Film review: Welcome back, defensive line!

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Our film review recaps the Detroit Lions defensive line's impressive game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Last week, I worried about the Detroit Lions' defensive line and their pass rushing struggles. They had been a complete non-factor for all of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, this week, the defensive line was huge in holding Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys in check. That may seem strange in a game where the Lions managed zero sacks and forced zero turnovers, but it's absolutely true. And most of the pressure came at the hands of the defensive tackles.

Let's start with the enigma that is Nick Fairley. Fairley has been invisible almost all season. He has only 7 solo tackles on the season and 1.5 sacks. On Sunday, Fairley only added 2 tackles to that total, but I still think this was his coming-out game.

Fairley_2

Fairley takes advantage of the double teams that Ndamukong Suh (right) and Ziggy Ansah (left DT) draw. Fairley makes a quick inside move, gets held, fights through it anyway... and crushes Romo:

Fairley_1

Romo goes flying, flailing his arm in the air. I'm not sure why he flails his arm in the air, so I added a white flag to make it seem more realistic. The rushed pass falls incomplete, and the Cowboys are forced to punt.

Later in the first quarter, Fairley displayed his quickness, much to Romo's dismay.

Fairley_smash_2

Fairley runs a simple stunt, while Willie Young occupies the offensive tackle. Fairley also uses Young as a pick for the guard trying to keep Fairley at bay. It works, and Fairley is home free.

Fairley_smash_2

Again, this came on a third down. Again, it forced an inaccurate, incomplete pass. Again, the Cowboys were forced to punt.

Nick Fairley was so dominant in this game that even his doppelganger, C.J. Mosley, got in on the action.

Mosely_1_medium

Mosley, too, was the benefactor of a Suh double-team. As you can see above, Mosley raises his hand to slap the guard's hands away from him. This is a textbook use of the club maneuver to knock the guard's arms away and slip by him.

Mosely_2_medium

Notice how the offensive guard has no leverage with his arms because of the clubbing. Mosley has a direct path to the quarterback, which means one thing:

Mosely_3_medium

...dead Romo. Again, the pressure forces an inaccurate pass to Dez Bryant. And after the Cowboys are forced to settle for three, it's clear they are frustrated:

Dezmad_medium_medium

Defensive line pressure was key in holding the Dallas offense at bay while Detroit was struggling to hold on to the ball. They held Romo to just 88 yards passing through three quarters. Without the strong play from their defensive tackles, the Lions would have likely found themselves down a lot more than 10 points in the fourth quarter. So while we're all congratulating Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford for their heroics, don't forget to give the defense a pat on the back for giving those two the opportunity to shine.

More from Pride Of Detroit:

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Pride Of Detroit

You must be a member of Pride Of Detroit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pride Of Detroit. You should read them.

Join Pride Of Detroit

You must be a member of Pride Of Detroit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pride Of Detroit. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker