Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers is on a hot streak getting to the quarterback.
His fourth-quarter sack of Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on Thanksgiving Day was his sixth of the season, and the fifth in his last six games. Also in that span, Flowers has been credited with 11 quarterback hits, six tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
In the “look-at-me” era of professional sports, Flowers doesn’t have a sack dance or do anything to draw attention to himself except do his job. He doesn’t celebrate any of his big plays.
He just goes back to the huddle to get ready to make another play.
“When I get a sack, and I have an opportunity to get a sack, I’m thinking about getting the next one,” Flowers said. “I don’t really celebrate it. You’ve got to win.
“If you’re not winning, there’s not much to celebrate.”
Flowers had only one sack in the first five games. Part of his slow starts was caused by his recovery throughout the offseason of a shoulder injury. It kept him from participating fully in training camp and the preseason games.
It raised some questions when Flowers wasn’t getting to the quarterback about whether the Lions made a mistake when they signed him as a priority free agent.
In his last six gamers, Flowers has shown that he’s the player the Lions thought they were getting from his performance in his first four seasons with the New England Patriots.
Health is a relative condition for all players after 12 games of the season, but feeling good is part of the reason Flowers’ production has increased.
"As far as the season, it’s a rough sport,” Flowers said. “You get late in the season, you’re obviously not always 100 percent. I’m as healthy as I can be in Week 12.
“I just continue to work. Sometimes the opportunity presents itself more now than it did earlier in the year.”
Flowers is as frustrated as anyone in the Lions’ organization over the team’s 3-8-1 record, and the inability to protects leads. The Lions have led in all 12 games.
It’s not something Flowers came close to experiencing with the Patriots. They played in the Super Bowl the last three seasons and won it twice.
“Obviously, to come in, work hard at the game plan and to come up short on the weekend is definitely frustrating,” he said. “That’s part of the game. You’ve got to find ways to out-compete and out-execute the opponent.
“You never expect to lose. That’s not what we work for. As far as experiencing it, I’ve come from a different organization.”
Flowers got a sack midway through the fourth quarter of the Thanksgiving Day game that was the kind of drive-stopping play the Lions have been looking for all season.
On third and seven at the Bears’ 28, Flowers got through up the middle to sack Trubisky for a seven-yard loss. That forced the Bears to punt, with the Lions holding a 20-17 lead.
On their next possession the Bears marched 90 yards to the winning touchdown with just over two minutes left.
Flowers got full credit for the sack, but as is the case in most big plays, it was one part of a team effort.
“Guys did their job – the guys in the back end (covering receivers), all the guys in the front,” Flowers. “We got penetration and pushed the pocket up the middle. It just allowed me to beat my man one on one and make a play when it presented itself.”