The Lions got another national television audience Sunday night. The opposition changed, but the bone-headed penalties by Detroit remained a constant.
Even with Ndamukong Suh suspended, the Lions still fielded the least disciplined team this side of Oakland. At some point, this has to come back to coach Jim Schwartz.
The Saints beat the Lions 31-17 for many reasons on Sunday; Drew Brees being primary among them. But Detroit could have been so much more competitive if not for penalties.
The Lions took three personal foul penalties after the whistle, including tight end Brandon Pettigrew’s shove of an official. Each penalty came at a critical moment and cost the team dearly.
In all, the Lions were penalized 11 times for 109 yards. The mental mistakes made it too tough to win in the Superdome.
It’s difficult enough to match up with the Saints offense. Brees threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns on 35 attempts. Jimmy Graham dominated single coverage again with eight catches.
The Saints defense made some key plays, but it’s not like they dominated. Matthew Stafford threw for more than 400 yards and over nine yards-per-attempt. It was his most consistent performance since he hurt his finger in Denver, but he was fighting uphill because of the penalties.
New Orleans is now cruising to an NFC South title in large part because they are unbeatable at home.
The Lions are 2-5 in their last seven games in large part because they keep beating themselves.