Week 2 ended pretty much the same way Week 1 did, with a Lions loss and questions in every phase of the game. While it was a loss, and being 0-2 is almost always a death sentence for a team’s playoff chances, there were far more positives in this game than we had against the Jets. It wasn’t a bloodbath and the game wasn’t out of reach at any point, coming down to a turnover on downs with only 14 seconds left in the game. As we do every week, we’re going to look at who’s moving the needle and in which direction, so here we go.
Stock Up: Jarrad Davis, LB
One positive sign that others have pointed out as well: Jarrad Davis has been much improved in coverage today. All the TE and FB action is not because of him.— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) September 16, 2018
Some of you are already hitting the comments section after reading the name. Statistically, Davis looks really good, yeah, notching two sacks and a healthy amount of tackles. His first sack came on a blitz where the Lions still gave Jimmy Garoppolo too much time, but the second was a heads up play where he read the field well and closed like a rocket to the QB. Davis missed way too many tackles in this game, and it’s something many fans (who will be unwavering in his bust status) will hold tightly to, but one area where Davis was not only okay but very good in was coverage.
Yes. Jarrad Davis. Was good in coverage.
I feel like there should be some kind of ribbon or something for that, like a commemorative coin.
Stock Down: Teez Tabor, CB
Gotta love Jarrad Davis and Devon Kennard coming after Garoppolo for back to back sacks and force the field goal. But man, what a rough start for Teez Tabor. Will be interesting to see if Patricia lets him sort himself out, or gives him the hook.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) September 16, 2018
Every time someone plays as badly as Nevin Lawson did in Week 1, fans often say, “Play player X, he can’t possibly be worse, right?” As it turns out, the answer is yes, he absolutely can play worse. Tabor was a disaster on nearly every play he was involved in. He forgot whether the play was man or zone on one touchdown, abandoning his zone and leaving an easy play for the 49ers. He got blocked down the field a dozen or so yards on another play, which he also did last week. He would ultimately be benched for Lawson, but would return later after Darius Slay’s injury. It was still bad.
Stock Up: Kerryon Johnson, RB
The gap between kerryon Johnson and the other lions RBs is too big for the current distribution of snaps— Matthew Belcik (@MattpBelcik) September 16, 2018
Hey, you know how literally everyone is saying the Lions need to be getting the ball to 33 more? Well, the Lions didn’t really listen, but Johnson was electric whenever the ball went his way and after LeGarrette Blount got ejected Johnson continued to get fed a bit and did good things with it. I maintain that Johnson will be the player who breaks the Lions’ poor rushing streaks, but he needs to get the ball and the Lions need to stop pretending he’s just a bit player.
Stock Down: LeGarrette Blount, RB
LeGarrette Blount, ejected for shoving a 49ers player, did not acknowledge an interview request as he left the stadium just now.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 16, 2018
Speaking of Blount, if your team is losing like the Lions were, don’t make stupid plays that get you removed from the game. Blount was doing well as a rusher, but his sole reception looked like he had suddenly forgot which direction he was supposed to be going. Blount is likely facing some kind of disciplinary action after leaving the bench to knock an opposing player down, whether it’s from the league or from the Lions. That may end up being better for the team if it means more Johnson touches, but it’s not like Blount is playing badly enough that he needs to be tossed.
Stock Up: Kenny Golladay, WR
If you were wondering if Kenny Golladay is for real or if it was just a one week thing, he answered that question in spades. Golladay was money for Stafford, and his early touchdown was so crazy that most of us didn’t even realize it was a touchdown until we’d seen it a few times. His emergence may open up the middle of the field even further, but that would require Jim Bob Cooter to keep designing plays that will open him up and I’m not sure I can confidently see that happening.
Stock Down: Quandre Diggs, SS/CB
Slight tweak on the Diggs quote after listening again. Same basic point ...— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) September 17, 2018
On the penalty call: "Awful. ... I'm gonna look at it again, but I have a pretty good memory. I know. ... They called holding. Didn't know you can hold when you jam somebody."
It wasn’t a great decision from the start to put someone like Diggs on George Kittle for the majority of the game. It didn’t go well early, it didn’t go well late, and Diggs had the absolute worst play of the game by getting a defensive holding penalty right before Tracy Walker made the play of the game to get the Lions in position to win before the two-minute warning. It doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, for example Kittle only caught two passes, but Diggs’ play in that area was not good in this one. His tackling, normally a strength, was also poor on the day, and this is a day he’s not going to look back on fondly.
Jamal Agnew, CB: Agnew had a long return brought back by penalty, but it is his play on defense that lands him here. He looked good for most of the game on defense.
Nick Bellore, FB: I have nothing negative to say about Bellore in this one, which is a huge step up from last week.
Matt Cassel, QB: He didn’t have to play, which means we have no reason to ridicule how bad he played.
Marquis Flowers, LB: Flowers didn’t make any boneheaded plays that I saw, so that’s better than last week. I don’t think he saw much action, though.
Da’Shawn Hand, DE: Hand looked good for a second week in a row and is looking like the Lions’ best pick in the draft so far. He started looking okay, but that morphed to good as the game wore on.
Eli Harold, LB: Harold got a sack on his old team, that has to be a good feeling.
Devon Kennard, LB: Kennard is doing a good job of making me seem like a hater for criticizing how hyped the team made his signing out to be. Good for all four quarters this week.
Nevin Lawson, CB: Hey, this isn’t all about who did well and who did poorly, it’s about who did better and who did worse. Lawson wasn’t good, but he wasn’t the dumpster fire his Week 1 performance was.
Sam Martin, P: Maybe the punter workouts this week got him spooked, but Martin looked far more comfortable this week. Three of his punts were downed inside the 20.
Matt Prater, K: Prater looked back to his old self, which can only mean good things.
Frank Ragnow, OG: Again, not about who did well. Ragnow had a rough outing, but it was far better than last week and there were a ton of good plays in the run game to hang his hat on.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB: JRM made a bully play on special teams. If his defensive role is diminished, that’s where he’ll make his mark.
Michael Roberts, TE: Roberts caught his first touchdown pass. If the Lions start using him solely as a red zone option, I’ll be happy. Ecstatic if this is the kind of results we can expect.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT: Robinson saw action this week, which is a step up from last week. He wasn’t great, but he was out there.
Matthew Stafford, QB: After a dreadful Week 1, Stafford looked far more comfortable this week. He was still off on some things, but what a huge improvement between weeks.
Dee Virgin, CB: Virgin got his name called in this one! Sure, it was when the announcers mistook Jamal Agnew for him, but still.
Tracy Walker, FS: Walker almost had the play of the game before it was wiped out by penalty. Still, we got a look at what he can bring.
Kenny Wiggins, OG: Nobody expected Kenny Wiggins to look good. He didn’t look terrible, though, and that’s amazing considering who he was facing. Good day.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE: Ansah lasted only one game before he got hurt, and only until Week 2 before he missed an entire game due to injury.
Taylor Decker, OT: As a blocker, Decker actually had a pretty good game, just like last week. He had multiple penalties, however, and that’s no bueno.
Graham Glasgow, OC: Glasgow had a few nice plays, but it was a tough draw against the 49ers front and he made more bad plays than good ones.
Kerry Hyder, DE: I only saw a bit of Hyder, but the little bit I saw wasn’t good at all.
Ricky Jean Francois, DT: RJF had a rough day and got washed multiple times both against the run and the pass. I think the honeymoon might be over.
Marvin Jones, WR: Something seems off with the chemistry between Stafford and Jones. They didn’t seem to connect last week and they seemed off this week.
Christian Jones, LB: Aside from his sack, Jones looked very poor every time I saw him. I paid a lot of attention to the LB unit this week, and I saw very little to like.
TJ Jones, WR: Hey, TJ Jones is still on the roster. Just wanted to bring it up in case you forgot, too.
Miles Killebrew, LB: I saw Killebrew very little. His once defined role on the team is pretty much gone.
T.J. Lang, OG: One week, that’s all he made it.
Romeo Okwara, DE: Blanked on the stat sheet despite having seen enough field time to be noticed.
Brandon Powell, WR: I expected him to be active this week after Marquez was cut, but he faced another inactive. He looked good as a gunner in camp, I was hopeful he could find a role there since everyone else stinks.
Glover Quin, FS: Many were concerned when Quin’s playing time was down last week. Now I, a noted Quin slappy, would be perfectly fine seeing less of him next week.
Theo Riddick, RB: Riddick caught nine passes on 12 targets. One miss was a drop on third down at the end of the game. Another was the last play of the game.
Darius Slay, CB: Slay got concussed after taking a vicious blow to the head. Hoping he gets better soon, but it looked pretty bad. Get well, Big Play.
Golden Tate, WR: Don’t let the stat sheet fool you too much. While Tate had plenty of good plays in this one, he also dropped multiple passes and seemed out of sync on his routes at times.
Rick Wagner, OT: Whenever I saw Wagner, it was on the receiving end of some rusher getting by him.
Charles Washington, SS: Washington was a terror on special teams, in that any Lions fan should be afraid when they see 45 in a position to make a tackle that he ultimately won’t make.
Tavon Wilson, SS: Another week that won’t be looked on fondly, at least it wasn’t as bad as last week. Still bad, though, and with Walker looking good we might see a change if it keeps up.
Matt Patricia, Head Coach: Stock Up
Going 0-2 is a bad way to start your coaching career. Week 1 was a complete disaster, but any concerns about losing the team were ultimately completely unfounded. There were plenty of bad moments, but the team looked far sharper this week than last and that’s a trend in the right direction. Here’s to hoping it trends upwards at a steeper rate than we’re seeing, though.
Jim Bob Cooter, Offensive Coordinator: Stock Up
Jim Bob Cooter is still very firmly in the hot seat and he had a ton of plays in this game that will make you question how long he holds onto his job. He did a fine job of designing a more efficient offense this week than last, however, with a steady run game (That he admittedly didn’t stick to as much as he should have) and a passing game that was unpredictable at times. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but seeing formations the team hasn’t used before is something we as fans aren’t used to seeing, but should be.
Paul Pasqualoni, Defensive Coordinator, Stock Up
I am not a Paul Pasqualoni fan, but you have to admire how some of his defensive gameplan was implemented this week. Most of the issues were personnel related, not due to poor playcalls, and the Lions were able to develop a pass rush without really having anyone playing well in that area. The roster on that side of the ball is weak, so personnel breakdowns are unlikely to subside any time soon, but Pasqualoni showed he can draw blood from a stone if he needs to.
Joe Marciano, Special Teams Coordinator, Stock Down
It still wasn’t a good week for Marciano’s unit. While it was better than the previous week, and that’s what we’re usually going off of, I think it looks even worse that the sole move they made to improve the unit was moving on from Marquez. Marquez had to go, but the coverage units were still bad and nobody seems to be where they’re supposed to be. Giving up another long return in this game is putting him on pace to have the worst unit of all time.