Listless Lions turn their attention to Schwartz
After his Detroit Lions delivered their final disappointing
performance in a season full of them, coach Jim Schwartz lobbied
for another chance.
The outcome is out of his control now, and all he can do is wait
to hear his fate.
Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson scored two touchdowns, the last one
with just over nine minutes to play that lifted the Minnesota
Vikings to a 14-13 victory over the Lions in the season finale on
The Lions (7-9) managed just 245 yards against Minnesota’s
woeful defense and lost their fourth straight game to finish yet
another frustrating season.
Schwartz, who is 29-52 in five seasons, has two years left on
his contract. But his talented team fell far short of expectations,
and the hot-tempered coach also lost his cool with Lions fans in
their home finale last week to put his job in jeopardy.
”I’d certainly like to be back,” Schwartz said. ”I think we
have unfinished business here. We’ve come a long way in these
years, but we still have some ground that we can make and I’m
anxious to have a chance to do that.”
Matthew Stafford was 22 for 33 for 217 yards and a touchdown
while playing without Calvin Johnson, who missed the game with a
They led 13-7 in the fourth quarter before Marcus Sherels
returned a punt 50 yards to setup Matt Cassel’s 8-yard TD pass to
Patterson, and the Vikings held on.
The Lions were in position to win the mediocre NFC North after a
40-10 pounding of Green Bay on Thanksgiving. But they didn’t win
again the rest of the season, a free fall that included the home
loss to the New York Giants last week that eliminated them from the
Schwartz said last week that he regretted yelling at fans who
booed the Lions toward the end of regulation in the overtime loss
to the Giants. But in the end, his record more than his temper
could be his undoing.
Schwartz’s winning percentage is the worst by an NFL coach in
his first full five years, according to STATS research, since John
McKay with expansion Tampa Bay from 1976-80.
”We’re confident in the way that we work and in what we’re
doing as a team,” Schwartz said. ”Obviously we didn’t win enough
games this year and there’s no standard to judge other than that.
And I understand that in this business.”
Schwartz said Johnson could need arthroscopic surgery in the
offseason, but the Lions have bigger problems.
They lost six of their last seven games despite holding the lead
in the fourth quarter in each of them and missed the playoffs for
the 13th time in the last 14 seasons.
”I know we have a ways to go,” said running back Reggie Bush,
who had 65 total yards and a touchdown. ”The last half of the
season we didn’t do a good job of finishing in the fourth quarter.
I know we have a lot of room for improvement.”
Long-time center Dominic Raiola said, given the team’s overall
talent and the struggles of the other three teams in the division,
this season was more disappointing than the infamous 0-16 year in
”This feels worse because we had a chance to have a home
playoff game and we didn’t take advantage of that,” Raiola said.
”It feels like everything that needed to happen or could’ve gone
our way went our way. We did not take advantage of our
Cassel was 20 for 33 for 189 yards with one touchdown and one
interception, Patterson turned a busted end-around pass play into a
dazzling 50-yard scoring run and Matt Asiata filled in for the
injured Adrian Peterson with 115 yards rushing on just 14 carries
to send the Vikings (5-10-1) out winners in the final game at the
The Vikings are beginning construction on a new stadium, and the
team will play the next two seasons at the University of
”Just told them how proud I am of what they’ve done this season
to battle through adverse moments and to finish the second half
4-3-1 against some quality, quality opponents,” said Vikings coach
Leslie Frazier, who is also in danger of losing his job.
Schwartz said he expected to meet with the Ford family sometime
this week to discuss things.
”I know the way this business is,” he said. ”We all do. We
can’t worry about decisions we don’t make. We’ve got to try our
very best week in and week out, and if we do then we can accept any
decision that’s made.”
NOTES: Kevin Ogletree led the Lions in receiving with five
catches for 75 yards. … Louis Delmas intercepted a pass for the
Lions. … Bush and fellow RB Joique Bell each finished with
500-plus yards receiving. They combined for 2,709 yards and 15
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org