The Detroit Lions had it made in terms of making the postseason. Through the first half of the 2013 NFL regular season, the Lions had a pretty commanding lead in the NFC North and had a relatively favorable schedule to close out the second half of the season. It seemed like winning the division and heading to the playoffs was somewhat of a formality.
Over the last five weeks, including their game on Monday Night Football versus the Baltimore Ravens, the Lions have completely imploded. Save for their dominant win on Thanksgiving over a Matt Flynn-led Green Bay Packers team, the Lions have been a huge let down recently, which continued against Baltimore.
While the Lions’ defense didn’t allow a touchdown to the Ravens, they allowed the Ravens to put enough drives together to net six field goals and earn an 18-16 victory, the Lions’ fourth loss in the last five weeks. While the defense has been disappointing, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford’s hands certainly aren’t clean.
It’s easy to blame quarterbacks in this league, but Stafford’s recent play has been a real detriment to his team. Over the Lions’ 6-3 start, Stafford had been performing quite well as he had thrown for 19 touchdowns and, most importantly, only seven interceptions. Interceptions are a huge stat for Stafford who has proven to be turnover-prone throughout his career. His ability to avoid those turnovers were huge for the Lions over the first half of the year.
Over the last five games, though, Stafford has seen his numbers dip. He’s completed over 60 percent of his passes just once over that span and has thrown for only nine touchdowns. What’s been the real change, though is the fact that he has 10 interceptions over those five games, including three on Monday night.
With only two games remaining in the regular season, the Lions are now a game out of the lead in the division and their playoff hopes are pretty bleak. While the coaching, defense and several other factors have played into their collapse, Stafford isn’t blameless in all of this. He’s undoubtedly a quarterback that can make plays, but his turnovers have really cost the Lions lately.