Detroit Lions sink to new low as Matthew Stafford hurt: 'We got our pride crushed today'
They started the day with their third head coach of the season and ended it with their third quarterback. In between, the Detroit Lions suffered years of defeat - one that was nowhere near as close as even the one-sided 47: 7 final would suggest.
Tom Brady completed 22 of 27 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprised a Lions team that played without five coaches due to COVID-19 protocols, five defensive starters due to injuries and without starting quarterback Matthew Stafford after sustaining an ankle injury early in the first quarter.
"We kicked our bums today and it's no fun," said quarterback Chase Daniel, who played most of the game in Stafford's absence. “I feel a little for (the coaches). I wish we could at least come out offensively and help them a bit, but we couldn't. "
Detroit Lions quarterback Chase Daniel will be fired at Ford Field by linebacker Devin White of Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of Saturday, December 26, 2020.
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Stafford injured his right ankle in game three when he rolled it awkwardly and tried to pull away from the flashing Bucs linebacker Devin White, and spent most of the remainder of the game watching Brady and the Bucs make the shorthanded defense of Lions destroyed.
Brady led five touchdown runs in six series of the first half and got a perfect passing rating of 158.3 before graciously making room for Blaine Gabbert early in the third quarter.
The Bucs (10-5) set franchise records for points (34), yards (410) and yards (341) in the first half, while the Lions (5-10) spent the afternoon riding their bikes on either side to spin the ball.
With Daniel and David Blough replacing Stafford, and quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan, who played for the failing interim coach Darrell Bevell, the Lions went 1:10 on their third losses and didn't cross midfield on offense until 2:16 p.m. the game, scoring their only points on a 74-yard punt return from Jamal Agnew in the third quarter.
"I've been beaten like this before, very few in between, and it's never fun," said Daniel. "It's what we do for a living. It's a game, but it's what we do for a living. It's our pride. We put our pride down today."
As incompetent as the Lions were offensively, they were bad at defense.
[Tom Brady did something against the Lions that no other QB did]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) celebrate a touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in the first half of Saturday, December 26, 2020.
Brady could have challenged Norm Van Brocklin's record of 554 yards in one game if he was allowed to play a quarter more, and Gabbert, who had attempted a pass since the start of the 2019 season, previously made two touchdown runs at Bucs in the third quarter Trainer Bruce Arians took his foot off the gas.
Gabbert threw his first touchdown pass 10 seconds into the second half, one game after D'Andre Swift lost a fumble, and finished the 8v14 game for 133 yards when Tampa Bay beat the Lions, 588 yards to 186 , overtaken to win it first playoff spot since 2007.
"A loss like this is terrible," said Everson Griffen. “They came out, they played well, they have guns, Tom Brady played great. Hats off to him. We just have to keep fighting like us. "
Losing three games in a row and five of their last six games, the Lions take on the Minnesota Vikings next week with the look of a team that just wants the season to end.
Bevell, one of five Lions coaches classified as high risk close contact with a confirmed COVID positive, is expected to end his five-day quarantine Sunday and be back on the sidelines next week.
He and his colleagues, quarantine defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, defensive coach Bo Davis, linebacker coach Ty McKenzie, and second coach Steve Gregory participated in the schedule for the week but were not allowed to have contact with the team or their coaches as soon as the game started.
Wide Receivers coach Robert Prince acted as head coach on Saturday, Ryan called offensive games from the booth, and Evan Rothstein, an assistant coach who worked primarily on special projects and analysis during his nine seasons in Detroit, called defensive games. Neither Ryan nor Rothstein had named plays at any point in their careers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions players enter a nudge match during the Lions 47-7 loss on Saturday, December 26, 2020 at Ford Field. Jason Pierre-Paul (90) is in the center of the crowd.
[You have just seen one of the worst Lions performances ever]
Rothstein, who was moving through the press box before kick-off, gave a reporter a thumbs up when asked if he was ready and said, "Another day to work."
Rothstein and the Lions almost left the field in the first series of the game, but Griffen jumped offside to void a Jahlani Tavai sack. Brady threw his first touchdown pass four games later to Rob Gronkowski.
"There's no doubt that their discipline - or lack of them - has helped us tremendously," said Arians. "It was exactly what we needed."
Stafford, who played with rib and thumb injuries, stayed for a game after an ankle injury but went to Danny Amendola after a brief pass, forced a Lions punt, and spent the next few minutes chatting with doctors and coaches on the Lions sideline hold true.
Unable to put weight on his right foot, Stafford jumped his left leg into the tunnel behind the Lions bench as Brady Mike Evans gave his second touchdown pass of the game a 13-0 lead.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford injured his right ankle during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, December 26, 2020 at Ford Field.
Returning to the Lions sideline late in the first half with a badly glued right foot, Stafford carefully walked into midfield to meet Brady after the game and now awaits a new head coach and general manager tandem to determine his future in Detroit becomes.
Daniel finished the 13-on-18 game for 86 yards while Blough, who played for most of the fourth quarter, was 6-on-10 for 49 yards, intercepting the Lions once.
Evans had 10 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns for the Bucs, who also received two touchdowns from Gronkowski and one each from Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette and Chris Godwin.
"I think across the board, no one is sorry, no one cares about us being coaches or whatever," said Blough. "It's the situation we're in. We're supposed to go out there and produce, so it's frustrating, the performance we're doing, but we keep working. They go back to work and keep learning. That's all , what you can." do in this game and in this league. "
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions Sink To New Low: "We Put Down Our Pride Today"
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