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Penalties and Mistakes Drop the Lions to 7-5; Lose in New Orleans 31-17

The Lions started the game in similar fashion to the Thanksgiving game with ill timed penalties wiping out potential scoring opportunities.  The defense started admirably holding the Saints’ offense to three points in the first quarter thanks to a huge assist from the special teams.  Ben Graham pinned the Saints inside the 5 with a brilliant punt.

The Saints started the second quarter by extricating themselves from deep in their own territory on third down with a deep pass to Robert Meachem.  Penalties continued to plague the Lions as they gave the Saints a free first down on a pass interference call on third down.  The Lions eventually would give up a touchdown to Mark Ingram to complete a nine play 97 yard drive.

The Lions couldn’t respond on the following drive, picking up a first down, but getting stopped on 3rd and 2.  That opened the door for the Saints to blow the lid off the game with a 67 yard touchdown pass to Robert Meachem.

The Lions finally mounted a drive trailing 17-0 when Kevin Smith cut the deficit to 10 with a short touchdown run.  The Lions got the offense moving by working the short passing game to slow the Saints’ pass rush.  Stafford displayed the pocket presence and accuracy he had before breaking his finger against the Broncos.

The Saints bounced back with a touchdown right before the half to take the score to 24-7.  Brees carved up the secondary as the defensive tackles appeared to run out of steam giving him plenty of time in the pocket.

The Lions squandered yet another opportunity to put points on the board after Stafford hit Titus Young for a 52 yard gain.  Stafford overthrew Brandon Pettigrew in the end zone and then the subsequent field goal attempt was blocked.  It appeared the Saints might have been offsides on the block, but nothing was called.

The Lions started the second half hot with a great drive that took them down to the Saints’  goal line…briefly.  Titus Young made sure to end the drought of stupidity by drawing a 15 yard personal foul that too the Lions from a 3rd and short inside the 5 to a 3rd and 16.  The Lions had to settle for a field goal rather than cutting the lead to 10.

Instead of taking over some of the momentum, the Lions gave it all back to the Saints, which they used to put together another long drive.  The Lions tightened up and got a huge stop on 3rd and 7, but took possession deep in their territory.

The Lions mounted a good drive, but again had a penalty derail the progress.  Nate Burleson got called for offensive interference and it wiped out a first down and put the Lions into a 2nd and 19.  The Lions were bailed out on 3rd and 14 on a defensive penalty that gave them an automatic 1st down.  Stafford hit Tony Scheffler for a big gain to put the Lions inside the 10.  Stafford would hit Maurice Morris for a 9 yard touchdown to make it a game again.

After another great effort by the defense, the Lions put themselves in a position to cut into the Saints’ lead, but Jason Hanson missed a 55 yard field goal leaving the Lions empty handed again.

The Saints would use the short field and the momentum swing to extend the lead back to 14 after a Jimmy Graham-laden drive.

The Lions would put together a couple of nice drives, but never turned those drives into points due to penalties and stupid mistakes as usual.

This team is dead in the water.  The Lions are an undisciplined and frankly stupid team.  There aren’t enough fingers on the human body to point at all the culprits either.  The coaching staff has embraced this bad boy image and turned a blind eye to all the asinine penalties that have cost the Lions at least two games.  The piss poor starts to so many games also falls on the coaching staff as they consistently find themselves trailing each week.

Ndamukong Suh, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Stefan Logan, Titus Young and others have committed stupid penalties.  Matthew Stafford’s lack of technique and footwork are just as responsible for all the interceptions as his broken finger.  Poor play calling, drops, missed tackles, dropped interceptions, penalties, penalties and more penalties have cost this team at least four wins.

The Lions will not make the playoffs this season unless something dramatically changes.  I thought the Thanksgiving Day game would be the wakeup call, but clearly it wasn’t.  If tonight isn’t that wakeup call, they will be hard pressed to break .500.

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