New Orleans Saints 31, Detroit Lions 17 (box score)
The Detroit Lions weren’t supposed to win this game. Unfortunately, when they had an opportunity to push the New Orleans Saints for an improbable victory, they threw it away with shear foolishness.
New Orleans got off to a fast start with a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Undeterred, the Lions came back like they have so many times and were down just one score at 24-17 with a full quarter to play.
Stefan Logan wasn’t content with a decent punt return and felt the need to throw the ball to a New Orleans Saints player. The Lions had momentum on their side after forcing a quick three and out but the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty backed the Lions up what would turn out to be an important 15 yards. The drive stalled and ended without points when Jason Hanson missed a 55-yard field goal attempt. The Saints took advantage of the short field and scored to go up 31-17.
Tight End Brandon Pettigrew also hurt the Lions’ cause later in the fourth quarter when he crossed the line with contacting an official. It was another personal foul against the Lions and another 15-yards of self-inflicted penalties.
While the Lions’ most obvious displays of immaturity came late in the game it was also evident earlier in the game as well. Titus Young let his emotions get the best of him in the third quarter and gave a face push (apparently not a punch) to a Saints player with an official between the two. Not only was it blatantly obvious, it was done right in front of an official. There is no way any player can expect to get away with that.
It was a game between two teams with playoff aspirations but it was obvious that only one of those teams is a legitimate championship contender. If the Lions want to change that they’ll have to change their attitude towards the game, and quick.