LIONS INSIDER

Notebook: Defense's big performance and will Chris Houston return this week?

Posted Sep 10, 2012

Cornerback Chris Houston, who hasn’t practiced since suffering a high ankle sprain in the third preseason game against the Raiders, said Monday that he expects to practice on Wednesday.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford had a great fourth quarter.

Well, a great last two drives at least, against the Rams on Sunday. In those two drives, Stafford was 11-of-12 passing for 142 yards and threw the game-winning touchdown to running back Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left in the game.

While Stafford’s late-game heroics and first half blunders were the predominant storyline from Sunday's 27-23 victory, the Lions defense kept them in the game while Stafford was trying to figure out the Rams defense.

The defense got terrific performances from linebackers Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy and also by defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams, along with a host of others. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said he was most impressed with the way his defense tackled Rams running back Steven Jackson and prevented the big play in Sunday's victory.

“Well there were a couple things that stood out defensively,” Schwartz said during his Monday press conference.

“One is we went in with a goal to try to limit Steven Jackson as much as we could and I thought the defense did a good job there. He had one carry fQuarterback Matthew Stafford had a great fourth quarter.

Well, a great last two drives at least, against the Rams on Sunday. In those two drives, Stafford was 11-of-12 passing for 142 yards and threw the game-winning touchdown to running back Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left in the game.

While Stafford’s late-game heroics and first half blunders were the predominant storyline from Sunday's 27-23 victory, the Lions defense kept them in the game while Stafford was trying to figure out the Rams defense.

The defense got terrific performances from linebackers Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy and also by defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams, along with a host of others. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said he was most impressed with the way his defense tackled Rams running back Steven Jackson and prevented the big play in Sunday's victory.

“Well there were a couple things that stood out defensively,” Schwartz said during his Monday press conference.

“One is we went in with a goal to try to limit Steven Jackson as much as we could and I thought the defense did a good job there. He had one carry for 9 yards but the rest of it we held him to about 2.5 (yards) a carry.

“We played pretty good team defense and we had no runs over 11 yards. We only had one pass over 20 yards so that went a long way to keeping us in that game.

“It’s very rare that you win a game where you’re minus three in turnovers and the way that game went, our defense was able to keep us in that game until our offense was able to really find their way and start scoring touchdowns.”

HOUSTON TO PRACTICE WEDNESDAY?
Cornerback Chris Houston, who hasn’t practiced since suffering a high ankle sprain in the third preseason game against the Raiders, said Monday that he expects to practice on Wednesday.

“I’m day-to-day. I’m going to come out Wednesday and see how it feels from there,” he said.

Houston told reporters that Wednesday is the key date for him to see if he’s trending toward playing in San Francisco this upcoming Sunday. He missed yesterday's season opener against the Rams.

Thursday might actually be more of a key date for Houston if he does in fact practice Wednesday. That’s the day he’ll find out how the ankle held up from the prior day’s work.

BENTLEY WILL FOLLOW PROTOCOL
Rookie cornerback Bill Bentley left the second half of Sunday’s game against the Rams with concussion symptoms and will now have to pass the league’s protocol on concussions before he can return to practice on Wednesday.

That means Bentley will have to get clearance from an independent neurologist before returning.

“He's doing really well,” Schwartz said of Bentley. “But yes, he has to pass a protocol to be back. And that's an objective thing; that's not subjective. He has some hurdles that he needs to cross but we're optimistic.”