How bad was that roughing the passer call?
I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the worst calls I’ve seen while watching football, at any level, over my lifetime. I didn’t have a problem with the lack of a face-guarding call on Anthony Hitchens in the playoff loss at Dallas. And I could even understand how the refs could make a case for the complete-the-process-of-the-catch call against Calvin Johnson. But this? There seemed to be no evidence to indicate Tracy Walker did anything but tackle Kirk Cousins for a fourth-down stop. Instead, the Vikings got a fresh set of downs and came away with six points courtesy of terrible officiating. I don’t believe the NFL or the referees have it out for the Lions. But I sometimes think they see players wearing Honolulu Blue and Silver and instinctively don’t give them the benefit of the doubt on questionable plays.
What did you think of the Lions’ historically bad defense?
It was terrible, all right. The 37 points allowed to the Vikings meant the Lions allowed 519 points this season, breaking the franchise record of 517 set in 2008. But I hope history remembers this accurately and doesn’t pin it all on Matt Patricia. Yeah, I understand Patricia will go down as a big, awful meanie who didn’t play music at practice and yelled at players in meetings. So mean! But it’s important to remember that while Patricia’s defense was bad, it wasn’t historically bad. When he was fired after 11 games, the Lions’ defense allowed 29.8 points per game under Patricia. In the final five games, the Lions allowed 38.2 points per game. That’s part of the price of firing a coach and a general manager during the season. The defense looked a lot more disorganized, a lot less disciplined and a lot worse in its fundamentals after Patricia was axed.
Was this Matthew Stafford’s last game as a Lion?
I sure hope so. For his sake and ours. Give the guy kudos for gutting it out and fighting through his ankle, rib and thumb (and who knows what else?) injuries. His effort was great and his performance was fine. But this was more of a showcase for Stafford to show the incoming regime — but more likely other teams — that he’s still valuable. He had a decent game and finished the season with 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. That’s good. But not great. And the Lions needed Stafford to have a great season to make up for deficiencies on defense. Maybe it was unfair to ask that much of Stafford. But it’s what this team needed, and likely what this team will need in the immediate future as it goes through a rebuild. At this point in Stafford’s career, he probably needs to join a team that can succeed with Stafford being good more often than he’s great.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions robbed by one of the worst calls ever vs. Vikings