Lions cornerback Chris Houston (left), shown defending Bengals receiver A.J. Green, said he expects to start Sunday against the Cowboys. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Allen Park — Lions coach Jim Schwartz would not say whether the benching of starting left cornerback Chris Houston would continue for another week.
“I’m not going to comment on depth charts,” he said.
Houston was benched at halftime last weekend after he gave up an 82-yard touchdown to A.J. Green and 12-yard touchdown to Marvin Jones.
“He didn’t play his best game,” Schwartz said. “He gave up the touchdown early but there were some other plays, too. He can play better, he has before — and we’re going to need him to.”
Houston did not argue with the benching. In fact, he said he would have benched himself. He called it the worst half of football he’d played.
“I ain’t pointing a finger at nobody else but me,” he said after the game. “I put the whole loss on me.”
Houston wasn’t out long. He went back in at left corner after starting right cornerback Rashean Mathis went out with a groin injury. Houston admitted, though, that his confidence has been shaken.
“You have to try to remain confident,” he said. “That’s why they took me out, let me get my head. Once I’m getting double-moved week in and week out, it kind of slows your aggressiveness down. They just let me sit out, get my head right and then come back in and just be more aggressive.”
Houston said he expected to start against the Cowboys on Sunday.
“Confidence means a lot for cornerbacks,” Schwartz said. “I have said a lot of times, it’s physically the most difficult thing to do in sports, to be on that island and have to cover with the way the rules are and try to defend the types of receivers that are in the game now.
“Confidence has a lot to do with it. He’ll get it back.”
Challenge not worth risk
Schwartz clarified why he didn’t challenge the Bengals forward lateral during the return of a blocked field goal near the end of the first half, which helped set up a touchdown.
After the game, Schwartz said the official told him there was no penalty for a forward fumble after a blocked kick. Schwartz perhaps didn’t make it clear it was the forward lateral he was questioning.
“There was some miscommunication on the play but that didn’t cause the field goal to be blocked or the 82-yard touchdown or the shanked punt,” he said.
Schwartz said he first wanted to make sure the play wasn’t automatically reviewed. All scoring plays and turnovers are reviewed, but Schwartz was told a blocked field goal isn’t technically a turnover.
“After talking to the officials, I decided not to challenge it,” he said. “It was 15 yards (the additional yardage gained after the forward pass). The risk-reward in that situation, I decided not to pull the trigger. In retrospect, I probably should have challenged it right there.”
Mathis just fatigued
Schwartz said Mathis did not reinjure his groin. He has been fighting through the injury for at least two weeks.
“It wasn’t really re-aggravated, he just got fatigued,” Schwartz said. “He went about as far as he could go.”
Mathis was taken out in the fourth quarter.
“He wasn’t able to finish but he is no worse for wear,” Schwartz said. “He really stepped in and did a nice job. He went as long as he could and he was able to get us to the fourth quarter. That was a positive.”
Schwartz said receiver Calvin Johnson, like everybody who played, came out a little sore. But he didn’t think there was any setback to his ailing right knee.
“He wasn’t Calvin Johnson, he was Megatron,” Schwartz said. “He did everything he could to get us in position to win that game.”
… Running back Reggie Bush had a stiff neck. Schwartz said he got a stinger in the game.
“A lot of guys have stuff that bothers them on the field but doesn’t affect their performance,” he said. “You can classify this as that.”