theScore.com’s NFL bloggers had you covered on Thanksgiving Thursday, from the moment they kicked off in Detroit to the final whistle in Baltimore. Here’s what they saw…and heard…and maybe even felt:

11:15: Harbaugh beats Harbaugh in a classic defensive battle

Some will call it boring, but that was a lot of fun for those who enjoy good defense. The Baltimore defense sacked Alex Smith a team-record nine times (three from Terrell Suggs) in a 16-6 win in Baltimore.

Something had to give between the league’s best two defenses, especially since Baltimore was 5-0 at home and San Francisco was 4-0 on the road, and the difference was that Joe Flacco was ultimately better than Alex Smith, while the Ravens dominated both lines of scrimmage.

When you put it like that, it sounds like a one-sided matchup, but the Niners were actually moving the ball more effectively than Baltimore was in the first half. Inexplicably, Smith threw a poor pass on a bad decision to go into the end zone when the Niners were already in field goal range to tie it at halftime. Three points gone right there.

And then, on Baltimore’s only drive of the third quarter (and the only touchdown drive of the game) San Fran’s top-ranked scoring defense couldn’t stop Flacco and the Ravens on third down.

If you’re looking for a particular back-breaker, point to early in that drive when Lee Evans made a third-down catch in his own territory. He caught it with Donte Whitner draping him three yards short of the first down marker, but was somehow able to overpower the Niners safety and drag him over the line to convert and keep the chains moving. If not for that play, the Ravens don’t get the seven points they eventually scored.

So you could argue that those two plays changed the game. If not for them, this game might have gone to overtime. Who knows, maybe we would’ve had an old-fashioned tie in the first-ever meeting between head-coaching brothers.

Instead, the Niners go home with the realization that they’re not bulletproof, and that they probably won’t catch Green Bay in the NFC.

As for John Harbaugh’s Ravens, they now own the top seed in the AFC, for at least 72 hours.

– Brad Gagnon

10:50: You mean referees miss calls?

Apparently officials are indeed human, and they miss crucial calls at crucial times during major sporting events. The 49ers would have enjoyed the 15 free yards that came with this face mask penalty that wasn’t called

Sean Tomlinson

10:45: In support of a good cause, Joe Flacco is becoming a pornstar

Or something like that…

(Via Mike Tunison)

– Brad Gagnon

10:40: Flacco has a drive for the ages, at least under the current circumstances

Joe Flacco hasn’t had a particularly good game, but he’s up against the league’s best defense. And considering what he just did on Baltimore’s first drive of the third quarter, Flacco might be developing a reputation for his clutch play.

Three weeks after taking the Ravens down the field in crunch time to beat Pittsburgh, Flacco was dialed in right when his team needed him most tonight. He completed passed on four third downs, the last of them going for the first touchdown of the night as Baltimore took an insurmountable* 13-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.

In all, he completed nine out of 12 passes on a drive that ate a ton of clock, giving his defense a chance to pin their ears back with a fourth-quarter lead.

* Only half-kidding

– Brad Gagnon

10:20: Alex Smith has decided to correct a problem early in the second half

The 49ers don’t throw deep much. This should not be new information, as it’s been quite clear for nearly 12 weeks now that this version of the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh is the type of team that prefers to run over you, instead of throw over you.

But even by his standards Alex Smith had a poor first half yardage-wise, which was largely the result of coverage downfield. Smith is averaging only 189.9 passing yards per game, which puts him in Curtis Painter territory (30th). At the end of the first half Smith had thrown for only 70 yards, setting a pace for a 140-yard night, which would be the second-lowest total of his season.

Smith then had 27 yards on San Francisco’s drive to open the second half, temporarily correcting his early sluggish passing pace.

Sean Tomlinson

10:15: Defense! (Part 2)

Midway through the third quarter now, and still a defensive battle in Baltimore.

It’s 6-6 after San Francisco capped a clock-eating drive to start the third quarter with a David Akers field goal. But that didn’t come before Alex Smith took two more sacks (Haloti Ngata on one, Terrell Suggs on the other) and made a huge play (hitting Michael Crabtree for 18 yards on a third-and-17 from his own 26-yard line).

This is a matchup of the best two defenses in the world, and neither is breaking. Neither is really even bending.

That said, you get the feeling we’ll get a big play eventually.

– Brad Gagnon

9:32: Against the league’s best run defense, Baltimore doesn’t even try to throw in a goal-to-go situation.

Amazingly, San Francisco hasn’t given up a rushing touchdown all season. And yet, on three straight plays from inside the 5-yard line, the Ravens did this:

John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron might regret that sequence later.

– Brad Gagnon

9:30: Penalty costs San Fran another big play

Only minutes after losing a 75-yard touchdown because of a questionable chop block penalty on Frank Gore, the 49ers have lost what would have been the first turnover of the game. But this time, there was little doubt that Tarell Brown interfered with Torrey Smith on a deep ball midway through the second quarter.

As a result, the Ravens now have first-and-goal. Keep in mind, though, that San Francisco hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown all year.

– Brad Gagnon

9:27: Baltimore is assaulting Alex Smith

The Ravens are on pace to sack Alex Smith 12 times, but the Niners are okay with that because Alex Smith is yet to make a mistake and the game remains tied. Consider it a rope-a-dope, and eventually San Francisco will attack deep while avoiding a crippling penalty in the process. Right now, though, the Ravens are dominating the line of scrimmage.

They have four sacks thus far:
Cory Redding (2)
Tom Zbikowski
Haloti Ngata

Neither Frank Gore nor Ray Rice have had much room to run and both teams are struggling to consistently move the chains through the air. The major difference? While Baltimore is hitting Smith often, the Niners still haven’t registered a sack.

– Brad Gagnon

9:15: Yep, this is pretty much what we expected

Sure, we knew this was going to be a defensive slugfest featuring two of the two defenses in the NFL. But beyond that, there’s a trend that’s developed and is continuing with the Ravens’ offense throughout this season. Baltimore ranks seventh in points per game (25.6), but they’ve scored just 61 points in the first quarter, 21 of which came on an outburst against St. Louis in Week 3.

More importantly, their habit of starting slow has grown in recent weeks. Over their last five games prior to today the Ravens have scored just three points in the first quarter.

Sean Tomlinson

9:00: Defense!

After one quarter in Detroit, it was 0-0. After one quarter in Dallas, it was 3-0. That means we had our highest scoring first quarter of Thanksgiving Thursday in Baltimore, where it’s 3-3 between the 49ers and Ravens.

As expected, both defenses have been stellar early on in the Harbowl. That doesn’t mean, though, that either offense should be ashamed. Alex Smith has done a good job managing the game and has completed three of four passes, while the Ravens have done a good job giving Ray Rice the ball quite frequently.

But when push has come to shove, both defenses have stepped up to hold strong, and both teams were forced to settle for field goals in their only trips into enemy territory.

UPDATE: The Ravens were forced to punt on their second trip into San Francisco territory, early in the second quarter. Moments after that, the Niners appeared to finally bust loose with a deep touchdown to Ted Ginn, but the 75-yard score was called back because of a chop block on Frank Gore that NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock called “ticky-tack.”

– Brad Gagnon

8:20: Tale of the tape: Jim vs. John Harbaugh

Little-known fact: tonight, brothers will head coach against each other for the first time in NFL history.

Age:
Jim: 47
John: 49

NFL experience:
Jim: 1st year
John: 4th year

Career record:
Jim: 9-1
John: 39-19

Years as a collegiate head coach:
Jim: 7
John: 0

Years in the NFL as a player:
Jim: 15
John: 0

College:
Jim: Michigan
John: Miami

– Brad Gagnon

7:42: And now it’s time for the Harbowl!

– Brad Gagnon

7:35: Whether they deserved it or not, Dallas found a way to win…and that’s just weird

For the second time in as many weeks, the Cowboys have had to rely on their rookie kicker to come through and deliver a field goal to defeat a team with only three wins. And for the second time in as many weeks, Dan Bailey has put one through the uprights to hand his team the victory.

I guess that shouldn’t be surprising, since Bailey is a ridiculous 27-for-28 this season and hasn’t missed since Week 2, especially considering that this game-winner was basically the distance of an extra point. But still, for a team that for years has found ways to lose, the Cowboys keep baffling me by finding ways to win.

That’s four in a row now, and that one gives them sole possession of first place in the NFC East.

It wasn’t easy. Dallas trailed twice in the second half and got a lucky break when a Matt Moore fumbled snap landed them on the Miami 5-yard line to set up their first touchdown of the game in the second quarter. When you consider how many Miami opportunities went to waste (they had it inside Dallas territory four times in the first half and wound up with just three points), the Cowboys probably didn’t deserve a victory.

In Tony Romo’s defense, he was tremendous when it mattered most. Two first-half interceptions had the Laura Diakuns of the world paranoid that we’d see that Romo all day, but he fought back in the second half, at one point completing 10 straight passes. Romo was especially good on third down, and his work on an early-fourth quarter touchdown drive was All-Pro-like.

Nice effort from the Dolphins, but who cares about them? They’re done. The story is Dallas, who now gets an easy game against Arizona at home. A win there and they’ll have a chance to make it six in a row and put a stranglehold on the division at home in Week 14 against the Giants.

The Cowboys should be in control now. Should be.

– Brad Gagnon

7:20: And here’s why this game is even close

Good teams consistently make the opponent pay and capitalize on their opportunities. The Dolphins we’ve watched today and over the past three weeks aren’t same Dolphins that lost their first seven games, but they’re still not a good team.

Sean Tomlinson

7:15: We won’t get to see Ray Lewis scream tonight

Actually, we’ll probably see that, but he’ll be doing it from the sideline again. Lewis is inactive, and he’ll miss his second straight game with a toe injury. It gets worse for the Ravens up the middle, as Dannell Ellerbe is also out. Ellerbe replaced Lewis last week, and now Brandon Ayanbadejo will make just his fifth-career start.

A Ravens defense that’s allowing only 93.2 yards per game on the ground is more than just Lewis, and last week without him they held Cincinnati to 118 total rushing yards, with only 41 of those yards coming from lead RB Cedric Benson. Still, this makes containing Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter and controlling the clock an even greater challenge.

Sean Tomlinson

6:50: Jason Witten did not tackle David Nelson’s girlfriend

But he did take out a cheerleader. We’re still trying to determine who it was. This is very important stuff, and it’s exactly what Tomlinson and I went to journalism school for.

Fortunately, there aren’t many brunettes on the team, so it was easy to whittle it down.

The nominees (from left to right) are Colleen, Ashton and Alexandra. My money’s on Alexandra.

Actually, here’s crappy video that suggests it might be none of the above:

Whatever, we’ve moved on.

– Brad Gagnon

6:43: Momentum shift in Dallas? (Part 2)

Right when Miami had all the momentum (see below post), Tony Romo stepped up with a perfect drive (7-for-7) capped with a touchdown pass to his newest favorite target, Laurent Robinson. And Dallas is back in front. That was a huge touchdown for the Cowboys, because it was their first touchdown drive of more than, um, five yards today.

Romo’s had an up-and-down game, but he’s firing on all cylinders now. And since it also seems the Dolphins have found a way to both sustain drives and executive in Dallas territory, a game that was boring in the first half is picking up some serious offensive steam. Last team to touch the ball might get the W.

– Brad Gagnon

6:33: Momentum shift in Dallas?

Tony Romo is 12-0 in his career at home in the month of November and has never lost on Thanksgiving Day. But today, a team that only got its first win of the year three weeks ago is getting the best of Romo and the Cowboys in Dallas.

Matt Moore listened to our girl Laura Diakun and decided to look deep for Brandon Marshall, who beat Terence Newman despite pass interference and pulled in a 35-yard touchdown grab to give Miami a 16-10 lead.

The Dolphins have scored the game’s last 13 points and have outscored the Cowboys 10-0 in the second half. Romo has just one completion since halftime because two long drives have kept him and the Dallas offense off the field. That’s key when you’re trying to shorten a road game against a superior team.

Moore and the Phins are realizing that they need to attack Dallas deep, especially with DeMarcus Ware having a great day. They’re doing a better job blocking Ware and the Dallas pass rush in the third quarter, and Moore has now completed three passes of 35 yards or more.

The Cowboys are probably missing injured cornerback Mike Jenkins. And now that they’re trailing and without momentum, they’re probably missing Miles Austin a little more than normal.

– Brad Gagnon

6:23: DeMarco Murray is slowing down a bit on the ground

The second I post this DeMarco Murray will break a 48-yard run, and then we’ll all laugh and pelt fish sticks at your friendly neighborhood blogger man. And to be fair, no reasonable mind expected Murray to maintain the torrid pace he established when he first took over for an injured Felix Jones in Dallas’ backfield.

But he’s either regressing, or he’s finally facing opponents that actually field a rush defense. This is Murray’s sixth start, and he had a highly productive first half, with his 61 yards between the air and ground accounting for nearly half of the Cowboys’ first half yardage.

However, we were once told that a primary function of a running back is to run the football, which is why we place so much emphasis on yards per carry. In his first four starts when he rushed for an unbelievable 601 yards, Murray’s yards per carry didn’t dip below 6.3 yards. He topped out at 10.1 yards in his first start against St. Louis, and overall he averaged 8.2 during that stretch.

Now with just less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Murray’s averaging just 3.7 yards per carry today (56 yards on 15 carries) after finishing with just 2.9 against the Redskins last week. Felix Jones could start getting a few more looks soon.

Sean Tomlinson

6:00: Halftime thoughts from a rabid Cowboys fan

Things I hate: Tony Romo, false start penalties and dropped passes.  After Romo threw two picks in a span of just three passes in the first quarter, every single time he drops back from here on out, I get this sense of foreboding (and I don’t have any nails to chew off after the Redskins debacle last week). It’s all or nothing with that guy. Just when it looked like he’d gotten over his turnover issues, he reminds everyone just how much of a liability he can be. But luckily for the Cowboys, the Dolphins have a horrible offense. Horrible. You have to applaud Miami for its current three game winning streak, but most of the credit has to go to the defense (which is playing very well once again today).

False start penalties, at home no less, always boggle my mind. It’s a sign of lack of discipline and the Cowboys had four (yes four) false start penalties in the first half alone. This team has always had issues with penalties and today has been no exception (five penalties for 40 yards). Luckily these major mistakes haven’t cost them because the Dolphins can’t move the football (did I mention how bad the offense is?). Matt Moore has been playing better as of late and it’s not like Dallas is playing stellar D today (especially in the secondary). Miami needs to take more shots downfield — the Cowboys are susceptible on the deep throws and the Dolphins could do a lot of damage if they take some chances and let Brandon Marshall get up and get the ball.

The way this game started, I figured the Cowboys would continue to shoot themselves in the foot, but instead it’s the Dolphins who are kicking themselves as they head into halftime. They weren’t able to take advantage of some primo field position at the start of the game and let the Cowboys off the hook (plus Shayne Graham missed a very makeable 47 yard field goal in the second quarter).

This game has become a defensive battle, but the real question is which offense do you have more faith in? Miami’s D has been able to hold on thus far, but for how much longer? One last thing: How can you talk about this game without mentioning DeMarco Murray — the rookie’s looking more and more like the real deal. If it wasn’t for him and that front seven, the Cowboys would be in a boat load of trouble.

– Laura Diakun

5:58: The best commercial on any football day

Whether it’s Thanksgiving Day, or just the regular weekly Sunday football marathon, at GLS our day isn’t complete until we’ve seen this commercial at least once, and CBS just showed it.

Sean Tomlinson

5:35: Wake up! Something just happened in the football game!

You’ll notice that we haven’t had much to say lately about Miami-Dallas. Probably because nothing has happened. Or I should say, nothing had happened…until Matt Moore fumbled a snap in his own territory that resulted in DeMarcus Ware recovering on the Miami 5-yard line with only 61 seconds left on the first-half clock.

One play later: touchdown Cowboys, Tony Romo to Laurent Robinson.

It was the first time in 231 plays that the Dolphins defense gave up a touchdown, but it’s hard to fault a D that was forced to go to work on its own 5-yard line. Tough break, but not overly surprising. This offense has been killing the defense all day.

And so Dallas leads 10-3 only seconds from halftime and what is sure to be a memorable performance from Enrique Iglesias (who books these people?).

– Brad Gagnon

5:10 And another programming note…

Our boy named Suh insists that he didn’t try to kick or hurt anyone earlier this afternoon. You see, we have it all wrong. Dead wrong, and Suh was kind enough to correct our misunderstanding during his post-game press conference.

“What I did was remove myself from the situation the best way that I felt in me being held down in the situation that I was in. My intentions were not to kick anybody, as I did not. (I was) removing myself, as you see, I’m walking away from the situation. And with that I apologize to my teammates, and my fans and my coaches for putting myself to be in position to be misinterpreted and taken out of the game.”

There’s more. There’s always more.

“I was on top of a guy being pulled down and trying to get up off the ground, which is why you see me pushing his helmet down. As I’m getting up, I’m getting pushed so I’m getting myself unbalanced. … With that a lot of people are going to interpret it as or create their own storylines, … but I know what I did, and the man upstairs knows what I did.”

Nope, he’s not done yet.

… If I see a guy stepping on somebody I feel like they’re going to lean into it and forcefully step on that person or stand over that person. I’m going in the opposite direction to where he’s at.”

This all seems only mildly logical and believable, just like the rest of Suh’s explanations. But the problem, Ndamukong, is that it’s not always our fault, and it’s not always our eyes deceiving us. This is now the fifth time your actions have been deemed questionable at best, and a blatant example of dirty play and poor sportsmanship at worst.

Eventually, this is on you, and just like the rest of us, the Packers think you’re full of crap.

Sean Tomlinson

5:00: We interrupt this program with an important yet vague announcement

– Brad Gagnon

4:55: We’re seeing the other Tony Romo tonight

You know, the one who enjoys throwing interceptions rapidly.

Despite his reputation as a fragile little flower during crunch time, Romo hadn’t thrown too many interceptions prior to today (7 picks, and 19 touchdowns). But his mistakes have come in bunches, with five of those seven picks coming in Dallas’ first four games. Romo then righted himself and threw just two interceptions over his next six games, but he’s followed that up with two already today in just one quarter of football.

Luckily, the Dolphins have been the Dolphins, a team that’s still 3-7 even though they’ve won three straight. Matt Moore still hasn’t led his team into the end zone despite routinely being handed prime field position by Romo so far, and Miami’s turned quick pickss into just three points.

The Dolphins started today’s game with just six defensive interceptions, which put them in the league’s basement (26th). They’ve now raised that total to eight, with six of those picks coming during their winning streak.

Sean Tomlinson

4:50: Is this enough to constitute evidence of malice?

Via Will Brinson.

– Brad Gagnon

4:40: Dolphins not executing with great field position

Miami has started between its own 42 and the 50 on its first two drives of the game, but the Cowboys defense has taken care of business against Brian Daboll’s very predictable offensive game plan and the Dolphins haven’t been able to take advantage of great field position.

On the road against a division leader, that’s not good. Apparently the Phins weren’t watching as Detroit failed to move the ball in Green Bay territory all afternoon in the early game. (Then again, what good would watching that do?)

This game is shaping up to be a defensive battle.

UPDATE: Another Romo interception (this time from Sean Smith) has the Dolphins’ offense going to work inside the 30 this time. Miami’s average start position thus far is the Dallas 44-yard line.

– Brad Gagnon

4:25: Miami defense keeps rolling

The Dolphins and Cowboys have both won three in a row, but Miami’s been a little stronger on defense while Dallas has won with its offense.

On the first series of today’s game, the Dolphins’ defense won the first battle. After Tony Romo completed his first two passes and the Cowboys converted two first downs to make some headway, Romo throw his first pick in 129 throws on a bad pass intended for Martellus Bennett. Although in Romo’s defense, Vontae Davis made one hell of a play to intercept it.

Regardless, the Dolphins have the early momentum, and good field position at Cowboys Stadium.

– Brad Gagnon

4:07: Dolphins vs. Cowboys: Brothers vs. Diakun

Our very own Laura Diakun is kind of a big Cowboys fan, but we allow her to work with us and be our friend in spite of that. Same goes for theScore’s Paul Brothers, who cheers for the Dolphins.

Fittingly, the hosts of Bet Night Live have made a friendly bet…

– Brad Gagnon

4:00: A not-so-brief history of the Lions sucking on Thanksgiving

The Lions have made a mockery of Thanksgiving football for long enough. This year, with Detroit at 7-3, things were supposed to be different. But they weren’t. They weren’t at all…

Nov. 25, 2004: Colts 41, Lions 9
Nov. 24, 2005: Falcons 27, Lions 7
Nov. 23, 2006: Dolphins 27, Lions 10
Nov. 22, 2007: Packers 37, Lions 26
Nov. 27, 2008: Titans 47, Lions 10
Nov. 26, 2009: Packers 34, Lions 12
Nov. 25, 2010: Patriots 45, Lions 24
Nov. 24, 2011: Packers 27, Lions 15

Average: Opponents 36, Lions 14

– Brad Gagnon

3:45: Packers 27, Lions 15 — Five things we learned

1. Detroit lacks discipline: They came into this game with 73 penalties, compared to Green Bay’s 49. And despite outplaying — or at least outgaining — the Packers for much of the afternoon, the Lions finished with 10 killer penalties. The worst, of course, was the one Ndamukong Suh took that cost his team four points in the third quarter. That was a game-changer.

2. It’s hard to play quarterback with a broken finger: After throwing just four interceptions in his first eight games, Matthew Stafford has now been picked off nine times in his last three games. He threw three picks today, leading to 17 Green Bay points.

3. The Green Bay defense is very beatable: Sure, they only surrendered 15 points, but the Packers D allowed the Lions to accumulate 409 yards of total offense, one week after giving up a ridiculous 455 yards to the Buccaneers. Had Kevin Smith not left early for Detroit, and had the Lions been able to finish drives and limit turnovers, the result of this game could have been very different.

4. It’s hard to play at 12:30 ET on three days’ rest: In addition to the 17 penalties and some big injuries, it was generally a sloppy game. The following players were hurt Thursday: Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk, Eric Walden for Green Bay; Smith, Corey Williams, Louis Delmas, Chris Houston, Aaron Berry, Brandon McDonald, Cliff Avril for Detroit (plus, Pat Lee was ejected for the Pack and Suh was ejected for Detroit).

5. The other winner today: Atlanta. The Falcons are fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC, and Detroit plays New Orleans next week. If the Saints win, the Falcons gain some serious ground in the wild-card race. If the Lions win, the Falcons gain some serious ground in the divisional race. Considering that Detroit might lose Suh to a suspension and the Bears are now without Jay Cutler, playoff spots in the NFC are wide open.

– Brad Gagnon

3:22: If it wasn’t clear already that the Lions are screwed…

Sean Tomlinson

3:05: A Motown tribute to Nickelback

A commenter below has passed along this fantastic Motown Nickelback mock. I’m really digging the energy of the tambourine man.

The video was created as a sort of compromise. Over 55,000 Detroit citizens signed a petition to make Nickelback go away. When that was ignored, Scott Bradlee Music decided to “create an alternative bound to make both sides happy.”

Sean Tomlinson

3:05: Well I guess we know what the Leafs are doing on their off day…

In NHL news, Toronto is in Dallas to face the Stars tomorrow night. But instead of practicing or working on the penalty kill, the team is taking in the Dolphins-Cowboys game later today. The NHL’s most valuable team cheering for the NFL’s most valuable team? I’m on board.

– Laura Diakun

3:00: VIDEO: Ndamukong Suh does his best Albert Haynesworth impression

– Brad Gagnon

2:55: And that does it from Detroit…

Mistakes killed the Lions today. That’s why we’re already able to eulogize them at 2:50 p.m. ET. Matthew Stafford wasn’t himself, the defense was crushed by injuries and penalties kept biting them in the ass.

As a result, the Packers now lead 21-0 with two touchdowns coming directly off of Stafford interceptions and the Lions are without Ndamukong Suh the rest of the way. Detroit has a high-powered offense, but this team is not coming back today.

As a result, the Packers will move to 11-0 and extend their winning streak to 17 games.

Stafford, who was picked off by Charles Woodson moments ago, now has three interceptions today and nine in his last three games.

We’ll give you the totals when the fat lady officially finishes singing, but the final numbers will likely favor Detroit in almost all statistical categories, save for two: penalties and turnovers.

Both of these teams are dangerous. The difference on Thanksgiving Thursday was that Green Bay was disciplined. Detroit was not.

UPDATE: Green Bay has added a field goal, again off of a Stafford pick. 24-zip. See ya next week.

– Brad Gagnon

2:48: Ndamukong Suh’s history of violence

Ndamukong Suh has been fined over $42,000, and he’s only just over halfway through his sophomore season. Back in August, I defended Suh after he was being heavily criticized for a preseason tussle with Jets center Nick Mangold. Now it’s becoming increasingly difficult to defend a player who plays with an intense aggression that’s made him one of the league’s most polarizing figures.

In fact, it’s impossible to defend Suh. His stomp was moronic, immature, and it displayed the kind of unchecked emotion that prompts casual fans to immediately pick up the clicker. On a day when the league is exposed to a much wider audience, Suh’s latest temper malfunction is under an especially large microscope.

In video form, here are a few reminders of why Suh’s actions are scrutinized far more intensely than most defensive players, a track record that goes back to his first preseason games last year.

Sean Tomlinson

2:35: Ndamukong Suh ejection could be the straw to break the Lions’ back

Despite being down to their last two healthy cornerbacks (Aaron Berry left early in the third quarter) and without two other defensive starters (Corey Williams and Louis Delmas were hurt in the first half), the Lions somehow managed to hold Green Bay and its five-receiver set in the red zone, forcing what would’ve been a chip-shot field goal to start the second half.

But then Ndamukong Suh did what Ndamukong Suh does best — he lost his cool. While tied up, Suh shoved and then stomped on (or around) the head of Evan Deitrich-Smith. It was a play that brought back memories of Albert Haynesworth stomping on Andre Gurode’s head (blurry video below), a play that produced an unprecedented eight-game suspension for Haynesworth back in 2006.

Suh was ejected, of course, and considering that he already has a spotty track record, I’d be shocked to see him avoid a suspension for this.

The penalty gave Green Bay an automatic first down, which turned into a touchdown and a 14-0 lead. Now, the injury-ravaged Lions are left without their best defensive player and a two-score deficit.

For Detroit, that juvenile act from Suh might have been a season-changing moment.

– Brad Gagnon

2:25: “The bad news is, the stage is stuck”

So we didn’t comment on Nickback’s halftime performance, because it was the only five minutes all afternoon that you’re in a better position than us if you’re not able to watch the live broadcast. It’s bad enough we had to watch, so we weren’t going to put you through that pain too.

The most hated yet somehow most successful Canadian rockers did more than just poison our ears with their generic yelping and ability to make Fran Drescher sound good. They wouldn’t go away, and they actually delayed the second half for a few minutes because the stage was stuck in the tunnel.

Joe Buck summed up the dire situation with the quote above, and as usual he did it with less excitement than a child opening up a box of clothes on Christmas morning.

Sean Tomlinson

2:22: With Smith and Best hurt, the Lions may have to use Jim Schwartz in the backfield…

– Brad Gagnon

2:20: Lions losing momentum on the ground without Smith

The Packers have only 86 yards of offense (!) but hold the 7-0 lead at halftime…hope you took the under. Both Brad and Sean have talked about how the Lions are self-destructing (injuries, penalties, missed field goals…oh my) but their offense just hasn’t looked the same since Kevin Smith went out with a lower leg injury early in the second quarter. When Smith left the ballgame, the Detroit rushing game was doing some serious damage, having put up 71 yards on the ground. Since then they have only 19 (although they’re still averaging 6.4 yards per carry).

Maurice Morris has to get going if Detroit has any chance of winning this game — the Lions are one of the worst rushing teams in the league (averaging just over 101 yards per game) and if they can’t establish the run, Matthew Stafford could be in for a long day. The Packers D leads the league with 19 interceptions this season (not including the pick by Clay Matthews today) and can force Stafford into making mistakes. Too much reliance on the passing game is never a good thing.

Something to keep an eye on in the second half.

– Laura Diakun

2:15: At least Stafford’s doing something interesting

Matthew Stafford is leading an offense that’s moving the ball with relative ease, but has been supremely disappointing in the red zone. Stafford’s already thrown nine incompletions and a key, momentum-turning interception.

But he’s doing one thing right, and maybe it’s just a product of the constant pressure he’s faced from the Green Bay front seven. If you’re streaming this game illegally online at work, you heard Joe Buck mention that Stafford’s 22-yard scramble in the second quarter was a career-long. Taking that further, on one play Stafford accounted for 12 percent of his career rushing yards, as prior to that run he only have 152 yards on the ground.

He’s also just seven yards shy of establishing a new career single-game high in rushing yards.

Sean Tomlinson

2:03: First half dominated by Detroit everywhere but the scoreboard

Total yards: Lions 218, Packers 86

First downs: Lions 11, Packers 6

Third-down conversions: Lions 3, Packers 0

One costly turnover, a ridiculous eight penalties and a few injuries got in the way, and the Lions trail by seven. And had it not been for a Tramon Williams drop on a potential pick six, it’d probably be 14-0 Packers.

Hope you didn’t take the over, because you’ll need 49 points in the second half to cover that number.

– Brad Gagnon

1:53: On four trips into Green Bay territory, Detroit has zero points

Jason Hanson just missed a 47-yard field goal attempt, marking the fourth time the Lions have crossed midfield only to settle for nothing. You get the feeling the Packers are going to make the Lions and their depleted defense pay.

UPDATE: They had a chance to do exactly that in the final minute of the half, especially after Kyle Vanden Bosch took a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty, but two Green Bay holding penalties destroyed their chance to add points before halftime and the Packers were forced to punt. Green Bay had just 86 yards of offense in the first half.

– Brad Gagnon

1:45: Harry Potter was inspired by Greg Jennings

Or maybe it’s the other way around, and Jennings learned how to make touchdown catches like the one he just made at Hogwarts, and not Western Michigan as we’ve been led to believe.

(NSFW language, so throw in the headphones if the boss is around)

Sean Tomlinson

1:40: Injuries and penalties have finally hurt the Lions on the scoreboard

After a Matthew Stafford interception (you can’t give these guys a short field!) Brandon McDonald took a pass interference penalty on Greg Jenning in the end zone, leading to a Jennings touchdown from the 1-yard line. McDonald, who was beat in both cases by Jennings, wouldn’t have been in that spot had it not been for the injury suffered on the previous series by Chris Houston.

– Brad Gagnon

1:35: The story so far: Injuries and penalties

The Lions have now lost three players to injury in less than 25 minutes of football. As Tomlinson mentioned, Kevin Smith is hurt, but Detroit is also down two defensive backs. Safety Louis Delmas and cornerback Chris Houston went down on the last series, but Detroit was able to stop the Packers’ offense without two starting defensive backs. (Although it should be noted that corner Eric Wright got away with a holding penalty on third down.) Corey Williams is apparently also hurt for Detroit.

Also hurting the Lions: they’ve been penalized seven times for a total of 63 yards. Green Bay has taken just two penalties.

All of these injuries and all of those penalties. You’d swear both teams are a little tired. Maybe that has something to do with the short rest. Just throwing it out there…

– Brad Gagnon

1:26: So it looks like Kevin Smith really is hurt and he left the field on a cart

That’s the second-worst way to leave a football field, with the worst of course being on a stretcher. Smith seemed to be hurt earlier in the first quarter, but then he promptly returned and Lions fans breathed a sigh of relief when they learned–or at least thought they learned–that he only had an equipment problem.

Now it’s clear that he has a bone and/or muscle problem, and he left the field after an early second-quarter play unable to put much pressure on his right leg. Laura noted earlier how effective Smith had been in just the first quarter, accounting for 28 of Detroit’s first 39 yards. Smith was the hot hand and the inspirational story coming into this game after he torched Carolina for 201 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns last week only days after being signed.

It’s unclear how serious Smith’s injury is, and right now it’s very fluid. He went to the locker room, was examined, he just came running back out of the tunnel to the Rocky theme song. Alright, I made that last part up, but he’s obviously hobbled by a nagging injury that could affect his performance throughout the rest of this game.

Sean Tomlinson

1:10: Packers defense takes a hit

Bishop’s an underrated linebacker. He’s having a breakout year with five sacks and 93 tackles. His backup, D.J. Smith, is a rookie sixth-round pick out of Appalachian State. (Which probably means he has good memories of playing in the state of Michigan.)

UPDATE: Good start for Smith,who forced Maurice Morris into a 15-yard penalty on his first full series. Meanwhile, penalties continue to kill the Detroit offense.

– Brad Gagnon

1:02: Penalties killing the Lions

Despite some wayward throws from Stafford, the Lions have been moving the ball well via short passes and Kevin Smith runs. But they have zero points on the scoreboard thanks in part to three penalties that have cost them 30 yards. Two were holding penalties; one was an illegal use of hands. The penalties combined with three bad would-be first down passes from Stafford have killed the Lions.

You can’t afford to make those mistakes against Green Bay.

– Brad Gagnon

12:58: And we have video evidence of the #anthemfail

Where’s Maurice Cheeks when you need him?

(Via Jose 3030)

Sean Tomlinson

12:53: Another slow start for Matthew Stafford

For the second week in a row, Matt Stafford is limping out of the gate. Stafford overthrew the hell out of Titus Young on his first pass of the game and missed a wide-open Calvin Johnson later in the drive.

Last week Stafford threw three picks in the first half, forcing many to wonder if he was being affected by a broken index finger on his throwing hand. But then he was lights-out in the second half as the Lions stormed back to beat Carolina.

But based on those two terrible passes on Detroit’s opening drive, I’m starting to think it simply takes time for Stafford to get used to the injury every time he takes the field. If that’s the case, he’d better warm up quickly.

On the bright side, the Lions forced the Pack to punt after two quick first downs on their initial drive.

– Brad Gagnon

12:49: Kevin Smith keeps tearing it up

Kevin Smith fantasy owners must have big smiles on their faces already!

The Lions didn’t get any points on their opening drive, but Smith was a beast accounting for 28 of Detroit’s 39 yards (14 pass, 14 rush). And it would’ve been better had a holding penalty not cost him a 16-yard run. The back might be proving that last week’s game wasn’t a fluke (140 yards on the ground, 61 through the air and two touchdowns) and maybe Green Bay’s defense is going to have its hands full this afternoon.

– Laura Diakun

12:33: Botched anthem alert!

Thanksgiving day is rough on the nerves for regular folk who have to face the in-laws, but try singing the national anthem on national TV. Lauren Alaina, the anthem signer in Detroit who was a runner-up on last season’s American idol, stumbled, stopped signing entirely for a few seconds, and fumbled the words.

Of course, the reaction on Twitter was quick and harsh…

Somewhere out there Christina Aguilera is smiling as she reaches for another helping of cranberry sauce…

Sean Tomlinson

12:27: You don’t have to watch Nickelback at halftime

Oh, hello there, and welcome to one of best days of the year, the day that you can pretend to work while actually watching football. In this day of new-fangled mobile technology and other such gadgets the kids are carrying around, you can cleverly conceal the game in your desk drawer, or maybe you should just take a lunch hour nap right now underneath your desk. Just make sure no one calls in a bomb threat.

Anywho, we just thought we should make a public service announcement of sorts, and inform you that there’s another option at halftime that doesn’t involve the worst of Canadiana. Unfortunately, Nickelback is still playing the halftime show in Detroit, and as a Canadian I’d like to sincerely apologize for ruining Thanksgiving across America.

But there is an alternative, as soul singer Mayor Hawthorne is performing live from his living room. I’m not cool enough to even know who that is, but I’ll take a half hour show by the Muppets over Nickelback.

– Sean Tomlinson

12:25: Adorable, yes…

But why is she wearing a hat with a Packers logo while wearing the Lions logo on her left cheek? What kind of lessons are we teaching our children? Or were these cute youngsters planted in the crowd by the NFL? Maybe they aren’t real fans. Maybe, they aren’t even real kids. Maybe, I’m still readjusting after reading this book.

– Brad Gagnon

12:15: Are the Lions built to beat the Packers?

Remember, Detroit beat Green Bay at home last December. The Lions were the last NFC team to defeat the Pack, who have won 13 straight against their own conference. But the Lions didn’t have Matthew Stafford and Green Bay didn’t have Aaron Rodgers in that Detroit win at Ford Field last year, and both teams have improved drastically. The Packers are a four-point favorite right now, but that number was about two points higher earlier in the week.

GLS took the Packers by three today, 30-27. Here are our full Thanksgiving picks.

– Brad Gagnon

12:05: And in other news…

Packers-Lions hasn’t started yet, and we’re starting to fall asleep to the sound of Curt Menefee’s voice. Or is that James Brown? Whatever, all that matters is we’ve been distracted by an injury that has taken place 600 miles from Detroit…

– Brad Gagnon

12:00 p.m. ET: Alphonso Smith can’t hurt the Lions today

As you might recall, cornerback Alphonso Smith embarrassed himself and the entire Lions organization with an abysmal performance in last year’s Thanksgiving game. Just one example:

Well, good news, Lions fans. Smith is healthy but inactive today, which an indication that this Detroit defense has improved since last year’s debacle against the Patriots. The Lions are a lot better off with Chris Houston, Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald in the defensive backfield.

And as expected, Jahvid Best (concussion) is inactive again for the Lions. We’ll see what Kevin Smith can do to follow up a 200-yard performance in Week 11.

Oh, and James Starks is active for the Pack. He and Ryan Grant will work in tandem again.

– Brad Gagnon

Comments (11)

  1. That anthem fail wasn’t bad. Hard to pile on. She didn’t technically make a mistake, just delayed. And song badly lol.

  2. Lions too many penalties. Six now? And now no smith. Can’t be one dimensional against these guys. No chance.

  3. Detroit will win this game. Simply look like the better team.

  4. Or not… Samford.

  5. Sean lee is a BEAST, eh? He doesn’t get enough love still. Still!

  6. I thought Joe Buck was going to put us asleep. Nope: Cowboys and Dolphins will do the trick.

  7. I like the part about the Leafs

  8. Suh is dirty awesome

  9. Suh is [strike]dirty[/strike] awesome

  10. Getting them back is simple

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