Detroit – Lions tight end Eric Ebron didn’t need to hear the whole question before firing off an answer.
After posting another performance that was marred by drops in Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Panthers, Ebron was defiant he hasn’t lost confidence in himself despite the negative reaction from the Ford Field crowd.
“Hell no. They (fans) can boo all they want to,” Ebron said. “This is what I get paid to do. This is what I love to do. I'm going to continue to go out there and try to make plays for our offense and, you know, just take this one on the chin.”
The first round of boos came during the first quarter on Detroit’s opening drive. Facing a third-and-10 at Carolina’s 12, Matthew Stafford threw a pass over the middle to Ebron, who dropped a would-be touchdown that appeared to hit him in the numbers and forced the Lions (3-2) to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Matt Prater.
According to Ebron, he momentarily lost sight of the ball as Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson jumped up in front of him, while Stafford said it wasn't a great throw and would've been "a hell of a catch."
"Shaq made a great play on that one, actually. If you want to call it a drop, that's cool,” Ebron said. “It hit my right shoulder but he should've intercepted that ball. It went right through his hands and blinded me from it but I should've caught it. I guess if you want to say – it's professional football, I should've caught that.”
Then early in the fourth quarter with the Lions trailing 27-10, Ebron couldn’t corral a deep pass over the middle as Panthers safety Mike Adams delivered a hit from behind, triggering an even louder wave of sneers and jeers from the fans.
Still, Ebron said it was a 50-50 ball that he should’ve come down with.
“The crowd doesn't affect me none. The only thing that affects me is if there is a situation which I let my team down,” Ebron said. “I feel like I should've caught that pass over the middle. Yeah, I blame that on me. But then again Mike Adams has been in this league 14 years. He's seen plenty of tight ends try to come across the middle. He made a great play to break it up, so I kick myself in the butt for that one.”
Stafford went right back to Ebron on the very next play for a six-yard gain, and the crowd sarcastically cheered after he made the catch, which was his lone reception of the game.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell and Stafford were both quick to point out that it wasn’t just Ebron who had a rough day as the entire offense struggled to get on track against the Panthers (4-1).
“There's not anybody that can say they played perfectly out there,” Caldwell said. “Just like anything else, we'll go back to work and get (Ebron) better.
“Let's face it, he wasn't our problem. It doesn't boil down to one play or one player. We had a number of things go wrong.”
Through five games this season, Ebron has finished with less than 10 yards receiving three times and has caught 12 of the 23 passes thrown his way. It was also Ebron’s second straight home game where he has dropped multiple catchable balls.
Meanwhile, backup tight end Darren Fells was productive in the passing game for the second straight week, hauling in his two targets for touchdowns of 20 and four yards in the fourth quarter during Detroit's last-gasp rally.
"Darren Fells is a baller. I'm not going to take nothing from him," Ebron said. "I'm happy he's balling. I'm happy he's doing what he's doing, but it doesn't affect me none. I'm going to go out there and continue to do what I do and hopefully put myself in better situations or get put in better situations to succeed."