The Detroit Lions enter the last two games of their season with a 4-10 record. Part of the blame for the record has to be placed on quarterback Matthew Stafford. It’s time for the Lions to end the season with backup quarterback Shaun Hill behind center.
On Sunday, Stafford was inefficient at getting the Lions offense going and had several costly turnovers that changed possession and momentum in the game against the Arizona Cardinals. Stafford was 24-50 with 246 yards and three interceptions. Sunday’s game marked the fourth game that Stafford’s completion rate was below 51%. The game also marked only the third time on the season that featured no passing touchdown from Stafford. However, the game was also the second third interception game and became the sixth straight loss for the Lions, who were 4-4 at the midway point of the season.
Hill has served as the Lions backup quarterback for the past three seasons, seeing playing time with Stafford’s numerous injuries. Prior to his time in Detroit, Hill played with the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. Over three seasons with the 49ers, Hill started 18 games. With Detroit, Hill has started 14 games over three seasons. Having a capable, experienced quarterback serves as a lifeline when a starter goes down hurt, but should also serve as a option for a struggling team.
Hill has thrown for 6381 yards with a 62% completion rate. Hill has contributed with 41 touchdowns, while throwing 23 interceptions since his NFL start in 2005. Hill replaced an injured Stafford against the Tennessee Titans earlier this year. Hill went 10-13 (77%) for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns came in the last 18 seconds in a game that the Lions ultimately lost in overtime. With the Lions, Hill has completed 62% of his passes.
On the 2012 season, Stafford’s numbers continue to take a turn for the worse. Despite a relatively high yardage output of 4006, Stafford now has 12 interceptions to go along with only 17 touchdown passes.
On Sunday, the Lions scored only 10 points, marking the second lowest total on the season. The Lions also failed to score in the fourth quarter and it looked like they should have put Hill in late in the game. The game against an Arizona team who was also 4-9 and had just lost by over 50 points the week before is truly one of the lowest points in recent Lions memory.
The Lions have two home games left, both against teams that will likely see time in the 2012 NFL Playoffs. Stafford and Hill have both lost to the Atlanta Falcons over their career. Stafford has not had much success against the Chicago Bears, who the Lions will face in week 17. It’s time for the Lions to make a change and let Hill have a chance to show what could have been of the Lions 2012 season.