Those were the words that came out of Matthew Stafford‘s mouth as he walked on the sideline after one of the most inexplicable timeout calls in Detroit Lions history.
The timeout was called late in the fourth quarter as Stafford was about to snap the ball on what likely would have been the game-winning play. In fact, the ball was actually snapped and Stafford threw the ball to RB J.D. McKissic for what certainly was going to result in a big gain and a first down for the Lions. Instead, the play was blown dead by the officials because a timeout was called from the Lions sideline.
After watching the replays, it was clear that Lions’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was the one who initiated the timeout call, though head coach Matt Patricia took responsibility after the game.
From Detroit Free Press:
“I’m calling the timeouts,” Patricia said. “We’re looking at the play clock trying to get that stuff down and get it figured out at that point. Stafford did a great job of getting it off, but really again, whether it was at 0 (seconds on the play clock) or 1, either way, the mechanics, the way that works with the officials, the guy back there, he’s staring at the play clock and he sees it. So again, we’d rather be in third-and-5 than (take a penalty and be in) third-and-10 in that got-to-have-it situation. We’ve just got to go out and execute the next play.”
To be fair, Patricia may have ultimately called the timeout as NFL rules prohibit coordinators or anyone else on the sideline (other than the head coach) from calling it. But regardless, the call took the ball out of Stafford’s hands and eventually cost the Lions a win.
Following the game, Stafford talked about the timeout call and not surprisingly, he refused to place blame on his coaches.
“We got to do a better job of getting lined up a little bit quicker, getting in and out of the huddle a little bit quicker,” Stafford said. “To make sure that sideline’s got confidence in us to get the play off in time.”
When asked if he thought they had enough time to snap the ball, Stafford was sure but says he understands why the timeout was called.
“I thought we got it off, but I understand the decision,” Stafford told the media.