It’s tough to say where the Lions are at right now. Last week, Kurt Warner called them the best team in the NFC North shortly after a lost to the Green Bay Packers and NFL officiating. The Lions certainly didn’t help their case this week, however, getting shellacked by the Minnesota Vikings. The defense looked helpless, as the Vikings offense was uncharacteristically aggressive and seemingly moved them at will.
To add injury to insult, Lions players were dropping like flies through the entire first half. Darius Slay and Kerryon Johnson were both ruled out of the game with their respective injuries, leaving major holes to fill.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Ty Johnson
In spite of Darius Slay’s injury, Justin Coleman maintained a high level of play consistent with his season thus far (aside from giving up the game-sealing reception to Stefon Diggs). Thus, I was torn between Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic, with both filling in admirably in Kerryon Johnson’s absence.
McKissic made a few splash plays, as is his tendency, en route to 60 scrimmage yards. Ty Johnson quietly matched that with 57 scrimmage yards. The Lions have tried (and failed) to run McKissic between the tackles, and they can’t just not run between the tackles—that would render them terribly one-dimensional. Thus, Ty Johnson’s ability to burst through a hole up the middle proved valuable, even if it wasn’t terribly effective.
Johnson finished with 29 yards rushing and 28 yards receiving after his huge increase in snaps. While he, like McKissic, is better off running outside the tackles, Ty Johnson sacrificed his yards per carry to help keep the team multidimensional and keep the Vikings defense guessing en route to a 30-point performance from the Lions offense on Sunday.