Matthew Stafford Gets Benched
After throwing his third interception of the game about five minutes into the third quarter, the Lions benched starting quarterback Matthew Stafford in favor of backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky.
Soon after the interception, Orlovsky was seen on the sidelines warming up – a site that was greeted with surprise by most. Not among those surprised was Stafford, who knew the interception would have resulted in him being yanked.
“(Head coach Jim Caldwell) told me at halftime that if I threw another interception, I’d be pulled out of the game. Obviously, threw one, wish I wouldn’t have, go from there.”
The play featured wide receiver Calvin Johnson matched one-on-one with cornerback Patrick Peterson. Stafford threw it to the inside and Johnson moved to the inside, resulting in an easy grab for Peterson.
“One on one to Calvin is usually a pretty good shot,” explained Stafford. “Patrick had pretty good coverage on him, so I tried to throw him a back-shoulder and I think he probably turned late and was thinking maybe more over the top with the throw, so just poor execution on my part.”
Despite the poor performance and the benching, Stafford remains entrenched as the Lions starter.
“Really, it’s like a pitcher not having a very good day and the first pitcher comes out and the pitcher obviously, he’s still the starter,” said Caldwell. “(Stafford) is still the starter, so there will be no issues there. So there’s no quarterback controversy or anything of that nature.”
Players react to fans booing
The Lions were booed – quite loudly at times – throughout the loss to the Arizona Cardinals. There is a growing level of frustration amongst the fan base and those in attendance were vocal about it.
Many players took the standard route when asked about the booing. Glover Quin talked about people coming from all over to watch the game, James Ihedigbo talked about people spending their hard earned money to come watch the team and Caldwell said “I don’t blame them”.
Wide Receiver Golden Tate took a different approach.
“I love our fans, I think our fans are amazing. They’ve been patient for a long time,” said Tate. “For them to, before the game got out of hand, it looked like there was a lot of empty seats. Early on, our team is getting booed, later in the game, it sounded like the loudest it got was when Stafford was leaving the game and Dan was coming in. That’s not the support we want.
“When we win, we all win together. As a city, as an organization, as a state. When we lose, we all lose together. Today I felt like, at times, our fan base kind of turned their back on us. We have a lot of confidence in our fan base and we can’t do this without our fan base. We just expect them to be with us a little bit better next week. We have a chance to still be special. We have two more home games (in a row) and we’re expecting our fan base to be there for us and support us. I know we’re not playing the type of football that we want to play right now but we need our fans, we need them.”
Many fans will take exception with Tate’s comments. Of course, moments after a frustrating loss, this would be a tough question for anyone to answer. Furthermore, he seemed to take the most exception with Stafford being booed. Fans have every right to vocalize their displeasure – especially after a showing such as this – but the fact that Tate cares that cheers are being associated with his quarterback’s benching is probably more good than bad.