second possession.

The offense is moving the ball well (101 yards on two drives) but penalties are hurting them.

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Lawrence Jackson questionable for Thanksgiving Day

Posted by ttwentyman on November 23, 2011 – 5:00 pm

The Lions will likely be without reserve defensive end Lawrence Jackson (thigh) for a second-consecutive game when they take on the Packers at Ford Field Thursday.

Jackson did not participate in the team’s walk-through Wednesday and his game status for Thursday is doubtful on the team’s injury report released at 4 p.m.

Running back Jahvid Best (concussion) will miss his fifth-consecutive game since suffering his second concussion of the season against the 49ers in Week 6.

Punter Ryan Donahue (quad) has also been ruled out for Thanksgiving.

The Lions are hopeful reserve defensive end Willie Young will be able to play after missing Sunday’s game against the Panthers. Young did not participate in Monday’s walk-through but was back at practice in a limited capacity on both Tuesday and during Wednesday’s walk-through.

Young’s official game status is listed as questionable.

If neither Jackson or Young play, expect defensive tackle Andre Fluellen to play 25-30 snaps at defensive end, much like he did against the Panthers.

Also questionable is defensive tackle Corey Williams. Williams suffered a right calf injury against the Panthers and left the game in the fourth quarter. Williams told me Tuesday that he plans on playing.

Receiver Calvin Johnson was limited at Wednesday’s walk-through but is listed as probable for the game.

Also probable are: WR Rashied Davis (hamstring), S Chris Harris (ankle), LB DeAndre Levy (elbow), RB Maurice Morris (ankle), S Amari Spievey (toe), QB Matthew Stafford (right finger) and WR Maurice Stovall (shoulder).

For the Packers, left tackle Chad Clifton will miss his sixth-straight game with a hamstring injury.  Second-year tackle Marshall Newhouse will get the start at left in place of Clifton.

Packers running back James Starts was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice and is listed as questionable for the game.

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 3 Comments »

Suh: “If you’re not gap sound and if you can’t recognize those things, then it becomes a problem for you.”

Posted by Tara Altman on November 22, 2011 – 4:06 pm

“The game was obviously a slow start, we don’t want to start out that way; but, we’ll take the way it ended with the win and the way that we battled back throughout the second, third and fourth quarter.

“I felt like the Chicago and Carolina game were very similar in the aspect that we didn’t allow the big plays that happened against us affect us because we combatted them. That’s what you have to do in this league. You have to combat big plays because of the type of athletes and the type of players that are in the NFL. You have to be able to limit them, but if they do happen, combat them and make them your own.

“The Packers offense in the running game is very simple. They run a lot of stretch, lead opens, some pretty basic plays. The one way that they get you within that simplistic running game is through a ton of different formations and different ways that they get to the same play, which throws people off. If you’re not gap sound and if you can’t recognize those things, then it becomes a problem for you.

“On top of that, their passing game, they have a great passing attack. They have six solid receivers on their team, especially with a rookie coming in. It’s something that their quarterback is definitely a big part of. Just like Peyton Manning is to Indianapolis, Aaron Rodgers is to Green Bay.

“Playing football on or near Thanksgiving has always been a big thing for me, especially since I got to college. We played the day after Thanksgiving at Nebraska, we were always a lucky team to be a part of that. That was always a fun game and now I’m lucky enough to be part of a great organization, a great team in the NFL that plays on Thanksgiving, and on top of that, we’re the first game of the day. It’s good to be around that tradition. I’m looking forward to, starting this year, ending the bad record that we have had the past 10 years (on Thanksgiving).

“I have a good amount of family and friends coming in, it will definitely be a full house; but it’s always good to have family and friends in. I’ll be eating my mom’s lovely, lovely food, relaxing and watching some other games. There are two other games after us, so I’ll watch that second game and other than that, just hang out. I’m very glad that we’re the first game, so I’m looking forward to taking care of business and having a happy weekend.”

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Corey Williams absent from practice

Posted by ttwentyman on November 22, 2011 – 12:58 pm

The Lions were missing a few key players at practice Tuesday as they prepare for the Packers on Thanksgiving Day on a short week of prep.

Starting defensive tackle Corey Williams did not participate in practice Tuesday.

Williams injured  his right calf late in Sunday’s Panthers game and did not return.

When asked Monday if Williams could have finished the game if necessary, Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Williams would have been able too finish if they needed him.

Williams was listed as a non-participant on Tuesday’s injury report. He had his right calf heavily wrapped Tuesday as he watched practice from the sideline.

Also out was defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who missed Sunday’s game with a thigh injury.

Running back Jahvid Best (concussion) and punter Ryan Donahue (quad) remain out. It’s highly unlikely Best will play Thursday, making it the fifth-consecutive game he’ll miss.

Receiver Calvin Johnson stretched before practice but did not have a helmet. He later walked off with a trainer and was listed on the injury report with an ankle injury.

He said after practice, though, that’ll he be fine by game time.

Limited in practice were: WR Rashied Davis (hamstring), S Chris Harris (ankle), LB DeAndre Levy (elbow), S Amari Spievey (toe), WR Maurice Stovall (shoulder) and DE Willie Young (ankle).

Young missed the Panthers game with that ankle injury.

It was no surprise to see running back Kevin Smith taking first-team reps on Tuesday. Smith rushed for 140 yards and had 201 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns against the Panthers Sunday.

Safety Amari Spievey was playing with the first-team defense in the early portion of practice.

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »

Jackson, W. Young listed as not practicing on Monday’s practice report

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on November 21, 2011 – 6:59 pm

The Detroit Lions held a walkthrough Monday afternoon, but were required to submit an injury report for Thursday’s game.

Players were listed the way they would have been had the team held a regular practice.

For the Lions, RB Jahvid Best (concussion), P Ryan Donahue (right quad), DE Lawrence Jackson (thigh) and DE Willie Young (ankle) were listed as not practicing.

S Chris Harris (ankle), LB DeAndre Levy (elbow), S Amari Spievey (toe) WR Maurice Stovall (shoulder) and DT Corey Williams (calf) were listed as limited and WR Calvin Johnson (ankle), RB Maurice Morris (ankle) and QB Matthew Stafford (finger) were listed as full practice.

For the Packers, T Chad Clifton (hamstring) is listed as out for this game.

WR Greg Jennings (knee) was listed as not practicing and LB Clay Matthews (ankle) was listed as limited.

Get the full practice report on

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