An awful afternoon under center has put Matthew Stafford on the bench in Detroit.
The switch marks a dubious turning point in Stafford’s up-and-down career, capping a Sunday train wreck that saw the seventh-year passer toss three picks over two-plus quarters. The worst of those interceptions came after Stafford underthrew All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson.
Stafford told reporters after the game that coach Jim Caldwell informed him at halftime that one more interception would get him benched.
Stafford was stymied by the Cardinals‘ defense from start to finish, looking more like a deer in the headlights than a veteran signal-caller against Arizona’s active pass rush. West of Robert Griffin III, it’s rare to see a franchise arm benched, but the Lions were given little choice after watching Stafford unfurl one of the worst games of his career. Caldwell, however, said there’s no permanent switch coming at the position.
It extends beyond just the quarterback, though, with the entire Lions attack looking lost in the woods despite a rich lineup of weapons. There will be plenty of questions for coordinator Joe Lombardi, who defended Stafford last week but has little to point to after this horror show.
Somehow, Detroit’s winless and bumbling start to the season has grown even more chaotic and depressing.