In the Detroit Lions’ preseason opener, a 23-3 victory against the New York Jets, the team committed just three penalties. Against Washington Thursday night that number tripled as the Lions were flagged nine times in the 21-17 loss.
That’s something that didn’t sit well with Lions coach Jim Caldwell.
The big thing was, we had too many penalties, Caldwell told 97.1-FM after the contest. The big difference between last week and this week, we had three penalties last week, nine this week, which extended some drives for them, defensively, but also took away a couple of long runs for us offensively.
The infractions started piling up early for Detroit.
On the team’s opening offensive series, right tackle Cornelius Lucas was flagged for holding. Suddenly, instead of knocking on the red zone, the Lions faced a 2nd-and-18 from the Washington 33-yard line. Detroit ultimately settled for a 49-yard Matt Prater field goal.
And as Caldwell pointed out, a holding call wiped out Detroit’s biggest offensive play, a 45-yard rush by running back Zach Zenner in the third quarter.
On the other side of the ball, the Lions defense was flagged twice on a pair of Washington touchdown drives, both totaling 80 yards.
Historically, Caldwell’s clubs have done a nice job limiting penalties. The 2014 Lions didn’t fit that mold, drawing 126 flags. That ranked 29th in the league.
The Lions will look to clean up their act next week when the team travels to Jacksonville to battle the Jaguars in what will be viewed as a trial run for the regular season.
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