Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff returns, call rash of holding penalties ‘not fair’

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions suffered another self-inflicted loss Thursday, committing 10 penalties in a 16-14 Thanksgiving defeat to the Chicago Bears.

After the game, Lions quarterback Jared Goff took issue with the amount of holding penalties assessed against the Lions.

“The false starts are absolutely on us,” Goff said. “Those can’t happen, but you can call holding on every single play. It’s no excuse. We’ve done it too much and I know those guys are hard on themselves front, but back there they can throw that flag every play. To me, it seemed like it was a little too often on that call.”

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The Lions were flagged for offensive holding six times Thursday, and twice were penalized on three consecutive plays.

Leading 7-3 and in field goal territory in the second quarter, T.J. Hockenson was flagged for a false start on first-and-10 from the Chicago 29-yard line. Center Evan Brown was called for holding on the next play, and Jamaal Williams followed with a false start, leaving the Lions with a first-and-30 from the Chicago 49.

Goff threw for a short gain to Williams on the next play, Williams was stopped for a 6-yard loss on a swing pass on second down, and the after a short run on third-and-32, the Lions punted the ball away.

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The Bears scored two plays later to take a 10-7 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Evan Brown was flagged for a false start on second-and-7 from the Lions’ 47-yard line. Tommy Kraemer, making his first career start at right guard in place of Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and Taylor Decker drew holding penalties on the next two plays, and the Lions punted on fourth-and-25, never to see the ball again.

The Bears ran the final 8 minutes, 30 seconds off the clock, and kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired.

Goff said the Lions put themselves in bad positions with false starts, but said “the frequency of (the holding calls) I think is not fair.”

The Bears (4-7) were flagged twice for offensive holding, and drew a third holding penalty on special teams.

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“I can’t say I’ve been a part of it, but they called them and that’s what matters,” Decker said. “They were calling it on both teams, both sides of the ball. It just is what it is. If they interpret it a certain way and they call it, like, we held. It is what it is. It killed us, it was killer.”

Decker and Kraemer drew two holding penalties apiece, while Brown and Penei Sewell each had one.

“It’s a concern, because those things are, they get you beat,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “So it’s something that certainly we got to continue to address because we won’t be able to overcome some of these things if we don’t. I’m not concerned. It certainly aggravates me and frustrates me, but I’m not concerned like, ‘Oh no, what are doing?’ We’re coaching them up and we got to get them better and we will.”

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Campbell said he was pleased with Goff’s play Thursday in his return from a strained oblique.

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Goff completed 21 of 25 passes for 171 yards. He completed 12 straight passes to start the game and connected on touchdowns of 39 and 17 yards to Josh Reynolds and T.J. Hockenson.

“He made some good throws,” Campbell said. “The first drive, you come out and he hit the deep one there to Reynolds, that was good. He did some good things. Made some throws.”

Goff said he felt “discomfort at times” in his side, “but nothing significant.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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