With 1:13 left in the fourth quarter of the Detroit Lions' 24-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers, frustration finally seemed to boil over for a 4-6 team that expected better things this season. The 2011 Lions finished 10-6, grabbed the franchise's first playoff berth since 1999, and many thought that this team had enough talent to take things to the next level.
It hasn't happened, and near the end of another disappointing performance, receivers coach Shawn Jefferson and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had a heated discussion on the sideline. Or, we should say, Jefferson let off some steam while Linehan appeared to be paying a lot of attention to something far off in the distance.
The Lions had just failed to score from the Packers 10-yard line after two failed runs and a third-down pass attempt to receiver Titus Young. The Lions made no attempt to throw to Calvin Johnson on the final sequence of plays.
"I'd rather not go into it," head coach Jim Schwartz said about the blowup after the game. "Everybody was disappointed in not being able to score a touchdown on that last drive."
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said he didn't know what the argument was about. He then had to answer questions about a Lions offense in disarray.
"Disarray is probably not the right word," Stafford said. "Coming into this week, we were the No. 2 offense in the league, so if that's disarray, then OK. But obviously [we] just didn't play our best against a good football team and didn't come out with a win."
Stafford admitted that a breaking point would be understandable.
"Yeah, it's frustrating. Obviously to have spurts of playing good and then just not being able to be consistent enough with it. That's the biggest thing. Gave them seven points on our offense, which isn't good ever. Lose the turnover battle against a good team like that, it's going to be tough."
Johnson caught just five passes on 11 targets for 143 yards and a touchdown. Last Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, he seemed to have a return to last season's form with 12 catches for 207 yards and a score, but the Stafford-Johnson hookup has only combined for those two touchdowns all season.
"We've all been there," Johnson said of the lack of consistency in Detroit's passing offense. "We've seen all of this happen, so we should be able to bounce back from that. It shouldn't be a problem. As for whatever happened on the sidelines, as far as coaches arguing. I don't know. You'll have to ask those guys that question."
Yet another unanswered question for a team with far too many of them.
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