Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has missed Brandon Pettigrew.
Tight end Pettigrew has missed the last two games because of a high ankle sprain he sustained in the first quarter of the December 9th loss against the Green Bay Packers.
"He's a really good player. Obviously he's a really good blocker in the run game and the pass game for us when he's called on to block. In the receiving game he had 57 catches before he was injured, so he's a guy in the red zone we relied on a lot and as a chain mover, too," said Stafford.
Pettigrew is the team's second-leading receiver with 57 catches for 556 yards. With receivers Nate Burleson, Titus Young, and Ryan Broyles, he was the team's most consistent receiver outside of Calvin Johnson.
Over the past two weeks the Lions have missed Pettigrew's size advantage on third down and especially in the red zone. During the season Pettigrew has 15 third down receptions for 136 yards with a touchdown. Of those 15 catches, 11 resulted in first downs. All three of Pettigrew's touchdowns occurred in the red zone, one on third down.
"Any time you have a tight end that's a mismatch for other team it's a bonus. On third down that's a short throw to have to make. Most of the time he's somewhere in front of you and with his body size and hands he creates tough matchups on third down in the red zone," said Stafford.
Head coach Jim Schwartz said there has been no change in Pettigrew's status. He did not practice on Wednesday.
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