Lions coach Jim Schwartz was due. You can only lose for a year and a half before the natives start getting restless and you start getting criticized like the previous four Lions coaches since Wayne Fontes left town.
(Fontes finished his Lions career at 66-67, which qualifies him for Sainthood in Detroit.)
The headline on MLive.com: “Schwartz conjuries memories of Marty Mornhinweg, Bobby Ross with third-down pass.”
The call in question was a bootleg throw on third-and-six by Drew Stanton to fullback Jerome Felton with just under two minutes left. If the Lions just ran the ball, the Jets would received a punt down by three points with around 1:15 left instead of 1:54 left in the game.
Stanton is a pro quarterback in his fourth season. The play
wasn’t there. It wasn’t even close to being there and the Lions wouldn’t have picked up a first down if complete. Throwing that pass is worse than voluntarily going out of bounds, and we blame that mistake on the player.
Stanton clearly isn’t that trustworthy to make good decisions. But this was easy. We’ll admit perhaps the bootleg was too predictable.
“We were making sure we were alert for the boot,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said.
But we can’t completely eviscerate Schwartz for the play call because he was trying to win the game.
There’s no rule that says the Lions can’t stop the Jets in the two minute drill or in overtime. And there’s certainly no rule that says the Jets couldn’t have tied the game anyway without the extra time. (In fact, the Jets were already in field goal range with 40 seconds left.)
It was a crushing loss, made so much worse because of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s injury. (Not to mention kicker Jason Hanson.) Schwartz deserves credit for having a Lions team ready to dominate big, bad Jets for 55 minutes.
Playing not to lose because you don’t trust your players is what old Lions coaches would have done.