Speaking on The 33rd Team, former Detroit offensive coordinator Mike Martz criticized Lions quarterback Jared Goff for failing to execute on a third-and-1 incomplete pass to D.J. Chark with 32 seconds left in the game and the Lions down 25-22.
“They threw that go route outside to the wide receiver. I don’t have a problem with that. The coach, you make that call, that’s just not something you pull out of there and say, ‘Oh let’s do this.’ There’s a lot of thought that goes into that, the matchup. I will tell you, the receiver had him beat by at least three yards. It was just an easy touchdown,” Martz said. “When you make that call, you just assume the quarterback’s going to make it and Goff just missed it. I think he threw it too soon. Got pressured a little bit and got it up too soon.”
If Goff had hit his target, Chark might have scored a touchdown or put the Lions in better field position inside the 10-yard line for a touchdown. Instead, the incomplete pass brought up fourth down, and Detroit’s Michael Badgley kicked a 51-yard field goal to tie the game 25-25.
“That would have been an easy touchdown,” said Martz, who the Lions’ offensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007. “I think it was the right call for them.”
With 23 seconds left, the Bills went 48 yards on four plays and kicked a 45-yard field goal to win 28-25.
While some wanted to blame the play call, most in the know were blaming the execution of the play rather than the decision making.
Goff Admitted His Poor Throw Afterward
After the game, Goff defended the play call and criticized his execution.
“I wish I would have thrown a different ball,” said Goff, who finished with two touchdowns and 240 yards on 23-of-37 passing. “I thought the play call was great. Had some options with what to do there. If you had to do it again, do you do something differently? I don’t know, maybe. If I throw a better ball it might not matter.
“Frustrating to lose,” he said. “I’d love to score a touchdown there on that last drive and maybe put it away. It’s tough there, you get caught in between, what do you want to do. If you lose there is no right decision. I believe the decision they made was the right one. Unfortunately they made it work on their side.”
T.J. Lang Also Liked Lions’ Call
Former Detroit offensive lineman T.J. Lang said he also appreciated the Lions’ aggressiveness. On Twitter, he described the play as a potential kill shot that failed in its execution.
“No, the 3rd and 1 play wasn’t a ‘bad’ call. It was a kill shot call. And the play was there. Didn’t execute. Bottom line,” tweeted Lang, a two-time Pro Bowler who played eight years with the Green Bay Packers before wrapping up his career in 2017 and 2018 with the Lions.