Not Again: Stafford left the game with a shoulder injury
The Lions are a young and inexperienced team which has been the cause of a lot of the team’s mistakes this season, however the Lions loss falls squarely on the coaching staff and a “seasoned” veteran. The Lions had a 20-10 lead over the overmatched Jets, but the lead trickled away and the game unravelled after the loss of Matthew Stafford.
The Lions dominated the Jets in every phase of the game until late in the 4th quarter. Matthew Stafford played brilliantly throwing touchdowns to Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson and then running one in himself. The defense shut down the Jets running game and had Mark Sanchez and the passing game out of sync.
Earlier in the game the Lions got a second chance in the redzone because of a roughing the kicker penalty on Trevor Pryce. When Pryce “fell” into Jason Hanson (despite not being pushed) he took out Hanson’s knee and Hanson had to leave the game. The Lions got an automatic first down and scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. However, Hanson wasn’t able to kick the extra point so Ndamukong Suh attempted the PAT and hit the right upright. Instead of an 4 point lead the Lions only went up 13-10.
I am curious as to what constitutes a late hit on Matthew Stafford because the Jets were hitting him after the ball was out a lot today. On one of the blatant late hits, Stafford aggravated his shoulder and it was visibly bothering him for the rest of the game. With just under seven minutes left in the game Stafford scrambled and re-injured his shoulder as he was tackled. Drew Stanton came into the game and couldn’t muster a game ending first down in his two drives.
The first major coaching mistake came on the Lions’ final drive of the game. With the Lions facing third and six with 2:00 left the Lions ran a play action pass that fell incomplete and stopped the clock when the Jets were out of timeouts. I don’t question the coaches for calling the pass, but I do question why it wasn’t made clear to Stanton that if he couldn’t get a simple completion to make sure he took a sack. By throwing an incomplete pass, Stanton stopped the clock which prevented the Lions from running 4o seconds off before punting. Instead of the Jets getting the ball back with 1:40 on the clock, they would have gotten it back with 1:00.
Julian Peterson made the next epic mistake by getting a senseless unnecessary roughness call on Tomlinson and gave the Jets 15 free yards. Peterson is the most veteran player on the defense and when rookies and second year players were making heads up plays, it is inexcusable that a leader like Peterson makes a stupid play like that.
The Lions had plenty of opportunities to beat the Jets, and in truth the Lions were the better team today. The Lions just can’t seem to get out of their own way and it cost them a chance to get back into the playoff picture.