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Stafford, Patricia weigh in on controversial timeout

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The Lions quarterback and head coach speak on the timeout that derailed a potentially game-ending drive.

NFL: Preseason-Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

One of the defining moments of Sunday’s tilt between the Cardinals and the Lions was a baffling timeout called with 2:39 to go in the fourth quarter. Now the two major parties involve have weighed in on what happened. While there’s responsibility being taken, there’s not much in the way of answers, either.

On third down and 5 to go, Matthew Stafford tossed the ball out to J.D. McKissic, who caught the gash wide open on the right side of the field and ran for a first down while referees feverishly whistled the play dead. Someone had called timeout on the play before.

The next play did not go quite nearly as well.

After the game, Matt Patricia attempted to take responsibility for the timeout, although it was unclear on the broadcast who exactly had called for it.

“I’m calling the timeouts. We were looking at the play clock trying to get that stuff down and get it figured out at that point. (QB Matthew) Stafford did a great job of getting it off, but really, whether the play clock was at zero or one, either way – the mechanics, the way that works with the officials – the guy back there is staring at the play clock and he sees it. So again, we’d rather be at third-and-five then third-and-ten in that got to have it situation, so we’ve just got to go out and execute the next play.”

As for the play itself, Patricia merely emphasized the importance of the spot, which begs no arguments.

“That’s a got to have it situation. The first down was critically important for us and the play clock was running down. Call it zero or call it one, whatever it was in that situation, we’d rather be in third-and-5 then third-and-10 in that kind of got-to-have-it situation. So, we’ve just got to go out and execute. It doesn’t matter at that point, it’s a play where we’ve got to go finish no matter what happens, so that’s where we were.”

Stafford blamed the breakdown on not getting the play off quicker—a peculiar track to take, but maybe the thought there is that he could have snapped the play before any sideline meddling.

“Yeah, we have to do a better job of getting lined up a little quicker, getting out of the huddle a little bit quicker, to make sure the sideline has got confidence in us to get the play off in time.”

Stafford confronted the coaching staff on the sidelines after the play was blown dead, yelling, “Trust me!” at no one in particular.