Lions Comeback Attempt Falls Short in 28-21 Loss to Texans

Even with a new quarterback and one less familiar face at wide receiver, the Lions played just like they always have this season. The Vikings game was obviously a fluke, as the Lions got down 21-0 in Sunday's contest with the Texans. Just as we have seen many times before, the Lions made a pretty good comeback attempt that made the game entertaining and the score respectable. Still, the Texans won 28-21 in the end, dropping the Lions to 0-6 on the season.

1st Quarter

  • Steve Slaton ran for a gain of 37 yards to set up an eventual 2-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub to tight end Owen Daniels.
  • The Lions quickly went three and out.
  • The Texans moved the ball mainly through the air with passes to both Andre Johnson and Andre Davis. A pass interference call on Leigh Bodden in the end zone would give Houston 16 free yards, allowing Ahman Green to punch the ball in from the 1-yard line to make it 14-0 in the favor of the Texans.
  • Dan Orlovsky completed a pass to Mike Furrey for a first down, but the Lions failed to move the chains again on this drive.

2nd Quarter

  • Owen Daniels caught a couple passes for gains of 9 and 25 yards to move the Texans deep into Lions' territory. Slaton then took over and got the ball on three consecutive carries. The last one resulted in a touchdown from 1 yard out, putting Houston on top 21-0.
  • Dan Orlovsky used his feet to keep the Lions from going three and out by running for a first down. He would go on to complete a pass to Furrey for 25 yards and Michael Gaines for 10 yards to get the Lions in field goal range. Jason Hanson came out and kicked a 54-yarder after the drive stalled to get the Lions on the board.
  • The Texans put together another nice drive that would come to an end due to a turnover. Dewayne White chased after Matt Schaub and stripped him of the ball when contact was made. Jared DeVries quickly recovered the fumble, giving the Lions possession and keeping Houston out of the end zone.
  • Detroit didn't do much before half time, but on the final play of the second quarter Calvin Johnson caught a Hail Mary for a gain of 58 yards. The throw itself was just a lob downfield and Johnson was right under it. He unfortunately was tackled right when he made the catch, which was at the Texans' 8-yard line, but it was still a good stat-padding play before halftime.

3rd Quarter

  • Both teams went three and out to open the second half before the Lions finally got into the end zone. Detroit had good field position and started in Texans' territory after a short punt. Kevin Smith first ran for 21 yards down the right sideline thanks to great blocking, and then he busted loose for 26 yards and a touchdown.

    Smith found a small hole on the left side of the line and made a few defenders miss. After he got a little room to run he was gone. Smith sprinted into the end zone for the touchdown and actually initially got called for unsportsmanlike conduct for climbing up the wall after he scored. The refs changed their minds, though, and ruled that there was no flag on the play.
  • With the lead suddenly down to 11 points, the Texans woke up and put together their best drive of the game. Houston mainly moved the ball through the air but did run the ball on a couple important plays. They eventually had 4th and 1 from the 3-yard line and decided to go for it. Matt Schaub kept the ball on a QB sneak and appeared to be stopped short of the first down by Ernie Sims, who jumped right on Schaub. The initial ruling was that he picked up enough yards for a first down, but the Lions challenged since at least one replay showed something different.

    After the officials reviewed the play, the ball was respotted. It was backed up a little bit but was still a first down. Here's where things got a bit interesting. The Lions still lost a timeout, even though the spot of the ball changed. Evidently the Lions challenged the ruling that the play resulted in a first down rather than the spot of the ball itself; otherwise, the Lions would have won the challenge. That loss of a timeout proved to be important later in the game.
  • The first down for the Texans proved to be important at this stage in the game, as Matt Schaub hit a wide open Owen Daniels in the end zone three plays later. Schaub did a great job of faking the handoff and the Lions' defense bit big time, leaving Daniels wide open. The Texans were now on top 28-10.
  • The Lions went three and out once again, putting themselves in a pretty big hole as this game headed into the fourth and final quarter.

4th Quarter

  • Houston was forced to punt after failing to move the chains. The punt was downed at the Lions' 4-yard line, putting Dan Orlovsky back at his own goal line. I was worried that we should see a repeat of last week with Orlovsky so close to his own goal posts, but I thankfully was 100% wrong.
  • On the first and only play of the drive, Orlovsky hit Calvin Johnson downfield for a 96-yard touchdown. You read that correctly; the Lions scored on a 96-yard touchdown. Johnson got a couple steps on the only man defending him, and Orlovsky threw a perfect pass. Johnson was able to make the catch in stride and was gone for the touchdown. Suddenly this was a game, especially after Orlovsky lobbed a pass to Johnson on the 2-point conversion. It looked like it might sail out of the back of the end zone, but Calvin jumped up and took it out of the air to cut the lead down to 10 points.
  • The Texans were unable to move the ball on their next drive, but they downed the punt at the Lions' 3-yard line. The problem of being backed up near their own end zone quickly went away after a Texans player was called for unnecessary roughness, giving the Lions 15 free yards. Detroit would then move the ball on 3rd and 19 when Orlovsky completed a pass to Furrey for 23 yards. Another personal foul, again for unnecessary roughness, put the Lions in field goal range, allowing Jason Hanson to drill another kick from 54 yards out to get the Lions within one touchdown.
  • Not having that timeout that was lost from the challenge in the third quarter proved to be costly. The Texans took all but 10 seconds off the clock when they got the ball back following Hanson's field goal. The Lions did make a stop, but the punt was downed at the 2-yard line this time, meaning the Lions had to go 98 yards in only 10 seconds.

    Orlovsky threw a pass to Furrey for a gain of 12 yards, and Furrey then lateralled the ball to Shaun McDonald, who tried to lateral it back to Orlovsky. I emphasize the word "tried" in that last sentence, as the lateral ended up becoming a fumble that went out of bounds. There appeared to be 1 second left on the clock, but the refs ruled otherwise and ended the game, meaning the final score was Houston 28, Detroit 21.

Although I do give the Lions credit for playing hard and coming close to making a comeback, there is no excuse for getting down by three touchdowns in the first place. What makes things even worse is that this isn't even the first time the Lions have gone down 21-0 this season. It has happened a couple times before, and the reasons why are always the same. The offense doesn't click until it has to, and the defense acts nonexistent, allowing the opposition to run and pass their way to the end zone. Nothing has changed.

The Lions are now 0-6 and return to Detroit to host the Redskins this upcoming Sunday. Washington is 5-2 this season and likely will repeat their 2007 performance against the Lions on Sunday. The score in last year's meeting at FedEx Field was 34-3, and I expect we'll see something similar again this week. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

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