The Lions suffered heartbreak yet again, this time in Oakland’s black hole at the hands of Jon Gruden and the slept-on Raiders. It all boiled down to the last play—I’m not going to repaint the horrid picture, but the most important thing to note is that the Lions came out with goal line personnel and turned to their third-string tight end with the game on the line.
As we all know, Logan Thomas failed to haul in the pass, and Lions fans let out a collective groan. There was a lot of anger and frustration poured onto Darrell Bevell and the Lions coaching staff for the play call, and rightfully so. But at the end of the day, let’s take a step back and not put any of it on Thomas.
Unsung hero of the week: Logan Thomas
It’s very well known that having your name known as a special teams player is a bad thing; it likely means you messed up your job. I’d imagine being a third-string tight end isn’t much different.
Sure, Thomas failed to come down with the pass on the last play (a pretty good pass from Matthew Stafford considering he was under pressure and throwing off of his back foot). To be fair, as shown in this article’s cover photo, Thomas was undergoing something that highly resembled a suplex from the defensive back. On top of it, it’s an incomplete pass—those happen sometimes.
Most importantly, however, is that this can’t overshadow everything else. The Lions botched a goal-line play, but they were on the goal line because of Thomas. After Stafford took a sack on second-and-goal, the Lions found themselves facing goal-to-go from the 14, a nightmare situation.
Stafford found a smothered Thomas for 13 yards over the middle. Thomas was covered tight by a Raiders linebacker, and would get sandwiched by two other Raiders defenders before hitting the ground and coming down with that ball.
So yeah, the Lions went to Logan Thomas with the game on the line and failed. Was it a poor call? Absolutely. Was it Thomas’ fault? Not at all. Thomas was the reason they were in that position to begin with.