LIONS INSIDER

Pettigrew's solid stats blurred by untimely turnovers

Posted Nov 24, 2012

Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew is on pace for another 70-plus catch season with 700-plus yards. So why does it suddenly seem this season has been the roughest of his four-year career?

Pettigrew ranks in the top 10 in the league with six dropped passes, according to Stats LLC, and has also had two crucial turnovers late in losses to Tennessee and Houston.

In the overtime loss at Tennessee, the 2009 first-round pick had a pass ripped out of his hands and returned for a touchdown by cornerback Alterraun Verner.

On Thursday, with the Lions driving for a potential winning touchdown on their first possession of overtime, he again had the ball ripped from his hands. This time it was Texans safety Daniel Manning. The Lions were at the Houston 32-yard line and driving.

"Yeah, he's a strong guy and he keeps on running," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Pettigrew. "We had a couple of those plays. Even if you're doing that, you still have to be able to secure the football and we didn't in that case and that was very costly."

Pettigrew had eight catches for 74 yards, but was targeted 15 times in the game and had a couple other passes bounce off his hands.

The Lions continue to get good production out of Pettigrew, but the miscues need to start becoming a thing of the past if he's ever going to be considered an elite tight end in the league.