After the weekend of games around the league for Week 1, the Lions rookie running back was named one of the top goats in the league by Peter King of NBC Sports. In a Football Morning in America piece, King came after Swift pretty harshly following his drop in the end zone.
Here’s what he wrote:
“The second-round rookie from Georgia lost his first NFL game. No exaggeration there. Down 27-23 with six seconds to play, Swift got behind two Chicago defenders and Matthew Stafford found him with a perfect strike in Swift’s chest—and the ball bounced haplessly off Swift’s hands in the end zone. Lots of players contributed to the outcome of their games. But the painful truth about this stunning dropped ball by an open D’Andre Swift is simple: If he catches it, the Lions win. But he dropped it, and the Lions lost.”
It is simple, yet so much more complicated than that. Had the Lions defense not fallen apart in awful fashion, they may have never been in position to depend on Swift catching a late pass. Had kicker Matt Prater been 10 yards closer, the offense may have merely needed a chip shot field goal in the final minutes. Had the team been not so dinged up, perhaps they would have had more players to make a key play here and there on both sides of the ball in a close game.
It’s easy to blame Swift himself for the loss, but it should be much easier to realize that while his play was the most magnified, it wasn’t the only reason Detroit lost the game. There were plenty of other goats to go around, even if he seemed like the biggest to those on the outside.
Damon Harrison Stands up for D’Andre Swift
Harrison, a former defensive tackle for the Lions, doesn’t want Detroit fans to be too harsh on their new rookie. After the game, Harrison hopped on Twitter to defend Swift after the mistake, urging fans to be patient with their young player who made a mistake.
Build the rookie up Lions fans. Don’t tear him down. You’re going to need him soon. I know y’all been through a lot but he’ll need the support. Season is young.
— Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) September 13, 2020
What Harrison said is true. After the game, Matt Patricia said he consoled Swift and said he emphasized it wasn’t all his fault. The hope is the fans forgive the rookie runner who still figures to have a very bright future with the Lions in Detroit.
We’ll see how the fans react to Swift and his tough moment this week.
Watch D’Andre Swift’s Key Drop
After scoring a touchdown early in the game, Swift had a chance to endear himself further to Detroit fans when the Lions were driving trying to take the lead late against the Chicago Bears . Instead of securing the game with the touchdown, Swift simply dropped the ball.
Here’s a look at the play:
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 13, 2020
The ball was right in the hands of Swift, he secured it and looked to be in, but at the end, he just flat out dropped the pass. It was a heartbreaking end for the Lions who blew another season opener in the late stages just like in 2019.
Safe to say this was not the start anyone wanted to Swift’s Detroit career.
Adrian Peterson Consoles D’Andre Swift After Drop
After Swift dropped the game winning pass in the end zone, Peterson had nothing but positive words to build up the young running back. As he said, he didn’t want to see the unfortunate drop define Swift, who has a chance to help the team out this season so long as he can keep grinding.
Adrian Peterson on Swift: “I just pulled him to the side and told him, ‘Hey, it’s all about how you respond to this. Don’t let this get you down.’ I can imagine how he must feel. But at the end of the day … he’s going to be able to help us. He’s going to help us win games.”
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) September 13, 2020
All told, this is just another great show of leadership for Peterson, who is saying and doing all the right things after his team suffered a tough loss. Having been there before in the NFL, Peterson likely knows all too well the frustrations of Swift and wants to make sure he stays on the right track.
A show like this could mean a lot to the team moving forward, and it’s nice to see Peterson taking a leadership role on multiple fronts so soon after he signed with the team.
For the most part, many are showing the rookie compassion after his first NFL mistake. It certainly was a ‘welcome to the league’ moment he won’t forget.