Four Downs: Personal fouls, Bush a No. 2 receiver, punting weapon and D-line production

Posted Aug 22, 2013

Tim Twentyman takes a look at four primary takeaways from the Lions' 40-9 preseason win over the New England Patriots


Personal foul penalties mounting
The Detroit Lions were branded an undisciplined team in 2011, when costly personal foul penalties plagued them.

They were much better in that department last season, but those dumb penalties have reared their ugly heads the last two weeks.

Finally, head coach Jim Schwartz had enough in the first half vs. Patriots.

After two personal foul penalties for late hits on Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley on plays the Lions had forced turnovers, defensive end Willie Young had a ridiculous taunting penalty on Tom Brady in the second quarter that gave the Patriots a first down instead a 3rd-and-long at their own 10-yard line.

That was the end of Young's night.

"They didn't throw Willie Young out of the game, but he didn't play the rest of the game," Schwartz said. "We didn't want anymore personal fouls. We had enough of it after two."

Linebacker Rocky McIntosh had a late hit in the fourth quarter, which made four for the game and seven in the last two weeks.

That's way too many and something Schwartz has to address moving forward.


Reggie Bush No. 2 receiver?
Is Reggie Bush quickly becoming the No. 2 receiver for the Lions?

The stats certainly support it. The case is being made for Bush being the team's second most explosive option in the passing game behind Calvin Johnson with every passing week.

With five catches for 103 yards, including a 67-yard catch on a screen pass, Thursday night, Bush now has nine catches for 147 yards the last two weeks.

"He's a talented guy catching the ball out of the backfield and making plays," QB Matthew Stafford said of Bush. "That screen early in the game is definitely an example of it."

The big problem for the Lions is that a No. 2 option from the receiving corps hasn't emerged over the preseason. Nate Burleson, Patrick Edwards and Matt Willis combined for just three catches and 25 yards on eight targets playing with the starters on offense vs. the Patriots.

"I'll be whatever they want me to be," Bush said when asked if he could be the team's No. 2 receiver. "I felt like today I got a lot of passes and it was a good preview, I guess, of what's to come in the regular season."


Punting weapon
Some fans were taken aback when the Lions drafted Sam Martin in the fifth round of April's NFL Draft.

They saw what a weapon a good punter can be vs. the Patriots.

On four punts, Martin averaged 56.0 yards with a net of 53.5. His 57-yard punt late in the second quarter was thing of beauty. Martin dropped the ball on a perfect coffin corner that went out of bounds at the Patriots 1-yard line.

"That was a three-point punt if you really think about it," Schwartz said. "Because we backed them up. The defense got a hold, we used all of our timeouts, got the ball back around midfield and the offense got three catches in a row."

It resulted in a David Akers 49-yard field goal with five seconds left in the half.

"I guess you'd say that was a three-point punt because we got three points out of that field position," Schwartz said.


Two for the price of one
Jason Jones found out Thursday how much fun it can be to play next to one of the best defensive tackles in all of football.

With Ndamukong Suh eating up double team after double team from the Patriots offense, Jones had himself quite a night.

Jones, the veteran defensive end the team signed to replace Cliff Avril at left defensive end, recorded two sacks, three tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and recovered a fumble.

"He's a versatile player," linebacker Stephen Tulloch said of Jones. "We get two players for the price of one."

Tulloch was referring to Jones' ability to move inside on passing situations and allow the Lions to change fronts with Suh and Fairley moving outside at times. The defense did that a number of times Thursday and it put a lot of pressure on the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady.