A predictable pattern has emerged for the Detroit Lions through five games of the regular season: trailing in the fourth quarter.
The Lions have faced a fourth-quarter deficit in every game so far this year. They were able to squeak out victories against the Sam Bradford’s St. Louis Rams and Michael Vick’s Philadelphia Eagles thanks in large part to quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Stafford tried to explain the reasons for his late-game heroics.
“I’m lucky to be surrounded by a lot of really good team-mates,” Stafford said. “Our offensive line has done a great job all year. Our backs and receivers out of the backfield catching the ball all year and moving the chains have really been doing a good job of that all game and especially in the fourth quarter. So I think I’m just a beneficiary of that.”
Stafford owns the league’s sixth-best fourth-quarter passer rating at 103.9. Jay Cutler is the highest-rated fourth quarter NFL quarterback at 118.4. Both are slated to square off on Monday Night Football as the Lions tangle with Cutler’s Bears at 7.30pm Cayman time on ESPN.
The Bears are outscoring teams 102-31 in the second half and 65-25 in the fourth quarter behind Cutler. History shows that teams that fall behind against Chicago rarely come back and win. The Bears are 53-10 when leading at halftime and 61-10 when in front after three quarters since Lovie Smith became head coach in 2004.
Stafford states his squad has to score early to avoid history repeating itself.
“We haven’t put enough sevens (touchdowns) on the board early in games, that’s for sure. We have a lot of yards early and often in games but we haven’t put a lot of touchdowns on the board.
“So that’s something that we’re still working on. That’s a big part of the league and winning football games.”