Free Press sports writers Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez break down the Detroit Lions after the loss to the Vikings on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018.
Carlos Monarrez and Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
Matthew Stafford is still dealing with a back problem, and the Detroit Lions offense is going nowhere under his command.
But Lions coach Matt Patricia reiterated in a conference call Monday that he has no plans to sit his quarterback with one game left in the regular season.
“We’ll approach every week the same,” Patricia said. “I think there’s something to play for every single week, so that’s what we’re going to try to do. We’re always competitive, we’re always trying to compete and to us it’s important.”
Stafford completed just 18 of 32 passes for 116 yards in Sunday’s 27-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
He averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per pass attempt, and was pulled from the game with 4:10 left to cheers from the Ford Field crowd.
Matt Cassel, the only other quarterback on the Lions’ active roster, completed 5 of 11 passes for 45 yards in two series of work.
The Lions have scored 17 or fewer points in five straight games and are tied for 26th in the NFL in scoring offense heading into this week’s season finale against the Green Bay Packers. Stafford, who’s made 127 consecutive starts, acknowledged Sunday that the season has started to wear on him.
“I just want to win games and when you don’t do it, it’s frustrating,” he said. “We put a lot of work into it. I know the coaches, players, all the support staff put a ton of work into this. We don’t just roll the ball out there on Sunday and hope for the best, so anytime you put a lot of work in and a lot of hours, a lot of time into something and it doesn’t turn out the way you want, disappointing.”
Patrica gave players Monday and Tuesday off for the Christmas holiday, though he said some players were still in the building Monday getting treatment for injuries.
“Obviously, tomorrow’s a big day for a lot of people and we wanted to make sure we were able to give everyone a chance to see their families and things like that,” Patricia said. “There’s no real organized meetings, and then from the standpoint of planning purposes for the coaches, it gives us a little bit of time to get ahead so that we can try to see our families tomorrow also.”
Tight end Luke Willson (concussion), cornerback DeShawn Shead (knee) and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (knee) left Sunday’s loss with injuries. Patricia said no determinations have been made yet if any of those three will go on injured reserve.
In one of Sunday’s weirder moments, Lions guard Frank Ragnow literally tore through his shoe while blocking for Theo Riddick on a second-quarter running play.
Ragnow was blocking Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph on a pitch play to the right when he planted and lost his footing on the Ford Field turf.
The rookie walked around momentarily after the play, with the sole of his shoe flapping on the ground. He went to the bench, where trainers examined him briefly for an ankle injury and a member of the Lions’ equipment staff changed out his cleats, but returned after one play.
“The bottom of the shoe just kind of split and sometimes those things are glued,” Patricia said. “I’m not really sure how they’re put together there, but I know there’s probably a lot of force working through them so kind of just came out of there. I was more concerned about just if he had hurt himself on the play. The ankle injury and all the rest of it. Sometimes when those things stick and slide like that, I just wanted to make sure his foot was OK. That was probably the biggest concern.”
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