Lions' Matt Patricia says Paul Pasqualoni still will call plays on defense
The maligned Detroit Lions’ defense, which has allowed 180 points in the last six games, will not get an overhaul at the top.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia said Monday defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni makes the play calls and that will continue.
“Certainly there are situations where he and I talk about calls,” Patricia said. “Coach Pasqualoni is doing a great job of trying to get that organized.
“I have the utmost confidence in Coach Pasqualoni and the defensive staff to get the calls, the communication, and get the game plan put together the way that we want it to. I’m certainly involved in trying to help that and get that orchestrated.”
The Lions have allowed the second-most yards with 424.1 yards of total offense per game, and a league-high 24.5 first downs per game.
On the Lions’ ill-fated fourth-down play near the goal line Sunday, guard Oday Aboushi was assigned to pull outside and lead block for quarterback Matthew Stafford on the edge, Patricia said.
The reserve guard, in his third offensive play of the season and his second game on the active roster, let Clelin Ferrell rush free to Stafford and headed left to the open field.
Ferrell forced Stafford to a quick throw, which went to tight end Logan Thomas and was broken up by Oakland safety Karl Joseph.
“There’s a couple different options out on the edge,” Patricia said. “They were able to get inside of the edge of our offense pretty quick before we were able to seal off the edge and get Oday and the quarterback on the perimeter in that situation.
“They kind of got on us a little bit faster than we’d seen before. They made a good recognition on the edge.”
The pass was set up by a play-action fake to rookie running back Ty Johnson, who was subbed in for the play along with fullback Nick Bawden and tackle Tyrell Crosby as the sixth offensive lineman.
Though they apparently didn’t merit inclusion for their team’s final offensive play, wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones turned in a standout afternoon in Oakland.
Jones had eight catches for 126 yards and a touchdown, and Golladay had four grabs for 132 yards and a score, becoming the first NFL teammates this season to both gain 125 receiving yards and a touchdown in the same game.
The last teammates to do that was Sept. 9, 2018, when Tampa Bay receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson did so. The last Lions to combine for the feat were Herman Moore and Brett Perriman in 1995, the only other time it occurred in Lions’ history.
“We have been doing a good job doing that and getting those touchdowns, but obviously we fell short,” Jones said after Sunday’s game. “We have to keep the mindset that every time we touch the ball, we have to put it in. I think we have been doing a good job but we have to do it more and better.”
Patricia was nominated for the NFL’s Salute to Service Award, one of three head coaches to be granted the honor.
In addition to other charitable endeavors involving the military, the Lions coach wears a tribute on his face: His trademark beard started as an homage to bearded friends who were serving overseas.
The award annually recognizes NFL players, coaches, personnel and alumni who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community, as nominated by NFL clubs.
“The men and women in the military are very important to me, and I think that’s a great reminder of how fortunate we all are to be here on a Monday morning worried about football,” Patricia said. “A lot of brave men and women are overseas worrying about a lot worse things than we are right now.”
Coaches Ron Rivera of Carolina and John Harbaugh of Baltimore were among the nominees, along with former Lions wide receiver Golden Tate, who was the nominee for the New York Giants.
Just like us
The Lions had an unexpected critic Sunday on Twitter during the Oakland loss.
Former offensive lineman T.J. Lang, who retired in the offseason and spent time with the club in radio roles during the preseason, appears as annoyed about this season as every other longtime Lions’ fan.
On Twitter, referring to the fourth-down play at the goal line without Golladay and Jones on the field, Lang posted: “No idea why you put GL offense out there in that situation and take 19 and 11 out of the game.”
Lang followed up Monday, tweeting: "I’ve rewatched that 4th down play about 20 times now, and while it probably wasn’t the ideal time of the game to call it, Lions did a nice job of scheming their 6’6 TE on a 5’10 safety. Just couldn’t haul it down."
Earlier, Lang was demanding more pressure from the defense, bemoaning that “3 man rushes are getting old” and “Blitz this F’ing QB!!!”
Lang, who played at Birmingham Brother Rice and Eastern Michigan, was a two-time Pro Bowler, earning one appearance apiece for Green Bay and Detroit.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.