Matt Patricia Evokes Malcolm Butler Play When Explaining Lions Meltdown

Matt Patricia

Getty Matt Patricia looks on during the Lions defeat.

The Detroit Lions haven’t put many games away in the 4th quarter under Matt Patricia, but he doesn’t think there’s much of a problem with his coaching.

After Detroit fell apart late and sustained a 27-23 loss to the Chicago Bears, Patricia was asked if he thought there was something with his coaching leading to the frustration late in games. Safe to say the coach disagreed in a major way.

In the answer, Patricia said he has one of the best plays in NFL history to his credit in the late stages of a game, so he doesn’t view it as a problem in Detroit.

The Lions, of course, haven’t been great under Patricia at putting away games and winning when it’s close. The team has let numerous games slip away in the late stages and as a result, Patricia’s tenure feels as if it’s spiraling out of control a bit. Detroit is now 0-1 to start the season and has a losing record with Patricia as coach, so whatever Patricia did multiple years ago to win a Super Bowl at another job wouldn’t seem to matter at this point.

Patricia had better hope he can turn things around quickly this season, otherwise, this quote might go down in history with Marty Mornhinwheg, Rod Marnielli and others who have failed to get it done and crumbled under pressure with some defensive comments.

Lions Fourth Quarter Failures Under Matt Patricia

The Lions haven’t been great at finishing games under Patricia during his tenure. Case in point, last season, Detroit blew a 24-6 lead against the Cardinals and ended up tying the game. This year, the mark was 23-6 in the season opener. While 2019 was a tie, this was an ugly defeat.

Leading into the 2019 season, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell met with the media and talked about the offseason and where the team is trending in 2020. Still, that didn’t prevent him from casting an eye back to 2019. When it came to that, Bevell explained that the Lions were much, much closer to breaking through than most on the outside may have thought last season.

As he cited, the team led in 10 games in the 4th quarter last season. In those games, they were 3-7-1. Even a modest improvement in that record would have meant the Lions being a much better team in terms of the season they had.

Bevell’s takeaway? The Lions simply have to be able to focus and finish games this coming season, especially late in the final quarter. Typically, the Lions have been an excellent team late in games, earning the reputation as comeback kids during Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. The challenge now is to develop a mindset where they can better protect leads and put away games they should win.

It didn’t happen in the opening game, however, and that’s a problem for Patricia and company.

Matt Patricia’s Lions Tenure

Patricia came to the Lions fresh off success in New England in 2018, and struggled out of the gate to capture the attention of the locker room. A bumpy start paved the way to a more solid finish in 2018 with the team only winning six games, but defeating squads like the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers, which offered hope.

Patricia has helped the Lions stay in games for the most part in 2019, something which the team struggled with in 2018, but has not gotten them over the hump at closing. That’s perhaps his biggest wart so far as a boss, combined with a lousy defense that has not picked up the program whatsoever. Patricia might get more of a pass considering the absurd amount of injuries he’s dealt with, but it’s hard to ignore that in his tenure as coach, the Lions have had the same discipline problems plague them that always have through the years.

The bet was that both Patricia and Quinn get a mulligan on 2019 considering the rash of injuries that have set the team back, while also living with the understanding that 2020 is likely the make or break year for this group.

So far, things don’t seem like they’re off to that great of a start.

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