Much like Michigan, maybe it’s worth taking an early look in the mirror instead of rolling through the season with mistakes uncorrected. In my humble opinion, Matthew Stafford is doing a better job calling plays for the Detroit Lions than the coaches are.
We managed to win at home against a mildly talented Jacksonville Jaguars team despite rushing for only 14 yards. And Theo Riddick and the backup Washington didn’t play poorly, but the play calling never seemed to open up anything for them. Finally, in the fourth quarter, we put together a complete drive to eat up most the clock and kick a field goal for the final 26-19 lead. When we just let Stafford manage the situation, like at the end of the first half in a two-minute drill, he seems to hit backs out of the backfield, find guys over the middle for easy first downs. But the coaches can never find a rhythm, despite benefiting from a defense that constantly held the Jaguars despite them starting with excellent field position.
Our punt returner fumbled one early on that led to an early 3-0 hole. But he more than redeemed himself by taking one to the house, where after we missed the XP, we led 6-3. Jacksonville would score on our tired defense but also miss their extra point to lead 9-6. Stafford led that last-second first half drive to tie the game at halftime. The Lions began the 3rd quarter with a tipped ball interception that they returned for a touchdown to lead 16-9. They held the Jaguars to a field goal on the ensuing possession for a 16-12 lead.
But our offense went no where. Forced to keep defending, we surrendered the go-ahead touchdown to trail 19-16. There it sat in the 4th quarter until Stafford stepped up and found Eric Ebron down the sideline for the near score. Ebron ran it in for the touchdown and the eventual winning play. The defense intercepted Blake Bortles again to end the game after they’d ran out of timeouts.
Look, no one will remember Golden Tate III fumbling away the game in the 4th. They will remember the fourth and one where our quarterback drew the defense offsides to keep the clock moving. He is our lord and savior, the reason we are winning all those close games: #9.