The Hangover: Lions Must Overcome Short Week

Shaun Hill (AP Photo)

There isn't necessarily an immediate cure for a hangover, but that won't stop the Detroit Lions from attempting to find one as they prepare for the 8-2 New England Patriots.

There isn't necessarily an immediate cure for a hangover.

But following Sunday's loss at Dallas, Detroit's 26th consecutive road defeat, Jim Schwartz's club will need to find one.

The Lions will have to prepare for one of the league's top teams, the New England Patriots (8-2), when the two clubs duel on Thursday in the annual Thanksgiving Day game. Losers of three straight, Detroit will have to do so with very little time, and worse, not much confidence.

"You don't have a choice, you have to move on," defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said following the 35-19 loss to the Cowboys. "We have to come in (Monday) and get ready for another good team. There are a lot of things we could learn from this game , but I don't know if we have much time to look back. We have to move forward.

Added Schwartz, "We have a 24-hour rule after a loss. We can't afford a 24-hour rule, we're on the clock for New England."

At least they'll be at home, where the team has notched each of its two wins in 2010. But they're also hampered by injuries. Starting defensive end Cliff Avril missed the Dallas contest, and could also be held-out of Thursday's tilt. And the team's offense, already reeling in the absence of quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder) and running back Kevin Smith (knee), could be without rookie Jahvid Best (turf toe).

Best was ineffective and played sparingly against Dallas, while Smith was placed on the injured reserve list, effectively ending his season.

That would leave Detroit with two minimally-used running backs: veteran Maurice Morris, who had a season-high 10 carries on Sunday, and second-year tailback Aaron Brown.

Best was noticeably slowed against the Cowboys, carrying the ball just three times for two yards. He lacked his trademark maneuverability, becoming an easy target for defenders he would traditionally dispatch with a quick juke.

He was a shell of that player on Sunday.

"This was different," Best said. "It bothered me more this week, so my role was reduced. I just tried to go out there and make something happen.

"In the pregame warmups, it was feeling pretty good, but it ended up not being so good. It's just my cutting. Sometimes I can plant and sometimes I can't. It's a tough thing to deal with."

Morris and fullback Jerome Felton combined for 45 yards on 14 carries.

Notebook (Courtesy TheSportsXchange):

  • TRENDING: Strange things continue to befall the Lions. The loss Sunday turned on a bizarre special teams play in the third quarter. Leading 12-7, the Lions appeared to have the Cowboys pinned inside the 5-yard-line for the fourth time in the game. Gunner John Wendling got to Nick Harris' punt at the goal line and batted it back toward the 5. Wendling knocked the ball on one hop to Cowboys returner Bryan McCann, who scooped it up and ran it back 97 yards for a touchdown. Two plays after that, Jerome Felton fumbled, the Cowboys scored, and it was a 14-point swing in 2:43.
  • LINEUP WATCH: The Lions benched third receiver Bryant Johnson. He is in the second year of a three-year, $9.3 million contract and he had just nine catches in nine games. Derrick Williams took his place, though he played sparingly. The Lions worked out former Eagles receiver Kevin Curtis last week. If he decides to sign with the Lions, Johnson's days may be numbered.
  • DT Ndamukong Suh led the Lions with eight tackles. He shared a sack with Lawrence Jackson. He also earned the Lions a safety when he was held in the end zone by veteran OG Leonard Davis. Suh was also cited for a controversial personal foul when he grabbed RB Marion Barber by the hair and threw him harshly to the turf.
  • TE Tony Scheffler injured his ribs near the end of the first half. He did not return.
  • KR Stefan Logan, besides handling all the returns, also saw action as a running back (one carry, 4 yards) and a receiver (no catches).
  • TE Brandon Pettigrew had eight catches for 75 yards. "I don't care about individual stats," he said. "We're just not getting it done. We're not winning."
  • DE Cliff Avril missed his second straight game with a quadriceps injury. Turk McBride and Lawrence Jackson replaced him. Jackson had two tackles, including 1.5 sacks.
  • LB Caleb Campbell, activated from the practice squad Saturday, made his NFL debut, playing on the coverage teams.

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