With job secure, Patricia leads Lions into Denver

A seven-game losing streak didn’t deter Detroit Lions ownership from keeping the status quo.Head coach Matt Patricia doesn’t have worry about his fate, regardless of how the team fares on the road Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Owner Martha Firestone Ford announced this week Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn would return next season.It’s an unpopular move among long-suffering fans. Patricia is essentially being given a free pass due to a laundry list of injuries that have decimated the team’s core.”It’s a process that we’re trying to go through, to get the team to a highly competitive level that can sustain and be consistent and handle the ebbs and flows of an NFL season and the injuries and the rest of it,” Patricia said. “It’s something that we’re trying to lay a foundation for. I think we’ve seen some strides that we’ve made with the team this year. We obviously need to build and improve upon that going forward.”The Lions (3-10-1) will stagger into Denver with backups and free agents signed during the course of the season manning key positions.Franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has missed six consecutive games due to fractured bones in his back, was finally placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday. He joins 14 other players on that list, including backup quarterback Jeff Driskel, top linebacker Jarrad Davis, top No. 1 tight end T.J. Hockenson and starting receiver Marvin Jones.”We obviously need to add some pieces, and we need to get better, and we need to improve and hopefully stay a little bit more healthy than where we’re at right now,” Patricia said. “And I think those things will build on top of each other from there.”Detroit rookie third-string quarterback David Blough is 0-3 as a starter. He passed for 260 yards in a 38-17 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, though he was picked off twice. He has thrown three scoring passes and five interceptions and been sacked nine times since he was forced into action.Running back Wes Hills, who was signed off the practice squad, scored both Detroit touchdowns.The Broncos (5-9) are also playing out the string, though they’ve shown signs of life with rookie Drew Lock at quarterback. Lock threw a combined five touchdown passes in wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and the Houston Texans during his first two starts.He and the rest of the offense were shut down in a 23-3 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. Lock was limited to 208 passing yards and was intercepted once.