Blaming Matthew Stafford for the Detroit Lions fourth-quarter woes is becoming tiresome.
It doesn’t seem to make much sense, but here we are again with this blame Matthew Stafford for everything carousel. It has been said many times, the two most challenging jobs in Detroit sports is playing quarterback for the Detroit Lions or goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings. The athletes in these positions need to be strong-minded and avoid the social media punching-bag.
Maybe that’s why Matthew Stafford leaves all of the social media things to his wife, Kelly. During the offseason, when Kelly is taking a video of Matt, you can tell he isn’t usually too thrilled about it unless he’s winning a beer-chugging contest.
He’s best to stay off all of the social media platforms, so he doesn’t happen to read all of the toxic messages that come along with it.
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I don’t quite understand how half of Detroit Lions fans point blame towards Stafford for the franchises’ inability to turn the corner. You realize he can only do so much, right? He’s never had anything more than an average running game at his disposal. Sure he was able to play with one of the best receivers in league history, and the pair posted incredible numbers, but the two were the entire offense.
When the offense was humming along, the defense was faltering. It’s been an organization that has struggled to have strength across their entire roster at the same time, hence why they have yet to win a playoff game since 1991. That doesn’t even seem possible, but here we are, and I’ve got news for you, it’s not Stafford’s fault.
We know the Lions lack of success, let’s not go year by year on this again; it is exhausting. But looking back to last season, through eight games before the season-ending injury, Stafford had been on pace to throw for 5,000 yards and nearly 40 touchdowns, which would have led the league. If you look at Detroit’s lack of success and come to the conclusion that Stafford was the issue, I can’t help you. The entire defense could not slow a plastic paper bag blowing in the wind, and that behind a defensive-minded head coach.
The same issues have spilled over into week one of the 2020 season. Matt Patricia’s defense allowed 21 unanswered points on just 15 offensive plays, and somehow Mitchell Trubisky looked like Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter of the football game.
Through the first three-quarters of the game, Detroit’s defense had been playing much more aggressively despite the same awful ‘bend don’t break’ philosophy, and I believe defensive coordinator Cory Undlin had been calling the plays. At crunch time in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Patricia defense from a year ago, and we may never know, but I’d bet Patricia became much more involved in the scheme and play-calling in that fourth quarter.
With a ten-point lead, Patricia opted to send out Matt Prater for a 55-yard field goal attempt that missed. Prater has the leg to convert the kick, that is not a dispute, but it comes to strategy and making the right coaching decisions.
The right move would be pinning Chicago deep, forcing them to drive the entire field, burning plenty of additional time off of the clock, and if they score, the Lions would still be up by a score. At that point in the game, the difference from being ahead 10 or 13 wasn’t nearly as significant as missing a field goal and giving Chicago the ball at mid-field.
The Patricia apologists will continue to find excuses, whether it is injuries or Stafford, rather than admit the Detroit coaching is sub-par. The Detroit Lions have blown a whopping 11 fourth-quarter leads over the course of two seasons and a game with Matt Patricia as the teams’ head coach. Let’s start pointing the finger there.
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And if you are one of these people that want too, and will continue to rub mud onto Stafford’s name, he did everything in his power to win that week one matchup, and he put what would have been the game-winning pass right on the money.