GREEN BAY – Defensive end Trey Flowers sat at his locker, still in full pads, after Monday night's 23-22 loss to the Packers trying to make sense of the two hands-to-the-face penalties he was flagged for in the fourth quarter that helped swing the outcome in Green Bay's favor.
The first came with 10:16 left in the quarter and the Lions leading 22-13. Detroit's Kevin Strong had just sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on a 3rd and 10 play at the Green Bay 44-yard line, and the Packers were going to have to punt the ball back to Detroit.
Instead, Flowers was flagged. The Packers received a first down and would score a touchdown three plays later on a 35-yard pass from Rodgers to Allen Lazard.
The second Flowers penalty, on a 3rd and 4 pass at the Lions' 16 that was incomplete with one minute and 45 seconds left in the game, gave the Packers a first down and a chance to milk the clock all the way down to two seconds to kick the game-winning field goal.
Flowers didn't agree with the calls.
"I was working the move ... yeah, uh ... they saw something different than what actually happened, and they called what they thought they saw," Flowers said.
He was even more confused by the second call.
View photos from the Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Week 6 game at Lambeau Field on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 in Green Bay, Wis.
"I actually changed the position of my hand," Flowers said. "I was doing it all game. I didn't know that was a flag to the chest."
Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, referee Clete Blakeman explained the two calls.
"The umpire threw both of them," Blakeman said. "The last one was really the only one I've discussed with him. Basically, it's for illegal use of the hands, hands-to-the-face foul. To be a foul, we basically need to see some forceful contact that prolonged to the head and neck area of the defender. So, in his mind he had pinned him back, it was prolonged, and that's what created the foul."
The neck is probably the key word there. Holding on to the front collar of an opponent's pads could make some contact with the neck area in the eyes of the official.
Nonetheless, Flowers said he'll learn from it. He said he's ready to get back to work.
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay probably summed it up best in the locker room a little later when he said the Lions can't put themselves into a situation where they allow the officials to impact the game.
ANOTHER DAY FOR GOLLADAY
Golladay knew Sunday night that the first play of the game was going to be a scripted flea flicker to him.
"I went to sleep on it," Golladay said after the game.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford hit Golladay perfectly in stride on the play for a 66-yard gain to start the game. Detroit would only get a field goal out of the drive – a common theme for the night – but Golladay was a bright spot again for Detroit with five catches for 121 yards, his second 100-yard performance of the season.
Golladay is quickly becoming a force in this league and one of Stafford's favorite targets. He now has 24 catches for 364 yards with four touchdowns in five games.
INCONSISTENT RUSHING ATTACK
It's up. It's down. It's up. It's down. For an offense that came into the season wanting to be physical and pound the football with a run-first mentality, Detroit's rushing attack has been rather inconsistent through the first five weeks. They've rushed for 116, 94, 86, 186 and a season-low 56 yards Monday in Green Bay, against a Packers team that entered the league in the bottom six in rushing defense.
"We just have to be a little bit better," Stafford said of the run game. "A lot of the pictures I saw we were close. Some of them they beat us. Other times we were close to having some big ones."
It's something the Lions have to continue to grind on in hopes of finding a little bit better consistency.
- Both Lions kickers were pretty good in this one. Matt Prater was 5-for-5 kicking field goals and one made extra point. Punter Sam Martin would like one kickoff back that went out of bounds, but punting the ball, Martin averaged 46.5 yards per punt and his net average was a very nice 48.8 yards per kick.