Opposing teams will have to worry about the Lions run game
The Lions finally established the run on Sunday and it brought them tremendous results. Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount were the centerpieces of the Lions offense that dominated the game. Johnson was able to break the storied 100-yard rusher streak as he carried the team to victory. Detroit took advantage of a weak Patriots front-7 and pounded them between the tackles. This set up the Lions passing game, including the space it opened downfield on a third quarter touchdown pass to Marvin Jones Jr., and kept Tom Brady off the field by controlling possession for over 39 minutes. The offensive line had trouble run blocking in previous weeks, but it all seemed to click on Sunday. As surprising as it sounds, the running game was the reason Detroit won tonight.
Detroit’s receiving trio is among the best
While the exploits of the running game are the biggest story of the night, the Lions wide receivers had a night of their own. None of them individually jump off the stat sheet but they all played huge roles in the victory. Jones stretched the Patriots defense downfield and punished them for playing the run. Kenny Golladay found spaces in New England’s zones to cut them up for a bunch of medium gains. Golden Tate was in control of the short game, taking shorter passes and making them most of them with his ability after the catch. Each receiver had at least four receptions and 50 yards in an overall incredible performance.
The pass coverage may get back to 2017 form this season
The Lions secondary looked awful in the opening weeks of the season. Darius Slay and Glover Quin looked like they had taken a step back in the first couple of weeks. Nevin Lawson looked awful and the linebackers were having their usual struggles.
Many of our concerns surrounding them were put to bed, though. Brady couldn’t find any open receivers at all and was forced to hold on to the ball way too long. He threw a deep pass into double coverage and Slay caught it for a rare interception against the former MVP. There were no major coverage busts and the Lions defense looked well-disciplined and coordinated when they dropped back.
This game may explain the lack of preparation in previous games
Detroit had a very detailed and well-rehearsed game plan coming into this game. This comes as a huge surprise after the Lions looked like they could not tell left from right in the opening weeks. This may be because Detroit looked past the Jets and 49ers to plan for the Patriots. While every game is equally important, a Sunday night contest against an NFL dynasty — who also used to employ Detroit’s head coach and general manager — is special. The night-and-day change between the team is surprising, but makes sense if you look at it through this lens. Whether or not throwing away the two opening games for a Week 3 grudge match is an acceptable thing for a coaching staff to do is another story.