Best: Year of the Flea Flicker
First off, a ton of credit goes to Darrell Bevell for his work as offensive coordinator this year. The running game still hasn’t taken off (total yards and yards per carry were nearly identical to last year), but I think Bevell absolutely made the most of what he had to work with (especially when Driskel and Blough took over), and tailoring the offense to Stafford’s strengths brought out the best from No. 9 until the injury.
For entertainment value, the number of flea flickers (and variations on the theme, Blough’s TD against the Packers wasn’t technically a flea flicker) brought an element of creativity that Jim Bob Cooter only pulled out when the stakes were as low as possible. Bevell’s willingness to take risks and timing on trick plays was a breath of fresh air this year.
- Packers game: 66 yards to Golladay on opening play
- Giants game: 41 yard touchdown to Golladay
- Packers pt. 2: Reverse pass back to David Blough for TD
Worst: The “trust me” timeout, Week 1
In my mind, the only real blemish for Bevell this year happened right at the start. Leading 24-16 and trying to put the game on ice. Stafford converted a short 3rd down dump-off to J.D. McKissic for a first down to essentially end it. That’s how it appeared for about two long seconds anyway, especially watching it with the sound turned off at Kelleher’s Bar & Grille.
The play got whistled dead, due to a late and unnecessary timeout call, the coaching staff couldn’t get their story straight on who even called it, and Stafford went back to the bench steaming.
On the true 3rd down play after the timeout, of course the Lions didn’t convert, and right then you kind of knew that Arizona was going to make them pay for the blunder, leading to the first Lions tie in over 30 years.