The Detroit Lions sprinted to the finish of the 2018 season. They dominated every phase of the game and won their fourth straight over the Green Bay Packers with a 31-0 victory on Sunday. Here are a few takeways from a huge win at Lambeau Field.
Matthew Stafford finished strong
One of the main story lines for Detroit all season has been the struggles of Matthew Stafford. The star of the offense started the year poorly against the New York Jets and had a multitude of poor performances ever since. Things got so bad for the quarterback there were also rumors swirling around about the team potentially trading him.
What happens this offseason is still a mystery, but he closed out a rough year with a strong showing. Stafford threw for 266 yards and two scores and did not turn the ball over. His passes were accurate, and he did the most with a depleted group of receivers. He did not make any major errors and his numbers would have been even better if not for a few drops by young receivers.
As a whole, this season will still be remembered as a negative for the quarterback. He finished short of 4,000 yards and only won six games, but it is great to be able to head into 2019 on a strong note.
Great day for the youngsters and depth players
Detroit’s roster has been depleted over the past 17 weeks. With 12 players on IR and many other missing with injuries, Detroit was fielding some sort of B-team this week. Despite that, they played well.
Wide receiver TJ Jones had a disappointing 2018, but managed to finish it off strongly with a two touchdown performance. Brandon Powell, an undrafted rookie who spent much of the season inactive, had six receptions for 106 yards in a huge day. Andy Jones added 50 yards while Levine Toilolo had 43 yards and a score of his own.
The receivers were not the only guys who had some fun. Zach Zenner, who returned to the team in Week 9 after being cut off of IR to start the season, had an impressive 93 yards on 21 carries. Frank Ragnow, the team’s 2018 first-round pick, played a great game as well. The rookie did a good job when he was forced to move across the field on screens and pull plays and helped protect Stafford on his big day.
The younger defensive players were great as well. Linebacker Jarrad Davis finished a strong second half of the season with a five-tackle, one-sack, performance. Cornerback Teez Tabor was not perfect, but did okay as a starter.
Week 17 gives teams already eliminated from the postseason a chance to let their younger, developing, depth guys shine. Detroit threw a lot of names you would not usually see out there on the field and for the most part, they performed.
Lions put together some more Week 17 magic
The Lions shocked the Packers in a meaningless Week 17 game last season when they ran the “Detroit special”.
you know wouldn’t have dropped that pass?— tua tagovailoa fan acct (@MansurShaheen) February 5, 2018
Jim Bob Cooter and the Lions offense dialed up a little bit more magic this season, when kicker Matt Prater threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Toilolo in the second quarter.
In the grand scheme of things this play does not matter. It did not decide the game, and even if it did, this game as a whole will not define the Lions season. But, for a team that has been as lackluster and boring as Detroit this season, it is nice to see them pull a few tricks out of the hat to close out the year.