Birkett: Lions Only Have Themselves To Blame

Bad officiating? Sure, but that's not why the Lions lost in Green Bay

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
October 15, 2019 - 8:35 am
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The Detroit Lions couldn’t have gotten off to a better start against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Detroit led 13-0, and Matthew Stafford threw for a career-high 168 yards in the first quarter.

Nevertheless, the Lions lost 23-22 despite not trailing until the final play of the game.

The mood in the locker room afterward? Not great.

“They were not happy about the officiating, as I’m sure a lot of Lions fans, a lot of people in Detroit, weren’t,” Detroit Free Press Lions reporter Dave Birkett said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Obviously those two Trey Flowers penalties in the fourth quarter, Trey said that’s a technique he’s used for years, never been called for a hands-to-the-face penalty before, and then obviously in a pretty crucial situation gets called twice tonight. So (that was) something that didn’t sit well in the Lions locker room.”

Indeed, Flowers was flagged twice in the fourth quarter. The first flag cost him a sack; the second flag cost the Lions the game.

Still, the Lions mustered just 13 first downs (Green Bay had 22) and were held to 299 total yards (Green Bay had 447). They also settled for five Matt Prater field goals.

“To me, that’s the biggest thing,” Birkett said. “Officiating in the NFL, it kind of is what it is right now. It’s not very good all the way around. The Lions and Packers had about the same penalty yards tonight. To me, the difference in the game, the reasons the Lions lost, they settled for five field goals. You just can’t do that against a good Green Bay Packers team on the road at Lambeau Field. The Lions won the takeaway battle, they forced three turnovers – (but) converted those into nine points. If you do that on the road, you’re bound to lose. 

“So yes, there were some questionable calls that went against the Lions,” Birkett continued. “But at the end of the day, you only have yourself to blame if you’re settling for field goals, if you’re not capitalizing on those turnovers, dropping touchdown passes – some of the other things the Lions did tonight.”

The Lions (2-2-1) host the Vikings (4-2) this Sunday, while the Packers (5-1) host the Raiders (3-2). Both games kick off at 1 p.m. ET.