The Detroit Lions lost their third straight game to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, falling 20-13 after their last-minute drive stalled deep in Bears territory. They fell to 3-5-1 on the year as they start to look into next year. Here are a few takeaways:
Jeff Driskel is... ok?
It felt like all hope was lost when Matthew Stafford was ruled out with a back injury Sunday morning. Back up Jeff Driskel—who is only on the team because he failed to make the Cincinnati Bengals 53-man roster—did not inspire any confidence. Driskel exceeded expectations, though.
He was not very good, but he was not a disaster either. The quarterback had a great opening drive and managed to move the team downfield for an early field goal. He was his-or-miss for the rest of the day, until the end of the game where he did this:
.@jeffdriskel lets it fly. #OnePride— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2019
Kenny Golladay is in the end zone for a 48-yard @Lions TD! @kgxix #DETvsCHI
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His accuracy was everywhere, but outside of one interception early in the second half, he did not make any truly horrible errors. He did not look lost in the pocket and looked in control of the offense. Driskel is not going to compete for Stafford’s starting job, but he looked like an NFL caliber back up against an elite defense. What more could you ask for?
The coaching staff trusts Driskel
When a team is forced to use a backup quarterback, they will often simplify the playbook and just play small ball. Throw short, quick, easy routes. Limit how many reads the QB has to make. Focus more on avoiding mistakes than making plays.
Detroit did not do that. They allowed Driskel to run a similar offense to the one Stafford runs every week. They let him test the Bears downfield on occasion and spread things out a bit instead of focusing on a run-based, possession offense.
The backup quarterback has a similar athletic profile to Stafford, which helps a lot in the transition from one to the other. While Driskel does not have accuracy or football IQ of the starting quarterback, he at least has the physical tools to try to be Stafford.
Matt Patricia, Darrell Bevell and the rest of the coaching staff clearly had some faith in their backup quarterback. While Driskel was not very good, he at least did not embarrass them in his chance to shine.