Four downs: Caldwell exuberant on the sideline

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Lions head coach Jim Caldwell showed rare animation on Sunday, particularly on Darius Slay's forced fumble.

First Down

Two of the more criticized starters in the Detroit Lions’ starting lineup gave way to their backups, in what coach Jim Caldwell tried to explain away as pre-planned decisions.

Laken Tomlinson appeared to suffer an early-game shoulder injury, clearing the way for rookie Graham Glasgow to get some extensive work in at left guard. But when Tomlinson didn’t leave the field for further evaluation, the lineup change looked more performance-related.

Glasgow had some nice blocks, but also missed an assignment switch that contributed to a turnover. Tomlinson did come back into the game in the fourth quarter. The situation is worth monitoring.

The team also rotated in Johnson Bademosi at cornerback for Nevin Lawson. Both players confirmed it was expected and might have had something to do with Lawson battling an illness throughout the week.

Second Down

Down two points with first-and-goal from the Philadelphia six-yard line and 1:50 remaining, the Lions wanted to score a touchdown, but also put a premium on forcing the Eagles to use all three of their timeouts.

“You’ve got to make them use their timeouts if you can, and you want to try to eat as much time off the clock as you possible can,” Caldwell said.

The Lions ran the ball twice, with minimal success, before attempting a pass on third down. When quarterback Matthew Stafford didn’t see an open receiver in the end zone, he ate the sack, by design.

“Wish I could have thrown a touchdown pass there, but we knew a sack was going to be better than throwing the ball away, make them burn their last timeout,” Stafford said.

Third Down

The broadcast caught multiple shots of Caldwell displaying exuberance on the sideline, which is out of character for the typically even-keeled coach. He was particularly excited after cornerback Darius Slay forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter, which the Lions recovered.

Caldwell emphatically signaled his team had gained possession, first bumping into an official before nearly tumbling over the pile of bodies still fighting for the loose ball near the sideline.

Asked about his emotional displays after the game, Caldwell deadpanned, “It’s no different than I always have (been). Often times, I know people want to make it as if that’s different. That’s me, every day. Something good happens, I’m usually pretty excited about it.”

Fourth Down

The Lions came into the game as one of the league’s most penalized team’s, committing 41 infractions the first four games. But against the Eagles, they were on their best behavior, committing just two infractions for 18 yards.

The opposition can’t say the same. Philadelphia was hit with 14 flags in the loss.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

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