Photo via Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
After the Detroit Lions lost at home 41-25 to the previously 3-7 Houston Texans on Thanksgiving, the team announced they have fired general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia Saturday morning. Darrell Bevell, the Lions’ offensive coordinator, will serve as the interim head coach.
Patricia spent years on the New England Patriots’ staff during the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady dynasty before his promotion to defensive coordinator from 2012-17. In the final three years under Patricia, the results were varied as the team ranked ninth and eighth respectively in total defense in 2015 and 2016 before tumbling to 29th in 2017. In Patricia’s last game coaching the unit in Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Patriots allowed 538 yards and 41 points, wasting 613 total yards from the offense and 500 passing yards from Brady.
The Lions made a strange decision at the end of 2017 to fire beloved coach Jim Caldwell, who led the Lions to a 9-7 record that season, two playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016, three winning seasons and an overall record of 36-28. He was the first Lions’ head coach to have a winning record since Joe Schmidt from 1967-1972. They hired Patricia before the 2018 season and finished with a 13-29-1 record. There was a decades-old sexual assault allegation the Lions missed during their background check, which was uncovered by Detroit News.
Bob Quinn was hired midway through the 2015 season, replacing Martin Mayhew after a 1-7 start. With legendary receiver Calvin Johnson two months later, he already had to make tough decisions. He acquired Marvin Jones and this helped the Lions reach the playoffs in 2016. They reached 9-7 again but since they missed the playoffs and failed to beat great teams, he fired Caldwell and replaced him with Patricia.
This was the start of the downward spiral the Lions have been on, only winning 13 games since the start of 2018 and Quinn has made more questionable moves in the last several years. In 2018, he traded successful wide receiver Golden Tate to the Eagles for a third-round pick and last year, he traded fan-favorite cornerback Quandre Diggs to the Seattle Seahawks for a seventh-round pick.
The Lions have failed to hold big leads this season, blowing leads of 17 against the Chicago Bears Week 1, 11 at the Green Bay Packers Week 2 and 14 versus the New Orleans Saints Week 4. After reaching .500 after a comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons, they have imploded, losing four of their last five games with their one win being a 27-24 win over Washington in which they blew a 24-3 lead. Their last two games were the nail in the coffin for Patricia and Quinn’s tenure as they lost 20-0 at a rebuilding Carolina Panthers teams and the 41-25 loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving.
This will be Bevell’s first time in a head coaching role as he has spent the past 14 of the past 15 seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, Seahawks and Lions. He reached the Super Bowl in 2013 and 2014 with the Seahawks, and is currently in his second season with the Lions.
The Lions will head to Chicago for their second matchup with the Bears next Sunday.