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Detroit Lions Unsung Hero of the Week: Guardians of the record books

The Lions defense wasn’t all that sharp Sunday, but they shut down Adam Thielen to keep a Calvin Johnson record alive for a little bit longer.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I was really thinking about designating this the bye week for Unsung Hero of the Week. For four quarters on Sunday, the Lions kept plugging leaks only for new ones to open up, and they simply couldn’t keep up with the Vikings. There was a lot of riding high after the Lions were sitting pretty at 3-3 and coming back home to take on the Seahawks, and even the POD staff was having talks of whether the Lions were actually good. Thus, Seattle was a slap in the face and this week was confirmation that the Lions are exactly who we thought they were when 11 out of 13 POD staff members predicted the Lions would miss the playoffs in our season predictions.

But alas, the Lions have many more games against teams as good, if not better (see: LA Rams), on this year’s schedule, so I figured the bye week will come later. Someone must win the award this week.

Unsung hero of the week: the secondary!

This is halfway sarcastic—I’m really not sure how to frame it. For those who are unaware, Vikings receiver Adam Thielen was tied with Calvin Johnson for the record of most consecutive 100-yard receiving games at eight. It was a big storyline going into this game and, on the bright side, Thielen was held to four receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown. The full numbers don’t make such a pretty picture, however.

I’m inclined to think this was more a case of Kirk Cousins not looking for Thielen since he routinely had Kyle Rudolph, Dalvin Cook, and Chad Beebe open. While being held to four receptions is also usually a good thing, it doesn’t look good when it’s on only seven targets, and Lawson (and many other defenders) were utterly lost on the touchdown given up to Thielen. Even Darius Slay looked a step behind at times while shadowing Aldrick Robinson.

On the flip side, Slay was fortunately able to capitalize on a questionable Kirk Cousins heave that resulted in a pick, and by the end of the day, the Lions kept Thielen quiet long enough to preserve Megatron’s record. Whether it was because of good coverage overtop or worse coverage underneath is up for debate, but a victory in the record books is the only victory the Lions took this week.