After losing two straight games and jeopardizing their playoff hopes, the Detroit Lions finally got back into the win column after defeating the Minnesota Vikings at home Sunday 34-28. However, after receiving a stern warning from head coach Jim Schwartz on Saturday night regarding potential benching for penalties after the whistle, the Detroit Lions were flagged at the same pace they have been in past weeks.
Penalties have become a serious issue for the Detroit Lions and last week in prime time, the nation was wondering if head coach Jim Schwartz was losing control of his team as the Lions were flagged for several personal foul penalties. Sunday night’s game came on the heels of another nationally televised Detroit Lions game which saw DT Ndamukong Suh stomp on the arm of a Green Bay Packers offensive lineman.
The Lions were flagged for 10 penalties again on Sunday but might have escaped with a win for one play which wasn’t called. Lions LB DeAndre Levy grabbed QB Joe Webb’s fasemask, which should have been called with the Vikings just a yard away from a game winning touchdown.
Detroit jumped out to an early lead, scoring 21 points in the first quarter, the first time the franchise has posted that many first quarter points since 1990, but despite the early lead, they allowed the Minnesota Vikings to get back into the game. Playing without RB Adrian Peterson and with Joe Webb replacing Christian Ponder at quarterback, the Vikings put themselves in a position to win the game late.
Penalties continue to plague this Lions team. Over the last three games, Detroit has been flagged 32 times for over 250 total yards. This trend cannot continue if the Lions hope to go deep into the playoffs.
With the Lions win, coupled with the Chicago Bears loss, Detroit has moved into the number 6 seed in the NFC playoffs and would receive the last wildcard seed if the playoffs started tomorrow. As the playoffs stand right now, the Detroit Lions would start the playoffs in a rematch of last week’s game against the Saints in New Orleans. Lions fans know how costly the penalties were in the first game between the two teams, head coach Jim Schwartz needs to get this epidemic under control.