Schwartz gets the axe in Detroit

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Allen Park, MI ( - The Detroit Lions fired coach Jim Schwartz on Monday following a late-season meltdown

Detroit had a 6-3 record following a win in Chicago on Nov. 10, but lost six of its last seven games to finish a disappointing 7-9.

The Lions appeared to be a team on the rise after reaching the playoffs in 2011 with a 10-6 record behind a young nucleus. The club, however, won only four games the next season and squandered a prime opportunity to seize control of a weakened NFC North this year.

Detroit's two main rivals for the division title, Green Bay and Chicago, both played without their starting quarterbacks for extended stretches in the second half.

Schwartz took over the Lions in 2009 and inherited a team coming off the only 0-16 season in NFL history. He finished his five-year tenure with a 29-51 record and one winning season.

"When (Schwartz) got here in 2009, we were coming off an 0-16 season and we have come some distance since then, but the simple fact is that we have fallen short of the expectations of our ownership and those expectations are simple," said Lions president Tom Lewand at a Monday press conference.

"They very strongly want to bring a consistently winning football team to the fans of the city of Detroit, and we fell short of that and the decision that was made today was a direct reflection of falling short of that goal and, quite simply, we didn't win enough football games."

Finishing 2-14 in the first year under Schwartz, the team improved to 6-10 the following year before earning its first trip to the playoffs since 1999. The Lions lost at New Orleans in the wild card round.

The team showed flashes of its vast potential under Schwartz, especially on offense thanks to the quarterback-wide receiver tandem of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

However, the team was constantly plagued by sloppy play in the form of turnovers and bad penalties, along with numerous second-half collapses.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and wide receivers coach Tim Lappano were also fired.