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

Sunday.

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

knee injury.

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

playoffs.

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

2008.

”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

opportunities.”

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

Metrodome.

The Vikings are beginning construction on a new stadium, and the

team will play the next two seasons at the University of

Minnesota.

”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

TDs.

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org