Earth to the Detroit Lions: Time to sit battered QB Matthew Stafford for final two games

Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read

Free Press sports writer 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 eliminated from the playoff hunt and suffered a 21-point defeat to the Tennessee Titans that ties for their worst loss this season, can someone please be a grownup and tell the Lions’ battered quarterback 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 intelligence to avoid risking further injury to an important player. Stafford isn’t going to get Wally Pipped by Chase Daniel. And he’s not going to help interim coach Darrell Bevell win the job. I could understand playing Stafford for continuity’s sake if this coaching staff were coming back, but they aren’t. It’s going to be a house cleaning. Stafford will be an important chess piece in 2021 for the new regime. Does anyone really want him heading into the offseason recovering from a thumb injury, a rib injury and God knows what else if Ndamukong Suh gets his hands – and feet – on him Saturday?

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How bad is this defense?

It isn’t good. But don’t be fooled by the scoreboard. The battered and shorthanded defense actually held it together and gave the Lions a chance to win. The Lions’ defense held Tennessee scoreless in the third quarter and the Titans entered the fourth quarter leading only, 24-18. Yes, Tennessee scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, but two touchdown drives started at the Detroit 34 and 45 after the Lions were forced to go for broke with a failed fake punt and a failed onside kick. The Titans had 463 yards of offense and converted 9-of-11 third downs for a whopping 82% rate. But Romeo Okwara had a safety and his eighth sack and the Lions held Derrick Henry under 150 rushing yards. Those might seem like small consolations, but without key players like Trey Flowers, Danny Shelton and Desmond Trufant, you have to give the defense credit for keeping the game as close as it was for so long.

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What would you like to see in the final two games?

I’ll give Bevell and his staff credit for doing as much as they could over the past three game and keeping the team competitive. The play-calling hasn’t always been successful, but at least it has been creative with flea-flickers, passes to the quarterback, fake punts and tight end runs. I would like to see guys like Quintez Cephus and Jamal Agnew become a bigger part of the game plan on offense and maybe some more blitzes to throw at Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins. And with nothing else left to play for this season, I would definitely like to see Matt Prater get a chance to kick a 65-yarder to break his own record for longest kick in NFL history.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions should sit battered Matthew Stafford for final two games