Lions defend taking their best receivers off the field for final pass
Lions wide receivers Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay were having their way with the Raiders’ secondary on Sunday, with both of them topping 100 receiving yards and catching a touchdown pass. So it was surprising, when the Lions’ final pass fell incomplete on their last play of the game, that neither Jones nor Golladay was on the field.
So why did the Lions take their best receivers off the field when they needed a touchdown on the last play? Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell says it was all about having the right package on the field, and that on fourth-and-goal, they wanted a goal-line package.
“We were on the 1-yard line, so we ended up going with goal-line package, which we practice all the time,” Bevell said, via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “We have a number of personnel groups, we have a number of formations that we line up in. I think as you could see during the game, felt like we, from the 1, we’re running the ball well enough during the game to be able to go with a little bit of a play-action. Thought we had good matchups, we had good size. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to execute it exactly the way we wanted to.”
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw incomplete to backup tight end Logan Thomas on the play, a strange play call given the fact that the Lions’ best receivers were on the sideline. Bevell said the Lions wanted a goal-line package, but if they were going to throw a pass, why not throw it to one of the receivers who had been getting open against the Raiders’ defense all day?
That final play sealed the Lions’ loss, and Jones and Golladay could do nothing but watch.