Upon Further Review: Lions Week 2

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
3:00
PM ET
An examination of four hot issues from the Detroit Lions' 25-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals:

[+] EnlargeReggie Bush
AP Photo/Ross D. FranklinReggie Bush has been banged up over the first two games, a disturbing trend for the Lions.
Reggie Bush's health: In two games this season, Bush has dislocated his thumb, pulled his groin and taken a helmet to the left knee. And these are just the injuries we know about. The concern right now, although Bush wasn’t worried about it when talking after the loss, is whether or not his knee will keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. Bush’s availability, as he has already shown, changes the offensive dynamic. His work on screens and underneath routes as a player who can score from any spot on the field makes the Lions more productive. Without him, increased attention will be paid to receiver Calvin Johnson.

Play calls at the end of the first half: This largely went unnoticed last week because Detroit scored on its final possession of the first half and ended up beating Minnesota, but the Lions held on to a timeout. In that case, it made sense in case Detroit needed to attempt a field goal. Same thing happened again against Arizona without similar success. On the last drive of the first half, the Lions had all three timeouts and 53 seconds to work with. They ran two plays -- a handoff to Bush for no gain and a handoff to Joique Bell that lost a yard. There was very little aggressiveness in the calls, and if they had been more aggressive, they could have gotten points out of the drive.

“The first play might not have looked like an aggressive play,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. “But all of our plays are designed to work. If we could have got a first down at that point, we could have rolled.

“But there’s another side to that, too. If you go three-and-out real quick, burning all of your timeouts and then they get the ball back in that situation, too. After we didn’t make any yards on that first play, we decided to go into halftime at that point.”

There is logic there, although if you assume Sam Martin delivers a decent punt, Arizona getting the ball back and scoring seems unlikely.

Penaltypalooza: Wrote about this after the game, but it is worth mentioning again. Detroit needs to become a more disciplined team. Penalties will happen. No team will go through a season, and likely not a week, without some gaffes -- and likely some big ones at bad times. But over the past two weeks, this has turned into a trend for Detroit at bad times -- either putting teams in position to score or taking touchdowns away from the Lions.

Right cornerback: Schwartz said, “I don’t know that we have competition” at right cornerback following the loss, but he pulled rookie starter Darius Slay for the second straight week in favor of veteran Rashean Mathis. This time, though, Mathis took over much earlier. This will be worth watching this week.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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