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Detroit Lions stock report: Flags, picks, drops and wins

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It was another heartache-inducing day for the Detroit Lions, and in a poorly officiated contest the team pushed ahead for their eighth comeback victory, and ninth win on the season.

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

I’m sick of fourth quarter comebacks. I’m sick of seeing the team losing in the fourth quarter. I’m sick of worrying about whether or not this team can pull ahead, having watched them for four quarters of struggle. I’m sick of an inconsistent defense that can’t prevent plays, an inconstant offense that can’t score points. What I’m not sick of? Winning. The Detroit Lions notched their ninth win of the season, setting an NFL record with their eighth come from behind victor and putting the team in perfect playoff position. With three games left to play, the Detroit Lions are firmly in the driver’s seat. Hype aside, we’ve got a stock report to kick off.

Stock Up: Marvin Jones, WR

Jones doesn’t pop off the stat sheet like you’d expect him to if he’s showing up here. He had a respectable four catches for 67 yards, including a bomb of a 48-yarder that he hauled in, with no drops on the day. More notable, and it doesn’t show up easily on the stat sheet, is that Jones drew three defensive penalties in coverage. Two pass interference penalties and a holding call helped set the team up in much better field position. Some times it’s not always in the catches and yards, it’s in the mistakes you force the opponent to make.

Stock Down: Tavon Wilson, SS

Wilson has had some great days and he’s had some terrible days. Consistency has been a big issue with the former Patriot, and today he seemed completely lost at times. On the Bears lone offensive touchdown drive, it was Wilson who gave up an inside pass where you could just see him struggling to stay close in coverage. It was then Wilson again who failed to cover deep while Slay was underneath Cameron Meredith, allowing the only touchdown Matt Barkley threw in the game. Wilson has had a lot asked of him this season and he’s done much better than anticipated, but games like this are not going to be remembered fondly.

Stock Up: Dwayne Washington, RB

Dwayne Washington has had his own shares of inconsistency and more than his fair share of bad days. This one was a tale of two halves, with Washington struggling with his vision and missing some opportunities early in the game. In the second half, the Bears lost their nose tackle in Eddie Goldman and that was just the little push that Washington needed. He was far better setting up his blocks on the outside, but I was more impressed with his runs up the middle. An upright runner, Washington was getting himself small through some barely-there holes the offensive line was creating. He was also keeping his feet moving throughout the game, most notably at the end of the first half where he was caught dead to rights three yards short of the sticks but kept pushing multiple defenders until he crossed the line. He did get a little help at the end of that play, but he was already past the sticks on his own. Statistically the day was just okay, 16 carries for 64 yards for an even 4.0 YPC. It was a very good game for a player who has had trouble establishing himself, however, and one to be proud of.

Stock Down: Taylor Decker/Riley Reiff, OT

We got a twofer. Decker has had a phenomenal year for a rookie tackle, while Reiff has been one of the best right tackles in the NFL over the team’s winning streak. This wasn’t a very good game for either, however, as they both struggled to maintain their blocks without getting too grabby. Matthew Stafford was getting jumpy fairly early in the game and it was a direct result of pressure he was getting from the edges. I’m not expecting this to become a trend from either player, but the Bears causing this much trouble wasn’t anticipated and really shouldn’t have been.

Stock Up: DeAndre Levy, LB

The fact that he played is enough to really put him in the stock up category, but what was more noticeable to me as I watched the game was that for the most part Levy was still pretty dang good. Now, I expect the scrutiny will be dialed up to 11, so it’s worth pointing out that he didn’t have a perfect game. On one screen (which he sniffed out and received no help), Levy was completely eaten up by his blocker and misjudged the direction the RB was going to cut. Outside of that play, I couldn’t find any instance in real time where Levy was the cause of anything negative, while he stood out several times positively for his play. Good to have the beard back, notable that he was off the field for nickel packages, but glad that he wasn’t a liability and was in fact a boon.

Stock Down: Anthony Zettel

Ho boy. If there was a worse player on the Detroit Lions on either side of the ball against the Chicago Bears, I would challenge you to compare their play to Anthony Zettel and come to the same conclusion. The rookie has struggled to set the edge on run plays this year, though he’s done some good work as a pass rusher, and this game was no different in that very broad regard. More granularity, however, and Zettel was absolutely dreadful against the run. He was directly responsible for each of the Bears’ big run plays and it was very clear they were game planning for running his direction. When Ezekiel Ansah returned to the field, the Bears tightened their game back up and stopped those plays quickly. Zettel is a liability in the run game, this was just a perfect example of why.

Quick Hits

Stock Up

Adairius Barnes, CB: Barnes didn’t get a whole lot of action, but he wasn’t abused in the plays he was in and had at least one that was notably good. Someone to watch.
Anquan Boldin, WR: Matthew Stafford hurting his hand is generally bad news and his passes weren’t on target after that. Didn’t matter for Boldin, who still made crazy plays.
Don Carey, FS: Carey came back from injury, which is always good. Didn’t make much flash, but that’s generally okay for a special teamer as long as you don’t make mistakes.
Joe Dahl, OG: Dahl was active for the first time in many weeks. He likely only played on special teams, so I have little to say, but seeing time active a move in the right direction.
Kerry Hyder, DE: Notching his eighth sack of the season was nice, but Hyder played a much better second half than his first. Made up a lot of ground over that span.
Matt Prater, K: Matt Prater nailed his sixth 50+ yard field goal, putting him second in Lions history for field goals of that range made in a season. Only two to tie Jason Hanson.
Glover Quin, FS: No flash from Quin in this one, but a solid game overall keeping the coverage units where they should have been. Did his job pretty well, very vocal.
Matthew Stafford, QB: Now in sole possession of the record for most comeback victories in a single season, Stafford played through injury and bad protection tow win.
Khyri Thornton, DT: I’m not sure if Thornton played well, but I’m giving him the nod anyway for helping console an obviously frustrated Ziggy Ansah after his injury. I’m not sure what was said, but Ansah later returned to the field and played well down the stretch.
Tahir Whitehead, LB: Almost was the name of the game for Whitehead, as he almost broke the game several times. Still played well, even if he missed opportunities.
Zach Zenner, RB: News of a possible concussion may move him in the other category, but when he was rushing he did well except for one obvious, glaring, stupid mistake.

Stock Down

Joique Bell, RB: His first game back and he’s already in the down category. Bell had a penalty on special teams and a negative pass play to his credit. Not good.
Graham Glasgow, OC: Maybe center isn’t his natural position? Glasgow didn’t have a great day and while he wasn’t helped out by his linemates it was below his play at LG.
Asa Jackson, CB: Expectations weren’t high for the newly signed Jackson, but even those low expectations weren’t met. Routinely abused by Matt Barkley.
TJ Jones, WR: Goes from having a career day to being inactive. Had to sting a bit.
Miles Killebrew, SS: He’s had a string of great games, but ended up completely blanked against the Bears. I know he played, saw him a lot, but he had no impact positively.
Sam Martin, P: So he had a great punt in the game, and generally that would even it out. But he had a touchback that was probably his worst punt of the season.
Andre Roberts, WR: Had one nice return, but it was sprung by a block in the back. Bad decision making on a later punt and miscommunication as a receiver lands him here.
Golden Tate, WR: Not a severe knock on him as his day was alright mostly. Tate did seem to be a bit frustrated as the game wore on and a deflected pass by Tate led to Stafford’s red zone pick.
Laken Tomlinson, OG: I didn’t see anything positive from Tomlinson and while I didn’t see too much poor play, those were the only plays I remembered.
Antwione Williams, LB: Levy back in the lineup and playing well spells bad things for Williams’ playing time.

Unchanged

Ezekiel Ansah, DE: Not that he played well or terrible, he played pretty meh. I feel his value has bottomed out until he fully heals from that ankle injury.
Johnson Bademosi, CB: I never noticed him in this one, good or bad.
Rafael Bush, SS: Bush dropped what could have been a huge interception, but this was a pretty quiet day from him.
Josh Bynes, LB: Bynes didn’t have a good day, but his two worst plays were largely the fault of Zettel failing so spectacularly. His play late in the game helped make up for earlier mistakes.
Stefan Charles, DT: I struggled with watching the tackles against Chicago, so I can’t assign much blame if they played poorly. Didn’t see anything that stood out for Charles.
Brandon Copeland, DE: I couldn’t have pointed out Copeland on any play, if he even had any. He was active, though, so I’m fairly sure he saw time somewhere.
Eric Ebron, TE: Ebron had a couple plays that were really nice and you could tell he’s really come along nicely. Then he had his worst drop of the season. Hit or miss.
Nevin Lawson, CB: Got burnt on a comeback after Barkley sat in the pocket for an hour, but actually played a pretty strong game overall. Dropped a pick, though.
Matthew Mulligan, TE: He’s a guy that exists on this football team. I know, I’ve seen him play.
Haloti Ngata, DT: Ngata played pretty well when I saw him, but I don’t feel it exceeded what we’ve gotten used to so far. Steady game at a relatively high level.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT: Had a nice, smooth TFL early in the game, but leveled it out with some bad play lined up with Zettel on a big run given up. Up and down game.
Darius Slay, CB: Inconsistent game from Slay, though poor play from Wilson made it look worse than it was.
Devin Taylor, DE: The bar is pretty low and Taylor cleared it.
Tyrunn Walker, DT: I’m fairly certain he played. Man, this DT unit was quiet.
Larry Warford, OG: Was a quiet day from Warford, feel he may move up upon rewatch but nothing to move the sticks now.

Coaches

Jim Caldwell, HC: Stock Down

How you can manage to game plan for Drew Brees and the Saints so well in one week then come out completely flat against the 3-9, Matt Barkley led Bears is beyond me. Unlike last week, this was a poorly planned game that was also poorly executed. Had it not been for late game gifts from the officiating crew, it’s very likely the game could have been pushed into overtime or even lost. There were more instances of bad play calls than I can list here, but it’s a marvel this game was coached as it was and yielded a victory.

Jim Bob Cooter, OC: Stock Down

In one of his most inconsistently called contests to date, we saw a Jekyll and Hyde offense out of Cooter from a play calling perspective all game. A few newly installed additions to the offense (Guerrero) were not planned out well nor executed well on the field. Fluky turnovers aside, the Bears defense was all over Matthew Stafford from the first whistle and Cooter had no real answer.

Teryl Austin, DC: Stock Up

As poorly run as the offense was, I never really got that impression from the defense. The blitzes looked well drawn up and disguised fairly well, while most of the breakdowns appear to be more execution problems than play design. Also of note, despite one of his injury replacements (Jackson) being well out of his league, another (Barnes) seemed to understand his role and despite being given an opportunity to make a big play himself he stuck to his assignment because the play had a safety coming up underneath. That’s good coaching even though most would miss it, and while Rafael Bush dropped that interception, had it been a catch, Barnes was in position to kill the play.

Joe Marciano, ST: Stock Down

We’ve come to expect a lot from Joe Marciano, who has done a lot with a very talented unit. This game was full of little mistakes by the special teams unit. Martin finally had a bad punt (I guess he’s been long overdue), Roberts fielding a punt late, then allowing it to continue rolling despite a bad bounce, and Joique Bell having to block in the back to spring Roberts return early on. As a unit, it wasn’t the best effort and some of that is likely due to preparation.