Lions' 'Patriots Midwest' experiment with Matt Patricia, Bob Quinn a costly failure

Lions' 'Patriots Midwest' experiment with Matt Patricia, Bob Quinn a costly failure

DETROIT — At the end of his first game as the Detroit Lions coach in 2018, Matt Patricia and his team could hear chants of “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets” in a mostly-empty Ford Field as his team was embarrassed on Monday Night Football.

At the end of his final game, on national television on Thanksgiving two-plus years later, there was total silence because no fans were allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If fans had been allowed in the building, there wouldn’t have been much for them to do but boo.

Matt Patricia finished his Lions run with a 13-29-1 record over two-plus seasons. AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Before his first season started, a sexual assault indictment from a quarter-century ago resurfaced — allegations Patricia said were false, proclaiming his innocence with the dismissed case — and forced him to address them. Lions ownership backed him, but Patricia said it also did not come up in his interview.

In the locker room, Patricia alienated some of his best players when he arrived, including cornerback

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Turned out that was wrong.

While there was far less grumbling about Patricia’s style from players this season — and a real connection seemed to emerge from Patricia and his players around social justice issues — it never translated into on-field improvement.

The Lions too often looked disorganized and unprepared, hallmarks of coaching failure. Players blamed the team’s failures on execution but it often comes down to how they are coached during the week.

As the 2020 season wore on, Detroit made critical mistakes in key games, including having 10 men on the field on defense for three plays in the span of two weeks and having a penalty wipe out a touchdown in a 20-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 22.

The Lions consistently lost fourth-quarter leads in Patricia’s Detroit tenure and lost four of his final five games by double-digits. Patricia never won more than two games in a row during his tenure.

Patricia continually talked about needing to make improvements and just get back to work. But those improvements, from Game 1 to Game 43, never arrived. It was, too often, more of the same each week — the main reason Patricia is out of a job less than three seasons after taking over and Quinn is with him less than five seasons on the job.

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