The Detroit Lions (6-9) beat the San Francisco 49ers (4-11) 32-17 at Ford Field. Detroit remains red hot in the second half of the season and would be playoff contenders at 8-7 if not for poor referees in the Seattle and Green Bay games.
Matt Stafford continued his incredible play with 118 QB rating on Sunday notching 301 yards with 2 TDs and 0 interceptions with 8.1 YPA. Stafford and Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter work incredibly well together and the Lions coaching staff is making a great case to stay with the new GM or even a new head coach (Adam Gase?).
Stafford now has a 95.4 QB rating on the year which is good for 10th on the season for all QBs. This rating puts Stafford ahead of Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethesliberger and Aaron Rodgers on the season. Stafford has 29 TDs and 13 interceptions in 15 games after a 13 TD and 11 interception first half of the season. The slight protection and run game improvement has helped Stafford show what kind of QB he really is in this league. Elite. The simple Cooter scheme seems to work well.
The Lions defense had a great second half of the game holding the 49ers to 57 yards and 0 points after a 17 point debacle of a first half. The Lions added 3 sacks on defense and a strong second half run defense.
Haloti Ngata and Josh Bynes forced a huge fumble which the Lions recovered on the San Francisco 1 yard line. This was the only turnover of the day. Joique Bell punched it in for a TD for a 17-14 second quarter lead.
Prater was a perfect 4/4 for field goals on the day after missing his first field goal last Monday at New Orleans.
Calvin Johnson had 77 yards and big TD in the second half to put the Lions up 29-17. Megatron did drop a deep ball and had another called incomplete due to more incompetent referees on the catch rule. Johnson isn’t going anywhere this offseason, despite a 24 million cap number in 2016. The Lions are in cap heaven and can retain Johnson. Johnson is also nice enough to take a pay cut if the new GM desires.
Theo Riddick had 63 yards on 7 catches and is a real threat on the field. Riddic has 668 yards and 3 TDs on the season. TJ Jones had his first career touchdown hauling in a 29 yard score. The Jones TD was set up by a timely executed fake punt by Detroit. Rookie Ameer Abdullah had 4.9 YPC and another big kick return to help set up a field goal. Abdullah has 4.2 YPC on the season and continues to get better every week.
The Lions first half defense was poor despite the forced fumble. Detroit gave up 17 first half points and missed field goal to a terrible offense.
The 49ers ran for 121 yards at 5.3 YPC led by DeJuan Harris, mostly in the first half.
Blaine Gabbert had a 106 QB rating with 2 TDs and 0 interceptions despite second half troubles. Tight End Vance McDonald led the way with 61 yards and a TD for the 49ers.
Detroit finishes the season at Chicago (6-9) in a battle for 3rd place in the NFC North. Detroit won the first matchup at Ford Field. Detroit should be 8-7 and playing for the 6th seed if the referees were capable of understanding the game of football in the Seattle and Green Bay games.
Detroit currently has the 13th pick in the draft and the Bears have the 14th pick. There are five other 6-9 teams and four 7-8 teams. This game will have draft implications. However, Detroit will try to end the season on a 3 game winning streak and finish 6-2 in the second half of the season. Detroit will be 6-2, 5-3, 1-7 and 6-2 in the half of seasons under Caldwell if they win. The 1-7 appears to be the fluke due to 20 turnovers in 8 games, terrible referees, Lombardi failing and injuries.
Can 7-9 save Caldwell’s job? We will find out in the coming weeks once a new GM is hired.