Matthew Stafford 'caught off-guard' by benching in loss to Cardinals

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell told quarterback Matthew Stafford at halftime that he would be pulled from the game if he threw one more interception during Sunday's loss to the Cardinals.

Stafford threw a pick on the Lions' first series of the second half, was benched and apparently was surprised by what happened.

"I was a little caught off-guard, to be honest," Stafford told the Detroit Free Press on Monday. "I went out there and tried to play aggressive. We're down 21 points. Try and get us back in the ballgame. Tried to make a big play to Calvin Johnson, and obviously Patrick Peterson made a good play, intercepted the football ... and I got to watch the rest of the night.

"Not something I'm accustomed to being around."

That was the first time in his NFL career that Stafford had been pulled from a game for performance. He had completed 20 of 32 passes for 188 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions before backup Dan Orlovsky replaced him in the third quarter.

Stafford told the Free Press that watching from the sideline is "obviously not a situation I want to be part of ever again."

Caldwell reiterated Monday that there is no quarterback controversy and Stafford will remain the team's starting quarterback as the 0-5 Lions face the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Stafford has thrown more interceptions, eight, than any other quarterback in the NFL.

The benching doesn't mean Stafford is on a shorter leash; "he's never been on any sort of a leash, and he won't be in the future," Caldwell said. But he pulled Stafford because there was no spark to the offense in Sunday's 42-17 loss to the Cardinals. "That's the way I felt at that time," Caldwell said.

Caldwell expressed faith that Stafford can fix the problems he is having.

"Certainly. Obviously, it's one game, you know," Caldwell said. "I think he's certainly more than capable of straightening those things out."