For the second time in as many games, the Detroit Lions are winners on Monday.
After heading down to South Beach and facing the heat, the Lions are back to .500 in the standings, and the team is trending in the right direction to compete in a wide-open NFC North—a division in which the Chicago Bears have rightfully reclaimed their spot in the cellar.
On this Victory Monday, we’re asking the same thing we ask every Monday morning during the season:
Do you feel better, worse, or the same after the Lions’ win over the Dolphins?
My answer: Overall, I feel the same about the Lions after this win.
Detroit did plenty of impressive things against Miami, and I don’t want to have to be the one to ask this question, but are we sure the Dolphins are any good?
Here’s what I know I saw on Sunday that only reinforced what I think I already know about this team: The Lions defense was able to get some push and pressure on Brock Osweiler—they sacked him four times—but when they didn’t, Detroit’s secondary wasn’t quite up to the task. Osweiler made some pretty nice throws, but this secondary just isn’t the unit we thought it could be before this season. There’s still time, but I’m still waiting.
And while the Lions were mostly able to stifle the Dolphins’ rushing attack, the defense gave up another big gain on the ground: a 54-yard touchdown run by Kenyan Drake.
As for the positives, the Lions were able to prove to me—for the first time in like forever—that they can run the football. Not only is it a thing they can actually do, but it’s a thing they’re actually good at doing. For the first time in who knows when, the Detroit football Lions ran for more yards on the ground than what they passed for through the air. Kerryon Johnson is proving himself to be indispensable, rushing for 158 yards on just 19 carries. LeGarrete Blount had himself 10 carries for 50 yards, and it seems like Jim Bob Cooter might be figuring out the best way to handle this backfield.
Matthew Stafford may have had his best game of the season, not statistically, but he was spot-on with his throws—the absolute perfect pass to TJ Jones down the sideline comes to mind—and he took care of the football en route to another turnover free afternoon. When the Lions don’t turn the ball over, they’re going to be able to stay in just about any game they play, and Stafford’s 11 touchdown passes to just one interception since Week 2 is a testament to how that theory holds true.
So why do I feel the same? Well, No. 9 being clinical is nothing new, and Kerryon Johnson’s incredible ability out of the backfield is something everyone was simply waiting for the team to capitalize on at some point. But this defense is still suspect, and until they prove they can limit big plays on the ground—either due to contain issues or just plain bad instincts at the snap of the ball—it’s hard for me to feel much better about this team.
For now, this team is who we think they are, but if Matt Patricia and Co. can continue to get this defense more comfortable and familiar with this system, they might still have a corner left to turn, and that’s when I’ll start feeling better about this team and their chances.
How do you feel after the Lions’ Week 7 victory of the Dolphins?
This poll is closed
A lot better
A little better
A little worse
A lot worse