Sunday, December 2, 2012
Wrap-up: Colts 35, Lions 33
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on Sunday's events at Ford Field:
What it means: The Detroit Lions lost their fourth consecutive game to drop to 4-8, ensuring the third non-winning season in four years under coach Jim Schwartz. They finished an 0-3 homestand by blowing fourth-quarter leads in each game, the third team in NFL history to do so. We already knew the Lions were long shots to make the playoffs. Now we must wonder if their collapse will have further-reaching effects.
Schwartz's postgame: In his meeting with reporters, at least, Schwartz was seething. You probably would be, too, if your team had given up 14 points in the final 2 minutes, 39 seconds. Schwartz called out several specific plays, without naming the players, for obvious mistakes, and it was direct enough to wonder if there will be any consequences for repeated breakdowns. Nose tackle Nick Fairley's horse-collar tackle gave the Indianapolis Colts a 15-yard chunk on their penultimate possession and cornerback Drayton Florence allowed receiver LaVon Brazil to get behind him in a prevent defense for a 42-yard touchdown, among other mistakes. "Inexcusable" and "terrible" were among the words Schwartz used. He also said, "This is a tough league for tough people and we'll find out who's tough and who's not." Let's see if there is any follow-up from a roster or lineup perspective.
Game management: I didn't have a problem with Schwartz's decision to run the ball just after the two-minute warning on third-and-5. Perhaps a pass play would have had a better chance to make a first down, but at that point the clock was the most important thing. The Lions ran off 46 seconds even though Mikel Leshoure gained only one yard on the play. A good punt and decent defense should have made it too tough for the Colts, who didn't have a timeout, to win. Nick Harris' 25-yard punt was yet another mistake.
MegatronWatch: Lost in the loss was another stunning day from receiver Calvin Johnson, whom quarterback Matthew Stafford targeted on 20 passes. Johnson caught 13 of them for 171 yards and a 46-yard touchdown. That brings Johnson's season total to 1,428 yards, and he is now 421 yards away from breaking Jerry Rice's NFL record of 1,848 receiving yards in a season.
Injury report: Schwartz said there is "concern" about receiver Ryan Broyles' right knee injury but that he will be tested further Monday. That's usually code for the likelihood of a season-ending injury. Broyles tore the ACL in his left knee during his final season at Oklahoma.
What's next: The Lions will play at the Green Bay Packers next Sunday night.