December 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Chris McCosky

Chris McCosky's Four Downs: Joique Bell takes blame for Lions' loss

First down

Lions running back Joique Bell waited until he was fully dressed after Sunday’s 34-20 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia, until all the cameras and reporters were assembled in front of his locker. Then he turned around.

"Cameras rolling?" he said. "Let's start off by this: Nobody on the offense, nobody on the defense — there's no way we go in the red zone twice and I cough it up twice. Don't blame nobody. Don't blame the coaches. Put that game on me, on my shoulders.

"I'm going to come back next week like I am (ticked) off. I can't allow myself to go out here and put my team in that predicament. It will never happen again."

The Lions fumbled the ball seven times, losing three of them. Bell fumbled it twice. Both happened in the first half, once at the Eagles 28 and again at the Eagles 10.

"It might have been (a different game)," coach Jim Schwartz said of the fumbles. "At that point it was almost impossible to kick field goals there, so we still would have had to push that ball across the goal line and you saw how difficult that was.

"We were moving the ball early and we fumbled. But after that, we never got anything done on offense."

Even with Bell's two fumbles, the Lions led 14-0 late in the third quarter.

Second down

A perhaps more damaging turnover came in the fourth quarter. The Lions trailed 28-20 and had the ball at the Eagles 24.

Stafford was in the shotgun formation and seemed to motion for the receiver to move inside. Center Dominic Raiola snapped the ball on that motion, taking Stafford by surprise.

"No," Stafford said when asked if he was ready for the snap.

He tried to pick the ball up from the snowy ground and couldn't, then the Eagles’ Mychal Kendricks recovered it. It was the fifth exchange that was misplayed in the game, and the only one they lost.

"That had nothing to do with the exchange," Schwartz said. "We were motioning in and snapped the ball too quick. Playing on the road, we have to be able to handle stuff like that. We didn't do a good enough job with that."

Raiola refused to comment after the game.

"I just wasn’t expecting it," Stafford said. "Just a miscommunication, I guess."

Third down

Maybe somebody on Lions sideline saved the ball, but receiver Calvin Johnson didn't seem too interested in mementos after the loss.

Johnson had three catches for 49 yards. The second one, a 33-yarder in a driving snowstorm — made him franchise's all-time leader in receiving yards.

"I don't think about it because I don't know what it is," Johnson said. "I don't keep track of those numbers during the season. Everybody else talks about it, but I don't think nothing about it."

That 33-yard catch put him at 9,175 yards, one more than Herman Moore. Johnson did it in 104 games; Moore did in 145.

The record-breaking catch will be remembered for the face full of snow Johnson got for his efforts.

"That's a first for a lot of us," Johnson said of playing in that much snow.

Fourth down

The Eagles scored on five straight possessions in the second half, and it could easily have been six.

Eagles tight end Brent Celek caught a pass in the flat and had a clear path to the end zone. But they had a 14-point lead and there were less than two minutes left, so he slid down at the 10.

"I knew soon as we called that play that if I caught it, I was going down," Celek said. "Listen, I score and then we have to do a kickoff and then the defense has to go out there. Guys can get hurt.

"It wouldn't have been a smart move for the team."

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com
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Lions' Joique Bell takes the handoff from Matthew Stafford in the third quarter as the snow falls Sunday. / Daniel Mears / Detroit News
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