Four weeks later, he suffered a rib cartilage injury in a Dec. 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers that remains an issue today. Stafford has two years left on his contract, but faces an uncertain future with the Lions in the midst of a coach and general manager change.
Linebacker Jamie Collins (neck) and receiver Danny Mendoza (personal) will practice Friday, Befell said, while Tyrell Crosby (ankle), Kenny Holladay (hip) and Joe Dahl (back) remain out. The Lions offense looked sharp with several deep throws and a complementary running game helping manage to keep this team within striking distance.
Unfortunately, the defense had zero answers for the Vikings’ offense, allowing several chunk plays and showing an embarrassingly level of sloppy tackling. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins hung up 405 passing yards and three touchdowns, helping Justin Jefferson break the single-season rookie receiving record.
Now it is hard to say what the refs saw on those two calls, but that sequence of events had the potential of being a momentum shift that favored the Lions. Even though this game was meaningless in every sense of the word, it was hard to watch the Lions on the wrong side of critical calls once again by the refs.
DetroitLions interim coach Darrell Befell told reporters today that wide receiver Kenny Holladay is not expected to play Sunday and his season is over. Holladay will finish the year with 225 snaps over five games, producing 20 receptions on 32 targets for 338 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
A considerably disappointing season after finishing 2019 with a career-high 1,179 receiving yards, a league-leading 11 touchdown receptions, and his first Pro Bowl appearance. It’s unclear if he suffered a setback during that time, but he was unable to practice the remainder of the season, and now his year is over.
With a new front office/coaching staff headed into Detroit, it’s unclear what the future hold for Holladay and the organization. The Lions now have a little over three months before free agency begins to decide their approach to Holladay, and either hammer out a new contract, place the franchise tag on him, or let him walk and see where the chips fall.
Two days before the 2009 NFL draft, Matthew Stafford sat in the back of a league courtesy truck that drove him through Manhattan. 1 pick, about to agree to a contract worth $41.7 million guaranteed, about to head to the DetroitLions where he was confident he’d reverse the supposed “Curse of Bobby Lane” and lead the woebegone franchise to some playoff victories, if not a lot more.
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)Stafford was unconcerned, of course. Plus, Stafford had gone to Lane’s high school in suburban Dallas.
Mostly though, he had a cannon of an arm, a work ethic to match and all the leadership skills a team could want. Most notably, there were no playoff wins, no NFC North titles, nothing of substance.
It’s why Sunday represented not just the end of another lost season or another gutty Stafford performance, it might have been the 32-year-old’s last appearance with the franchise. Somehow it seemed fitting that Stafford might exit in a near-silent, pandemic empty Ford Field following a defeat that saw horrific officiating, porous defense and assorted Same Old Lions calamities override 293 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Stafford has two years left on his deal, but if he wants out he could also likely force it. He has remained popular due to numerous comeback performances and his willingness to play hurt.
The Calvin Johnson-Matthew Stafford tandem was good enough to get Detroit into the postseason three times. The best teammate he ever had, Calvin Johnson, simply up and retired rather than play for the Lions anymore, a franchise tradition started by Barry Sanders.
At one point Detroit worked a deal to bring Rob Minkowski in but Gonk nixed it by threatening to quit football. Interim coach Darrell Befell praised a speech Stafford gave to the team Saturday about why competing, even in a pointless game, is important.
He once expected that his end of the bargain would include playoff triumphs and championship banners, not merely dutifully playing hard and hurt when many others would have packed it in on the season. Everything as uncertain as a fortune-teller's promise, the kind of stuff that makes curses seem real and a dozen years fly by.
Stafford is active for today's game against the Minnesota Vikings after missing some practice time this week. He rolled his ankle on the Lions opening drive against the Bus, hopped to the locker room on one leg a few minutes later, and was held out of practice Wednesday.
Stafford, who turns 33 in February and has made just three playoff appearances in his 12 seasons in Detroit, may not want to stick around for another rebuild, and the Lions, with a new coach and general manager coming to town and likely a third straight top-10 draft pick, could look to draft their quarterback of the future. © June Han, Detroit Free Press DetroitLions quarterback Matthew Stafford passes to Marvin Jones against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Ford Field, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.
Center Frank Rag now (throat) and defensive tackle Danny Shelton (knee) also are active Sunday for the first time in weeks. Linebacker Jamie Collins is out for the second straight game with a neck injury, and receiver Kenny Holladay (hip), right tackle Tyrell Crosby (ankle), safety Bobby Price, defensive tackle Albert Huggins and offensive linemen Logan Steinberg and Joe Dahl (back) also are inactive for the Lions (5-10).