Lions Takeaways: Detroit’s Backup Quarterback Disaster Catches Up

Jeff Driskel Matthew Stafford

Getty Jeff Driskel and Matthew Stafford.

The Detroit Lions were dealt a deathblow before the game even kicked off against the Chicago Bears when it was revealed quarterback Matthew Stafford would be missing the action with injury.

Things didn’t exactly get better from there. Throughout an inconsistent first half, the Detroit offense moved the ball at times without Stafford, but made enough critical mistakes that they could not take advantage of some field position they had.

Chicago, meanwhile, surged ahead before halftime and managed two more touchdowns from Mitch Trubisky on the afternoon. In spite of a general meltdown in the second half from the Bears’ offense and a late touchdown from Kenny Golladay, the Bears were able to put away the win fairly easy, even after a last minute push by Detroit fell just short.

Detroit went down 20-13 and at 3-5-1, their season is beginning to spiral out of control a bit. Here’s a look at some of the other lessons from today’s game.

That’s What the Lions Get for Ignoring Backup Quarterback

Detroit only scored 13 points in a winnable game on the road in November after they lost their starting quarterback. While it’s not a surprise the team lost the game minus an elite player, the fact that they did not have a better option than the inconsistent Jeff Driskel is a bit frustrating. Bob Quinn has not managed to find anything capable at backup, signing washed up veterans and young players who have not been able to make a difference in the league to back Stafford up. He hasn’t developed a young quarterback in his tenure. Stafford is typically durable, but in the NFL, there is always the chance of one hit being the end of a team’s quarterback. Today, Quinn’s risk was shown not to pay off. The Lions could have won the game with a more functional quarterback calling the shots. Now, they are stuck with Driskel and will have to see if he can engineer anything. Perhaps this situation will help the Lions realize how quietly important backup quarterback can be in the NFL.

Carl Cheffers’ Crew Was Pathetic

This wasn’t the first time the Lions have had a problem with the officials this season, and perhaps not the worst trouble they have had with a crew. Still, Cheffers’ crew missed an obvious face mask early in the game which could have turned around field position and jump started a Detroit drive. Later, the crew called some questionable pass interference calls en-route to helping the Lions loss. They also missed a pretty violent helmet to helmet collision which felled offensive lineman Rick Wagner with a potential concussion. Crews have to be better, and this is merely another example of an inconsistent crew harming the Lions again.

Detroit Still Lacks Winning Discipline

Say whatever you want about the referees and the calls, but the Lions still take too many foolish penalties and struggle with play calls and discipline in between the lines. Those type of things do not help teams, especially when they are down their top player. The Lions needed to play close to a perfect game in order to win, and they were not even able to play close to a functional one. 8 penalties for 76 yards and 1 interception isn’t the key to success. The Lions need to clean things up badly.

Detroit’s Defensive Plan Looks Overrated

Matt Patricia has been lauded for his defensive acumen, but it’s becoming painfully obvious that the coach and his staff have a long way to go before they field anything functional in the Motor City. The Lions didn’t generate takeaways, nor did they put enough pressure on Trubisky when it counted. Allowing the Chicago offense to score 20 points and pile up the big plays is a bad sign. The Lions are dealing with some injuries, but that is nothing more than a convenient excuse. Detroit’s got a long way to go toward fielding anything that’s capable of consistently stopping teams.

Lion? Matt Prater. It’s never a good sign when the kicker is the team’s MVP, and that was the case once again for Prater, who drilled a couple of early field goals to pace the Detroit offense. The Lions are going to need a ton from Prater once again in the weeks ahead to survive this stretch.

Lamb? Kenny Golladay. Sure, Gollday had a touchdown on the day, but he dropped several catchable passes and was flagged late in the game for pass interference. Golladay has to be better on a day when he is working with a backup quarterback. Anything thrown in his direction needed to be snagged.

Stat to Note: 357, the number of yards the Bears piled up. The Lions couldn’t do anything to stop what had been a woeful Chicago offense on the afternoon. Hilariously, the Lions were the only cure for the Bears’ offensive ills for the better part of a month. The Bears will be happy to see the Lions on the schedule again on Thanksgiving.

He Said It: “It wasn’t safe to put him in that situation. It wasn’t the right thing to do.” -Matt Patricia. Talking about the injury which claimed the starting quarterback, Patricia said that it was more important for the Lions to err on the side of caution when it came to Matthew Stafford given his back injury. He said afterward it’s a day by day and a week by week injury.

READ NEXT: Jeff Driskel Throws Ugly Interception vs. Bears

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