Earth to the Detroit Lions: Time to sit battered QB Matthew Stafford for final two games
Free Press sports journalist Carlos Monarrez answers three questions after the Detroit Lions' 46:25 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium:
Should Matthew Stafford play again this season?
No. Now that the Lions are officially banned from the playoff hunt and suffered a 21-point loss to the Tennessee Titans tied for their worst loss of the season, can someone please be an adult and the Lions' ailing quarterback say he has nothing left to prove? And please, spare me any Herm Edwards "You play to win the game" nonsense. The season is over. Let's have the decency and the intelligence to avoid further harming an important player. Stafford won't get Wally Pipped from Chase Daniel. And he's not going to help interim coach Darrell Bevell win the job. I could understand playing Stafford for continuity if those coaching staff came back, but they're not. It will be a house cleaning. Stafford will be a key pawn for the new regime in 2021. Does anyone really want them to go into the off-season to recover from a thumb injury, a rib injury, and god knows what if Ndamukong Suh gets his hands - and feet - on them on Saturday?
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How bad is this defense?
It is not good. But don't let the scoreboard fool you. The battered and understaffed defense actually held it together and gave the Lions a chance to win. The Lions defense kept Tennessee goalless in the third quarter and the Titans only took the lead 24-18. Yes, Tennessee scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, but two touchdown rides began at the Detroit 34 and 45 after the Lions were forced to go broke with a failed false punt and a failed onside kick. The Titans had 463 yards of attack and converted 9 of 11 third downs for a whopping 82% rate. But Romeo Okwara had a security and his eighth sack and the Lions kept Derrick Henry under 150 rushing yards. That might seem like a small consolation, but without key players like Trey Flowers, Danny Shelton, and Desmond Trufant, you have to do the defense the credit of keeping the game as close as possible.
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What would you like to see in the last two games?
I give Bevell and his staff the honor of having done as much as possible in the last three games and keeping the team competitive. The play-calling wasn't always successful, but at least it was creative with fleas, passes to the quarterback, false punts, and tight finals. I would love to see the likes of Quintez Cephus and Jamal Agnew become a bigger part of the game on the offensive and maybe throw a few more lightning bolts at Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins. And with nothing left to play this season, I'd definitely love to give Matt Prater the chance to kick a 65-yarder to break his own record for the longest kick in NFL history.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions were posted to Matthew Stafford for the last two games
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