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NFL

Dear God, Will Someone Please Fire Matt Patricia

Matt Patricia wears a mask and looks cagey on the Lions sideline.
Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty

You had a feeling the Detroit Lions were in for a rough afternoon when it was announced just hours before kickoff that a starting quarterback would miss the game, and would be replaced by an XFL guy making his first career NFL start. That they were held scoreless by the middling Panthers was a disappointment, but considering the talent falloff from a steady veteran to a 5-foot-11 guy from the football powerhouse of Temple University, you feel that patience and understanding are in order. Certainly no one should be fired over such a performance.

Then you are told that you have that backwards, that in fact it was Detroit’s opponent who had to replace their starting quarterback on short notice with someone named P.J. Walker, that in fact the Lions lost 20-0 and had 10 total first downs and allowed their opponent to march up and down the field all afternoon despite being the only team on the field that had a person I have ever heard of before under center. And you feel, just then, that this is exactly the sort of thing that someone should be fired over. And that someone is Matt Patricia.

Obviously Matt Patricia does not run the ball or pass the ball or rush the passer for the Detroit Lions. Spare some contempt for the players, who played as if they had tranq darts hanging out of their necks for most of the afternoon, and were so out of it by the end of the game that they took an offside penalty on a Panthers fourth-and-one after the two-minute warning, perhaps an expression of their own dark-hearted desire to preserve the shutout. But a team sleepwalking through an inexcusable loss is the kind of thing that simply must land at the feet of a head coach, especially one with as shitty a track record as Patricia. It’s worth pointing out that the deeply unspecial Panthers team that blanked the Lions Sunday was missing more than Teddy Bridgewater:

As bad as this was, it should’ve been even worse. Walker, making his third appearance as an NFL player, wiped out two Panthers goal-to-go opportunities with bad end-zone interceptions, which ultimately saved the Lions from a spectacularly horrifying final score and the merciless spotlight they deserve. Walker, Bridgewater’s replacement, was otherwise very solid, completing 24 of 34 pass attempts for 258 yards and a score. Mike Davis, filling in again for the injured Christian McCaffrey, did some things. D.J. Moore had a big game. Good for them. Why are we talking about the Panthers? The thing to take from this game is that the Lions are a laughingstock, and that Matt Patricia’s job security is entering the Adam Gase zone.

The Lions are on a short week due to their annual Thanksgiving home game. That will probably be enough to spare Patricia the boot for another few days, but it shouldn’t be. Normal people who suck at their jobs as badly as he does at his get fired, and often banned from the premises! Please, won’t someone fire this man?