With the lead in the divisional title race on the line, the Detroit Lions frustratingly fell short, succumbing to a late field goal and losing to the Baltimore Ravens 18-16. With the Bears (8-6) and Packers (7-6-1) winning, Detroit fell to 3rd in the division at 7-7. I hate to say it, but it seems the Lions are collapsing and letting this once-potentially-great season slip through their fingers.
#1 Matthew Stafford’s lack of quality play
In a game that had huge playoff implications, for Stafford to go 18 of 34, with just one TD and three INTs, is just awful play. In between the opening drive and the final TD pass, Stafford was throwing duck after duck. In the last five games, Stafford has been responsible for 12 turnovers (10 INTs and 2 fumbles). Can you really see him leading this team on a playoff push? Let’s imagine that the Lions do end up hosting a playoff game. Does Stafford’s play make you think they could hang with the Panthers or 49ers? I don’t think so. Forget about the lack of results. The lack of quality play at the quarterback position makes you think that Stafford and this coaching staff haven’t got long together.
#2 Schwartz’s seat is getting warmer and warmer
This is a team that sweeps the Bears and loses to the Bucs and Steelers. The inconsistency of the team’s performances, the numerate turnovers in the last five games, the defense’s collapse against Philadelphia and the lack of results all point to there being problems in the coaching staff. If the Lions don’t manage to turn this season around, then the poor 2nd half of the season has followed on from last year’s eight-game skid and accountability must be placed at the Head Coach position. This is Schwartz’s fifth season and is currently a combined 29-49. There must be a number of coaching names who would be willing to take on the talent available and make an aim for a championship.
#3 The defense kept us in this one
Ray Rice and co were held to a combined 90 rushing yards which is a return to form after the disastrous showing in Philadelphia. To not concede a touchdown is a good showing from the defense, especially with Stafford throwing it to guys in purple shirts 3 times.
#4 The Lions still have weapons
His dancing aside, I love the play of rookie Joseph Fauria. He has made some ludicrous grabs this season, including the TD grab which could have won the game for the Lions. It was also clear the impact that Reggie Bush has on this offense and how much he was missed last week.
#5 The Lions could still make the playoffs
The games against New York and Minnesota now become must-wins and either the Bears or Packers or both must lose this Sunday. Should the Bears beat the Eagles and the Packers beat the Steelers in week 16, then the Lion’s season is over.