The Detroit Lions squeeked out a victory against a woeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers team in true Lions fashion. After leading most of the game and holding onto a 14-point lead, the team let the Bucs claw their way back into the game with repeated defensive collapses. They would tighten up, however, and hold off the Bucs while scoring a final-minute field goal to put the game out of reach. With so many ups and downs, it’s no surprise there’s plenty of guys trending in opposite directions after this Week 14 match-up.
Stock Up: Quandre Diggs, CB
beautiful forced fumble by Quandre Diggs pic.twitter.com/cKqCniJ76i— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) December 10, 2017
Quandre Diggs has been the Lions starting nickelback since his rookie year after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 Draft. Since that time, he had never recorded an interception, but made his first while playing strong safety against the Buccaneers on an overthrown Jameis Winston pass. It wasn’t Diggs’ only good play of the day, however, and his whole day was largely positive. He had a few negative moments in coverage, but when you force multiple turnovers in a game you are doing your job well in the NFL.
Stock Down: Anthony Zettel, DE
So true. Sometimes it's good to stay home. Misdirection has killed him. Love his energy, but he needs to do his job.— Jeff Munson (@jmunson6) December 9, 2017
Though he leads the Lions in sacks this season, Anthony Zettel has simply had too many “almost” plays to make all his play of late effective. After looking like he’d turned a corner in the run game early this season, he seems to be back to his rookie-year woes when there’s any kind of play action involved. He either loses the RB or he bites down so hard he leaves a clean and easy pocket. This was yet another game where the Lions were unable to provide any kind of pass rush and it’s not clear how many more of these the team can pull out victories from.
Stock Up: Eric Ebron, TE
Eric Ebron with 7 catches for 73 yards in first half. His career high is 8 catches for 93 yards. #DETvsTB— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) December 10, 2017
You’d think that in a game where he records his first career fumble we’d be talking about how bad it is for Ebron. Instead, we can talk about how he caught a career-high 10 of 11 targets for another career high of 94 yards. Ebron was Stafford’s most reliable target all game, and had the Buccaneers shaken so badly that they started double-covering him in the fourth quarter. Ebron missed one key block on the day on a Theo Riddick misdirection, but his impact leading the team in receptions and yardage is incredible when viewed in the lens of how his season started.
Stock Down: Jarrad Davis, LB
Jarrad Davis just can not get off a block today— Redruckus81 (@Redruckus81) December 10, 2017
With no pass rush again, it’s no surprise Jarrad Davis fell into some of his bad habits. He struggled to get off of blocks routinely throughout the day, dropped what should have been his first career interception on a pass deflected right to him and struggled in almost every area. His potential still flashed, even in a bad game, when he showed how explosive he can be on a blitz where he forced a fumble that was recovered by Tahir Whitehead. The day as a whole, however, was not a good one.
Stock Up: Theo Riddick, RB
Riddick led the team in rushing with only 10 carries for 29 yards, but he also led the team in scoring with a pair of touchdowns including a neat 18-yard rush. Riddick was also back to his old tricks in the passing game, with six catches for 64 yards. Riddick is one of the most dangerous players on the football field when he’s in the zone, and in each of the past two seasons it has seemed like any day the Lions can get both he and Eric Ebron involved they play off of each other and bust out big plays.
Stock Down: Teez Tabor, CB
Whew, Tabor got really lucky Jameis threw such a bad pass. Got smoked at the line by Evans.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) December 10, 2017
The rookie second rounder has been getting more playing time and while he showed some promise last week there was little to take away positively in this one. It started out well against Mike Evans, but Tabor was absolutely destroyed by him later on a play that should have been an easy long catch and run, bailed out by Jameis Winston’s erratic passing. Later, he would whiff both in coverage and while trying to tackle his man. With Nevin Lawson falling out of favor and Quandre Diggs moving to safety, it seemed like the Lions were giving the green light to Tabor to show his potential. Instead, we’re seeing why he hasn’t played most of the season.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE - Quiet for most of the game, Ansah came up big in the game’s final moments to sack Jameis Winston and put a bow on the Lions victory.
Taylor Decker, OT - Penalties need to be cleaned up, but it was nice seeing Taylor Decker largely back to form as a pass blocker. Stafford was upright all game.
Graham Glasgow, OG - Glasgow has really turned a corner after looking like he didn’t even belong in the NFL to start the season. He keeps getting better in the passing game.
Kenny Golladay, WR - Golladay didn’t get his normal deep work, and he only had three catches. One of them, however, was a clutch pass late in the game to get a crucial first down, so he’s up here.
Marvin Jones, WR - Jones has been having a field day as a deep threat and it seems like his 60+ yards a game is automatic now.
T.J. Lang, OG - We’ve harped on his rough play the last couple of weeks, but even before Gerald McCoy went down Lang was stonewalling Bucs defenders.
Matt Prater, K - He’s back, we’re happy.
Glover Quin, FS - I think I may have run out of positive adjectives to describe how awesome Glover Quin is, so feel free to leave me some more in the comments.
Michael Roberts, TE - Roberts has been slowly improving this year, and while I don’t think a breakout is imminent, it’s a good sign for 2018 and beyond.
Corey Robinson, OT - Back out at tackle, Robinson looked better than he had at guard. He was easily the Lions worst OL in this one, but a solid performance.
Darius Slay, CB - An injury scare put us all on edge, but Slay once again came up with a difficult interception that most corners would never have made.
Matthew Stafford, QB - His two picks were dumb, but outside of those you would be hard-pressed to find much to complain about with Stafford in this game.
Travis Swanson, OC - Swanson has been very bad this year, but this wasn’t a game he struggled much in, at least in the passing game. Run game was poor, but small steps.
Golden Tate, WR - Another day, another long Golden Tate YAC play that sets up his team to score late in the game. The rest of his day was solid, but late game he shined.
Ameer Abdullah, RB - After a neck injury has kept him out, it now appears Abdullah is being benched to allow someone else a shot at the Lions backfield.
Kasim Edebali, DE - Giving up a touchdown on one of your few snaps on the field is usually not a good sign. Should he have been in coverage in the first place? Probably not.
Dwight Freeney, DE - Freeney was brought in to inject something into this pass rush, but the only thing he’s added is his name to lists like these ones.
Tion Green, RB - Green crashed back to earth a bit in this game after he was much hyped coming into it. He carried the ball five times for only 15 yards and wasn’t even given a look at the goal line.
D.J. Hayden, CB - One of the most inconsistent players on the team, Hayden made a few good plays and almost landed up top, but a horrid pass interference call to set up a Bucs TD is unforgivable.
TJ Jones, WR - Jones fumbled one of his returns, which is no bueno. He also had three punt returns for 16 yards, but his longest return was 17 yards. So there’s that.
Miles Killebrew, SS - It isn’t so much a benching as it is simply being passed over. When Wilson went down, it was Killebrew’s chance to step up, but for whatever reason, he’s riding pine much of the game.
Sam Martin, P - We don’t see Sam on here much, but playing hampered by a foot injury can make your punter look pretty poor.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB - Linebacker work was, in general, fairly poor in this game and the rookie mid round pick was no exception despite sharing a sack with D.J. Hayden.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT - The interior of the Lions defensive front did very little to slow the Bucs rushing attack, aside from a single goal line stand (that didn’t ultimately prevent points).
Akeem Spence, DT - The Akeem Spence revenge game didn’t really amount to much, did it?
Cornelius Washington, DE - Washington had about as good of a day as the other Lions defensive lineman, which is why he’s down here and not up there.
Zach Zenner, RB - Zenner isn’t going to get many touches, and the Lions called some pretty poor plays when he finally did, but netting no gain on the day is poor.
Jim Caldwell, Head Coach: Stock Down
Job on the line, Caldwell came into the game hotter than he has all season. Once he held a single-score margin, the play calling completely changed and it was back to watching the team trying not to lose rather than trying to win. As efficient as Stafford and some of the other players were on offense, you would have thought this game was a blowout victory and not a nail biter where the team had to march down to win on a final minute field goal. Caldwell managed a victory, but playing down to some extremely poor competition isn’t going to find you winning games in January.
Jim Bob Cooter, Offensive Coordinator: Stock Up
I’m a sucker for a well executed game plan and the strength of the Lions in this one was easily their offense. Utilizing an Eric Ebron/Theo Riddick game plan has found success for Cooter before, but this was probably the best use of the two in a single game. Rather than finding out how to design a stronger run game, Cooter almost completely abandoned it and used play action to set up the secondary defenders rather than any actual threat of a RB getting the ball. Turnovers prevented this game from being much more highly-lauded, but Cooter was able to keep a bad defense on their heels all game.
Teryl Austin, Defensive Coordinator: Stock Down
Some excellent flash plays will get replayed all week, but the game plan as a whole wasn’t designed or executed well by Austin’s group, particularly late in the game. Once again we saw a team get a free touchdown in the end zone by running play action and throwing to whichever guy is being covered by a pass rusher. We even saw him give up a game-tying touchdown to an offensive lineman. The Buccaneers offense has struggled all season, and while Austin’s opportunistic group was able to force a large amount of turnovers to keep the game close, there were also moments where they were bailed out simply by the Bucs (mainly Jameis Winston) simply being inept.
Joe Marciano, Special Teams Coordinator: Stock Up
Nothing went wrong on the day from a coaching perspective and I think Marciano handled the injury to Sam Martin fairly well. We’ve seen teams completely screw up an injury to a specialist, but there wasn’t much to talk about with Joe Marciano in this one.