There weren’t a lot of positives to pull from the Detroit Lions’ Week 8 performance. Their 28-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks was truly a team effort. Detroit lost in all three phases of the game, and there were only a handful of individuals that could walk off that field on Sunday happy with their performance.
As such, here are two winners and four losers from Sunday’s game.
Winner: Damon Harrison Sr.
Let’s start out with the positives, because I’m guessing Lions fans are in need of some good news. “Snacks” lived up to his billing despite playing on a short week (Giants played on Monday) and only participating in two practices with the Lions.
He may not have been able to “fix” the Lions’ entire run defense problem, but the Lions were visibly better when Harrison was in the game. He finished with a team-high seven solo tackles and even picked up a sack. Harrison only had 5.5 career sacks prior to Sunday.
Loser: Ameer Abdullah
With Theo Riddick sidelined for the past couple weeks, this has been Ameer Abdullah’s chance to shine and potentially earn himself a job next year when his rookie deal is up. Unfortunately, Abdullah hasn’t made much of these opportunities.
As the Lions’ de facto kick returner now that Jamal Agnew is on IR, Abdullah fumbled on his first opportunity Sunday. That fumble set off a chain reaction of poor plays that turned a 7-0 lead into a 21-7 deficit by the end of the half. In the NFL, you need to make the most of your opportunities, no matter how limited those chances are. Abdullah is making the wrong impression right now.
Loser: Teez Tabor
If Tabor truly took a step in the right direction last week against the Dolphins, he took two steps backward against the Seahawks. Seattle didn’t have to throw the ball all that often on Sunday, but when they did, Russell Wilson seemed to enjoy targeting Tabor.
Tabor was one of three defensive backs to allow a touchdown on a contested catch, and I really could have put the other two—Quandre Diggs, Nevin Lawson—in the same place here. However, Tabor also allowed a few more catches on the day and had yet another devastating penalty that ended up extending a Seahawks drive.
Winner: Marvin Jones Jr.
Marvin entered Week 8 third on the team in receiving yards (270) and fourth in receptions (19), but he had a breakout game against the Seahawks. Jones consistently found himself behind coverage, and when Matthew Stafford was able to find him, Jones made Seattle pay. Jones caught seven passes on the day for 117 yards, and he was responsible for both of the Lions’ touchdowns. He also drew a huge 56-yard pass interference call.
Loser: Matthew Stafford
For the first three quarters of the game, Stafford was far from the team’s biggest problem. However, when Detroit’s defense finally stood up late in the game and opened the door for one of Stafford’s patented comebacks, the Lions quarterback dropped the ball... literally.
After a huge fourth-down stop, and then a three-and-out from the defense, the Lions had a real chance to make it a one-score game. Instead, Stafford simply dropped the ball on a scramble, gifting the Seahawks a possession. The defense would stand up yet again, and after that huge pass interference penalty, the Lions had another shot to get within a touchdown. Stafford tried to force a play—on first down—and threw a game-sealing interception.
For as good as Stafford has been in fourth downs, he absolutely cost the team two golden opportunities to get back in the game late.
Loser: Lions run defense
The Seahawks were able to dictate the pace of the entire game thanks to an extremely efficient rushing attack for the first three quarters of the game. Seattle had 95 rushing yards in the first half alone, and Detroit seemed to have absolutely no answer for them.
While Detroit didn’t give up a single big play on the ground—Seattle’s longest run was just 12 yards—but in a lot of ways, that’s worse. That means the Seahawks were able to hit their efficiency (4.2 YPC on the day) with consistent gains that put their offense ahead of the sticks.
“Snacks” is likely to play more snaps as the season goes on, but it’s clear Detroit’s run defense problems are a little more complicated than one player to be the cure.