Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
Published 10:47 a.m. ET Sept. 9, 2019
Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett and columnist Shawn Windsor discuss Lions’ tie with Cardinals, late timeout call, Sept. 8, 2019 in Arizona.
Shawn Windsor and Dave Birkett, Detroit Free PressGLENDALE, Arizona — Matthew Stafford was angry.The eye-roll caught by television cameras said as much, so did the venom that came spitting out of his mouth at State Farm Stadium.After Stafford retreated to the sideline following an incomplete pass late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 27-27 tie against the Arizona Cardinals, a Fox camera zeroed in on him standing behind Lions coach Matt Patricia.Stafford let out an expletive, and as Patricia walked one way out of the picture, Stafford walked the other and appeared to yell, “Trust me,” twice.Stafford was hot over a timeout the Lions burned seconds earlier, with the play clock ticking down on a third-and-5 play near midfield and the game on the line.Stafford threw complete to J.D. McKissic for what would have been a big gain, but the play was blown dead and several defensive players appeared to stop running.Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called the timeout, though Patricia — who was on crutches and unable to move up and down the sideline as he continues to recover from summer Achilles surgery — said after the game he ordered Bevell’s call.”I’m calling the timeouts,” Patricia said. “We’re looking at the play clock trying to get that stuff down and get it figured out at that point. Stafford did a great job of getting it off, but really again, whether it was at 0 (seconds on the play clock) or 1, either way, the mechanics, the way that works with the officials, the guy back there, he’s staring at the play clock and he sees it. So again, we’d rather be in third-and-5 than (take a penalty and be in) third-and-10 in that got-to-have-it situation. We’ve just got to go out and execute the next play.”Stafford threw incomplete on a pass down the sideline to Kenny Golladay immediately after the timeout, and Sam Martin had his punt partially blocked on fourth down.The Cardinals took possession at their own 40-yard line, and Kyler Murray led a nine-play, 60-yard drive that ended with the game-tying touchdown.Stafford appeared to get the initial third-down play off just before the play clock struck 0, but there was enough confusion on the play that he said after the game he understood why Patricia asked for time.”We got to do a better job of getting lined up a little bit quicker, getting in and out of the huddle a little bit quicker,” Stafford said. “To make sure that sideline’s got confidence in us to get the play off in time.”Asked if he thought he had enough time to get the play off, Stafford said, “I thought we got it off, but I understand the decision.”Plenty of coaches would err on the side of caution in that situation. The Cardinals were out of timeouts, and the Lions probably would have been able to run the clock out had they converted.But Patricia said that was the case with the second play, too, when the Lions left the door open just enough for the Cardinals to send them home unhappy.”We just got to go out and execute,” Patricia said. “It doesn’t matter at that point, it’s a play where we’ve got to go finish no matter what happens. That’s where we were.”Contact Dave Birkett at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press