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Lions-Steelers snap counts: Detroit gets more out of Ezekiel Ansah, Michael Roberts

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A breakdown of the Lions’ snap distribution for “Sunday Night Football.”

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at the Detroit Lions’ snap counts from their Week 8 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Offense:

Quarterbacks

Matthew Stafford: 71 snaps (100%)

Running backs

Ameer Abdullah: 32 (45%)
Theo Riddick: 30 (42%)
Dwayne Washington: 14 (20%) — 12 special teams snaps (44%)
Jamal Agnew: 1 (1%)

“Fullback”

Nick Bellore: 1 (1%)

Tight ends

Darren Fells: 45 (63%) — 8 (30%)
Eric Ebron: 34 (48%)
Michael Roberts: 19 (27%) — 11 (41%)

Wide receivers

Marvin Jones Jr.: 68 (96%)
TJ Jones: 52 (73%)
Golden Tate: 44 (62%)
Jared Abbrederis: 13 (18%) — 8 (30%)
Jace Billingsley: 2 (3%)

Offensive tackles

Brian Mihalik: 71 (100%) — 5 (19%)
Rick Wagner: 61 (86%) — 4 (15%)
Dan Skipper: 10 (14%) — 5 (19%)

Guards/centers

Travis Swanson: 71 (100%) — 5 (19%)
Graham Glasgow: 71 (100%) — 5 (19%)
T.J. Lang: 71 (100%) — 5 (19%)
Tim Lelito: 0 (0%) — 6 (22%)

Observations:

  • It’s pretty clear the Lions didn’t want to rush Golden Tate into a full game’s worth of snaps. His 62 percent of playing time is the lowest as a Lion since he was benched last year against the Bears.
  • Congratulations to Jace Billingsley on his first ever playing time in the NFL. Unfortunately, we only got to see him for two snaps out there.
  • We saw a sharp incline in playing time for rookie tight end Michael Roberts. Roberts only had five offensive snaps in each of the two previous games. He had 19 against the Steelers. Could the Lions be preparing for life without Eric Ebron?

Defense:

Defensive end

Anthony Zettel: 50 (78%)
Ezekiel Ansah: 47 (73%)
Cornelius Washington: 26 (41%) — 4 (15%)
Jeremiah Valoaga: 14 (22%) — 2 (7%)

Defensive tackle

Akeem Spence: 48 (75%)
A’Shawn Robinson: 46 (72%) — 4 (15%)
Jeremiah Ledbetter: 15 (23%) — 9 (33%)
Khyri Thornton: 10 (16%) — 4 (15%)

Linebackers

Jarrad Davis: 64 (100%) — 4 (15%)
Tahir Whitehead: 47 (73%) — 4 (15%)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 22 (34%) — 17 (63%)
Nick Bellore: 15 (23%) — 22 (81%)
Steve Longa: 0 (0%) — 18 (67%)

Cornerbacks

Darius Slay: 63 (98%) — 4 (15%)
Quandre Diggs: 42 (66%) — 10 (37%)
Nevin Lawson: 27 (42%) — 12 (44%)
DJ Hayden: 23 (36%) — 2 (7%)
Jamal Agnew: 0 (0%) — 18 (67%)

Safety

Glover Quin: 64 (100%) — 4 (15%)
Tavon Wilson: 64 (100%)
Miles Killebrew: 17 (27%) — 18 (67%)
Don Carey: 0 (0%) — 22 (81%)
Charles Washington: 0 (0%) — 18 (67%)

Observations:

  • There was a pretty big shift in snap distribution among defensive ends. The Lions’ starters stayed out there much longer than normal. Both Anthony Zettel and Ezekiel Ansah played a season-high percentage of snaps at 75 and 72 percent respectively. Both hadn’t played over 64 percent of snaps prior to this game. This is a good sign for Ansah’s health, but a bad one for Detroit’s depth at the position.
  • Congrats to this week’s Iron Men: Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson and Jarrad Davis played in all 64 defensive snaps this week.
  • After a slow start to the game, Nevin Lawson saw a pretty significant decrease in playing time. His 42.2 percent of playing time was his lowest of the year.
  • Interesting to see the Lions sideline Charles Washington for the entire game. He had been Detroit’s go-to coverage safety on third downs, but it’s clear the Lions were selling out on stopping the run against Pittsburgh. This wasn’t the case where Miles Killebrew saw an increase in playing time—he didn’t. Instead, it was the run-stopping Wilson who saw the bump in snaps. This was only the second time all season Wilson played every snap (Panthers).