It had an incident involving Lions DT Ndamukong Suh, in which Suh kicked Texans quarterback Matt Schaub – accidentally or otherwise, depending on a person’s perspective — in a very inhospitable area.It had a controversial call on an 81-yard Justin Forsett touchdown — the longest run in Texans’ franchise history — that will likely lead to a change in the NFL rule book.It had an overtime period that featured six, yes, six possessions, two turnovers, and two missed game-winning field goal attempts before Texans’ kicker Shayne Graham converted a 32-yard attempt to seal the win.It had two wide receivers named Johnson — Houston’s Andre, and Detroit’s Calvin — who combined for 328 yards and several elite-level catches in front of a national audience.And it had a Texans (10-1) team that found the strength to get two overtime wins in four days, a feat few NFL franchises — former expansion team or otherwise — can boast.“We were tested physically big time [by playing 10 quarters in four days].” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said, “It was really a test of our character. Guys stepped up and we just kept playing and got ourselves in a great position in overtime defensively with two huge stops. This group refuses to go down.”The only thing Thursday’s game didn’t have was the one thing Lions’ fans wanted most — a Lions’ win on Thanksgiving Day. The loss dropped Detroit to 4-7, removed any realistic chance of a playoff place, and extended Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day losing streak to nine games.It’s frustrating,” DE Kyle Vanden Bosch said. “Back-to-back weeks [against Green Bay and Houston], we had a chance to beat a really good team. That’s not good enough because [Detroit] is a really good team. We’re just not playing like it right now.”The game didn’t look like it would end in frustrating fashion for the Lions, whose offense was more in sync than it had been at any point all year. Matthew Stafford rediscovered his accuracy against an injury-riddled Texans’ secondary that was without cornerback Johnathan Joseph. Stafford’s 31-61 passing performance isn’t as important a statistic as his 441 passing yards, two scores, and no turnovers.Jim Schwartz’ decision to bench Titus Young for disciplinary reasons helped the rest of the receiving corps return to their unselfish ways. Calvin Johnson’s 140 receiving yards and a touchdown opened the door for other receivers to shine, and Ryan Broyles stepped in to Young’s old No. 2 receiver role in emphatic fashion.Broyles finished the day with 126 yards on six catches, giving the Lions’ the true complimentary receiver for Johnson that they’ve lacked while Young has been more focused on finding the spotlight than he has been on catching the football.“I’m not going to say [the offense's improvement] was due to Titus not being around,” Calvin Johnson said. “But it was nice to get some new playmakers in there, and the guys made plays when they had opportunities.”Translation: Whether Johnson will openly admit it or not, Young’s attitude wasn’t missed.After Forsett’s touchdown, however, the Titans found the strength they needed to force overtime. DE J. J. Watt helped the Texans hold the Lions off the scoreboard long enough for Arian Foster and the O-line grind down Detroit’s defensive front, forcing the Lions’ linebackers far enough up in the box to create favorable matchups for TE Owen Daniels and Andre Johnson. Shaub’s effort — he finished 29 for 48 passing, for 315 yards with a touchdown and an interception — wasn’t stellar, but his mistakes didn’t hurt his team, and Foster says the Texans’ toughness helped them find a way to stay atop the AFC.“We have a lot of things to fix as far as [producing] early on in the game,” he said. But this team steps up when it has to, and that’s important in this League. That’s important when you’re trying to make a championship run, which is what we’re trying to do.”When the game turned: Thursday’s classic will go down in the annals of Thanksgiving Day football history as “The Challenge Game.” With 6:35 remaining in the third quarter, and Detroit leading 24-14, replays showed that Forsett was tackled at the Lions’ 25 yard line after what would have been a six-yard gain. Referee Walt Coleman’s crew didn’t blow the whistle, however, and Forsett alertly ran for a touchdown. The scoring play would have been reviewed, but Schwartz made the mistake of throwing his challenge flag on the field at a time when coaches’ challenges aren’t allowed by rule. The resulting 15-yard penalty also negated any chance that the scoring play could be reviewed, and the touchdown stood. The Lions looked lost on Houston’s next drive, surrendering a field goal that tied the game. Highlight moments: The incident between Suh and Schaub happened in the first quarter as Suh was being spun to the ground by Texans’ tackle Derek Newton. Suh kicked out into space twice while upside down, and connected with Schaub’s groin. No penalty was called on the play, but the incident is the second time in as many Thanksgiving games that Suh has kicked out at an opponent. He was ejected from last season’s Thanksgiving game for stomping a Packers’ player…Schwartz’ costly erroneous challenge wasn’t the first time he used his red flag Thursday. He also used it with 5:49 remaining in the first quarter, when Houston appeared to touch a punt that was recovered by Lions’ S Erik Coleman. Possession was awarded to Houston because no indisputable evidence of a fumble existed…Detroit didn’t have a rush of longer than 20 yards all season until Joique Bell ran for 26 yards and 23 yards on the Lions’ final scoring drive… Watt kept the Texans in the game during the second half when he sacked Stafford on consecutive drives to back Detroit out of field goal range…Detroit missed its’ best chance to win the game in overtime when Jason Hanson missed a 47-yard FG attempt. Hanson’s miss came after Graham had missed a 51-yard attempt earlier in the extra period.Top-shelf performances:• Lions WR Ryan Broyles –- 6 catches, 124 yards• Lions WR Calvin Johnson — 8 catches, 140 yards, TD. • Lions CB Chris Houston — 4 pass breakups, interception• Lions LB Stephen Tulloch– 15 tackles. • Texans WR Andre Johnson — 9 catches, 188 yards• Texans RB Arian Foster– 20 carries, 102 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 15 receiving yards.• Texans DE J. J. Watt–5 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 pass breakupsWhat they said about Suh’s kick of Schaub:
Texans QB Matt Schaub — “I really don’t have anything to say about that play — or that person.”
Lions coach Jim Schwartz — “I can’t comment. I didn’t see it. I’d be surprised if it was anything other than just the natural course of the game.”
Texans coach Gary Kubiak– “I didn’t see it. He’s a great player, plays with a lot ofeffort and finishes on the quarterback. We knew that and it’s our job to keep our guyssafe…I did talk to [the officials]. I just asked him to watch [Suh].
Suh did not speak with the media after the game, and an NFL spokesperson said the league will have no comment on the incident until after Week 12 concludes.What they said about Forsett’s touchdown:
Texans RB Justin Forsett — “I got low and I really didn’t feel my knee go down. I didn’t hear the whistle, so I kept running until I got to the end zone. I turned around and saw it was a touchdown. Then I saw on the screen that my forearm was down and I thought OK, they might challenge it. Not being able to review it, it’s a blessing…From what I hear, [Schwartz] threw the flag a little early so it cancelled the review. My job is just to play until the whistle blows. That’s all I was worried about … I love that rule.”
Lions coach Jim Schwartz — “I know that rule. You can’t challenge a turnover or scoring play. I overreacted. I was so mad they didn’t call him down. He was obviously down on the field. I had the flag out of my pocket before he even scored the touchdown. It’s all my fault; I overreacted in that situation and cost us a touchdown. The first challenge wasn’t overturned, and I thought it was pretty obvious the ball hit their guy and we didn’t get that ball. We seemed to be behind a lot of those calls today. I overreacted and it cost us.”
Numbers you should know: Punter Nick Harris did his part to keep the Lions in Thursday’s game. Harris put four punts inside the 20-yard line during what has to be regarded as one of Detroit’s better special teams’ performances of the season. The Lions’ average starting field position of their own 28-yard line gave Stafford some of the shortest fields he’s had to start drives all year.Injury update: Lions — Louis Delmas [knee] saw limited time in the second half after he experienced swelling and soreness. The team did not report any additional injuries. Texans — Kubiak said his biggest concerns centered on injuries to LB Bradie James [hamstring], G Antoine Caldwell [hamstring], and LB Brooks Reed [groin]. TE Garrett Graham’s [shoulder] and T Derek Newton [quad/knee] also reported injuries, but Kubaik did not describe their injuries as major.Going forward: Lions — With seven losses, the Lions are realistically playing for pride, but they can help the Texans by beating the Colts in Week 13 at Ford Field. Texans –- After playing 10 quarters in four days, Houston’s players were given three days off after Thursday’s win. They’ll return to work on Monday to prepare to face the Titans at LP Field.Follow Lions reporter John Kreger on Twitter at@CBSLionsand@JohnKreger.
Follow Texans blogger Sean Bielawski on Twitter,@CBSTexans.
This much we know: The Blue Jays recently signed infielder Maicer Izturis and then another Izturis brother. Intially, that second Izturis brother was believed to be veteran shortstop Cesar Izturis, Maicer’s older brother. Now, however, it has come to light the second Izturis brother signed by the Blue Jays is not Cesar but rather younger brother Julio, age 23 and, in the family tradition, an infielder.
Here’s Mike Cormack of SportsNet.ca with additional notes on the espionage:
Tweets began surfacing from an account claiming to be Cesar Izturis’s. The tweets appeared genuine at first but when they quickly turned dark, vulgar and profane it became obvious the account, no longer in existence, was a hoax.On Thursday a Blue Jays official told Sportsnet 590 The Fan the team has not signed Cesar Izturis. A short while later, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi learned the truth was the Blue Jays had actually signed another Izturis brother, in this case 23-year-old Julio.
At this point, it seems only fair that the Jays would sign Cesar. Right? Alternatively, does anyone want to argue that Julio and Cesar shouldn’t wrestle a “loser leaves town match” at the Rogers Centre?
In any event, all of this raises another urgent question, one worthy of the democratic process: “Izturises” or “Izturii”?
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