ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell was willing to talk about some things during his Monday press conference -- his first since losing on a Hail Mary to the Green Bay Packers last Thursday night.
The Hail Mary, the one where the Lions failed defensively in almost every way, was not one of them.
“Now some of you will ask me some questions from last Thursday,” Caldwell said during his opening statement. “I’m not going back there. I’m going that way, forward focus. And it might not be appeasing to you, appealing to you but the fact is that you have to get focused in on St. Louis in a hurry.”
That didn’t mean there weren’t a lot of questions about what went wrong on the 61-yard Hail Mary touchdown from Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers that gave the Packers a 27-23 win over the Lions and ended any slim hope of Detroit having back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the mid-1990s.
So what went wrong Thursday?
“Just like I mentioned to you a little earlier, you’re not going to be happy with the fact that we’re not going to tell you exactly what all our conversations were,” Caldwell said. “What we did do, what we didn’t do, what we should have done better, all those kinds of things. But we go through them, every single aspect.”
The most basic question was why Caldwell thought the Packers would be running a lateral play instead of a potential Hail Mary, which he admitted after the Detroit loss Thursday evening. This, despite the fact that the Packers had just run a lateral play on the final timed play of the game, and if not for Devin Taylor’s face mask penalty, it would have been stopped 76 yards from the end zone.
“You know, you can look at it a thousand different ways,” Caldwell said. “It’s when it doesn’t work, obviously, you just pick the opposite side, like, 'hey, they should have done this, should have done that.' That’s for you to say. For us to agonize over, you know what I mean.
"... You can take a number of different approaches and those kinds of things. Doesn’t mean you’re right or wrong. It could have happened the other way around. They could have run something and scored or not scored, whatever.”
Caldwell would not say why the Lions did not have Ezekiel Ansah rush the passer -- instead, having him lined up on the boundary essentially out of the play even though he was on the field. He wouldn’t answer whether the Lions would use the same package on future Hail Mary plays. He wouldn’t say whose idea it was for the Hail Mary failure call, either.
But overall, Caldwell did take blame for the overall failure.
“Anything that happens in a ball game, everything, all right, I don’t care what it is,” Caldwell said. “It comes through me. I’m in charge. I’m responsible.”