Previous Month: October
The Detroit Lions entered November with a record of 2 and 5. Matt Stafford returned from a shoulder separation on October 31st and his return was a smash. The Lions would get the New York Jets at home on November 7th in what would be another measuring stick game. This game would continue to follow the pattern for the Lions as they would lose another very close game, a game that they should have won.
Jim Schwartz will get scrutinized over some aspects of how this game was called, especially how the final few minutes were managed. Matt Stafford was great in this game throwing for 2 touchdowns and running for another score. This was all before he re-injured his throwing shoulder late in the 4th quarter. Nate Burleson had a big day grabbing 7 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
The Lions defense was solid in this game giving up just one huge play, a 74 yard touchdown to Braylon Edwards. This game went to overtime, but really should not have gotten there as the Lions had an opportunity to run time off the clock and give the Jets the ball with around a minute left. Instead of running time off the clock, a move that would have taken about 40 seconds off of the clock, the Lions threw an incomplete pass on 3rd down with 1:40 remaining in the 4th quarter and punted to the Jets who marched down the field for a game tying field goal. Julian Peterson did not help matters as he was flagged for a hit out of bounds that gave the Jets 15 yards of field position during the final drive of regulation.
This was also the game that featured Ndamukong Suh’s first career extra point attempt. He missed and as you can tell there were a lot of things that happened in this loss. This was a bitter loss for the Lions and their fans. The loss was one of those losses that made you wonder. No one could have written a script more ridiculous than how this one played out.
The Lions would go to Buffalo on November 14th in what, on paper, would seem to be a much easier test than what they have had in recent weeks. The Buffalo Bills came into this contest winless. The Lions came out flat in this game in all aspects of the game and this was a sloppy affair. The Lions set an NFL record of 25 straight road losses.
They were penalized 11 times and did not make anything happen on offense until late in the 4th quarter when Shaun Hill, starting for the injured Matt Stafford, hit Calvin Johnson for a 20 yard touchdown with 14 seconds left in the game. The Lions went for the 2 point conversion and missed. This was one of those games that reminded you of the winless season, really the only time in 2010 that you could feel that. This was a disappointing loss.
The Detroit Lions went to Dallas on November 21st to take on the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were playing their first home game for new head coach Jason Garrett. Another side story was that former Lion Jon Kitna was starting at quarterback for the Cowboys. The Cowboys were a preseason Super Bowl favorite, but they had struggled all year and this was the week that their offense would wake up.
The Lions would play very hard and they would get a really bad break in this game. On a punt midway through the 3rd quarter the Lions appeared to have pinned the Cowboys inside their own 5 yard line. During the punt the Lions made a great play, batting the ball back into play as it was going into the end zone. The ball went right into the hands of Bryan McCann who returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. This was a back-breaking play.
Shaun Hill played very well throwing for 289 yards and 2 touchdowns and an interception. The Lions running game would continue to struggle. Nate Burleson and Calvin Johnson would have nice games, each scoring a touchdown.
This game would feature yet another bizarre call by an official. Ndamukong Suh was penalized for a horse collar tackle on Marion Barber, but replay showed that he tackled him by his hair. The Cowboys would have had 3rd and goal at the 11 with a 21-19 lead but the penalty gave them a first and goal from the 5. It was another horrible call at a really bad time as it gave the Cowboys a first down that eventually turned into a touchdown. The Cowboys would stretch their lead to 28-19 and the game was over.
This game featured another series of bizarre plays, penalties etc. and the Lions would go to 2-8 on the season.
The final game of November would be the Thanksgiving Day game at home versus the New England Patriots. This was another very tough test and the trend would continue. The Lions would hang very tough through 3 quarters in this one.
They physically pounded Tom Brady in this game but the Patriots were too much for the Lions. The Lions were dismantled in the 4th quarter of this game. The final score would be 45-24 but this game was tied at 24 at the end of the third quarter. The Patriots would score the final 28 points of the game. Clearly this is not the same old Lions, so all the pundits would say.
Shaun Hill was good in this game, throwing a touchdown to Calvin Johnson yet again. The defense played very tough but they were outmatched. Everything seemed to unravel during one play, and that was a 79 yard pass and catch to Deion Branch. Alphonso Smith got turned around several times and he seemed lost as to whether he wanted to tackle him or not and everything went downhill from there. There was some talk from the players in the locker room after the game about a lack of leadership. The Lions were clearly a frustrated team at the end of November. They would finish November a very disappointing 2 and 9.
Next Month: December
Topics: Alphonso Smith, Braylon Edwards, Bryan McCann, Buffalo Bills, Calvin Johnson, Dallas Cowboys, Deion Branch, Detroit Lions, Jim Schwartz, Julian Peterson, Marion Barber, Matt Stafford, Nate Burleson, Ndamukong Suh, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Shaun Hill, Tom Brady