Late in the fourth quarter, the Lions faced a third and one on the other side of the 50 yard line. Instead of running the ball or picking up a first down, however, the Lions went for a deep pass to wideout DJ Chark. The ball was out of Chark’s reach off the hand of Jared Goff, and Detroit was forced to kick a game-tying field goal.
Was the play call a mistake? The answer is yes according to many fans, but not according to those who played the game. Former Detroit offensive lineman T.J. Lang is one such person who didn’t mind Detroit’s 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,” Lang tweeted.
As Lang seems to understand, the Lions were trying to win the game. They didn’t pull it off, so expectedly, they’re getting some of the heat. In the end, though, that doesn’t mean it was a bad call just because it didn’t work.
After the game, there were plenty of explanations as to what happened to possibly throw the play off so badly.
Goff Laments Poor Throw on Key Play
In terms of his own reaction to the play, Goff wasn’t too upset about the play call. He was, however, critical of his ability to make a big time throw in a big spot.
As he explained to the media after the game, while he would have loved the score, he did appreciate the call and the move that the Lions made.
“Frustrating to lose. 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,” Goff said.
Specifically, Goff thought that if he had made a better throw, it would have made all the difference in the world.
“I wish I would have thrown a different ball. 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,” he said.
Goff didn’t make the play in the end, but perhaps if faced with the situation again, he can execute better. It will be something to watch for the Lions in the future, and he will likely have to in order for the team to score some bigger wins down the stretch.
Dan Campbell Explains Lions’ Late Meltdown
In terms of the coaching staff, it’s clear that the Lions’ bosses didn’t have a problem with the play call either. Dan Campbell talked about the late gaffe, and as he said, it may have happened as a result of Chark being unable to get to the ball.
Speaking with the media, Campbell said that the way the play went down seemd to indicate that Chark never saw the ball until it was too late, hence the incompletion on the field.
“I think it’s hard to say. I just think you know (DJ) Chark, I’m not sure he ever really saw it until it was real late. I just don’t think he really saw it, so obviously, they weren’t on the same page,” Campbell said.
The execution of the play was way off, and that could have been due to Chark’s extended absence with the team. He did catch a touchdown in the game, but has been working his way back from injury. Perhaps that led to some rust between the two sides as far as chemistry is concerned.
The call to target him may have been correct according to Lang as well as many others. As the season wears on, it will be fascinating to see whether or not the Lions can make some of these clutch plays.