Two team facing a lengthy skid paired off in a Week 8 matchup that could help flip that momentum in the other direction. The Detroit Lions have struggled with poor calls and atrocious defense, but with the calls largely dying down they only had to overcome their struggles on one side of the ball to come away victorious in this one.
The Lions were able to batten down the hatches when it counted and put an end to their losing streak, raising their record up to .500 on the year and pulling out of last place in the division. Let’s, once again, take stock of who is improving and who’s moving in the wrong direction with our weekly stock report.
Stock Up: Jarrad Davis, LB
BLITZ JARRAD DAVIS MORE pic.twitter.com/uae9IleKUh— Random Player Daily (@RndmPlayerDaily) October 27, 2019
I’m going to avoid both mincing words and piling it on and just say that Jarrad Davis has had a rough 2019 so far. You’d never know it if this was your first time watching the 2017 first-round pick play. He remained too shallow in zone once, which played a part in a big Saquon Barkley catch, and had a dumb penalty in the second half, so it wasn’t a perfect game.
On the whole, however, Davis ended at least three drives against the Giants, most often by providing the pressure that led to a mistake by rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Rushing Jarrad Davis from the middle of the field is a staple of this defense when it’s working, and days like today are are a good indication of why they like to do that. He was a terror. He even had a good, nay, a great play in coverage on Evan Engram that had me questioning if he’d switched bodies. It’s one game in a season full of bad ones, but let’s hope this is the type of game he can string together.
Stock Down: Rashaan Melvin, CB
If I had to pick a goat of the game, the worst player on the field during any phase, it would be Rashaan Melvin. He was personally responsible for not one, but two receiving touchdowns and you could make a case he was the cause of all three. Melvin has done well by playing his man rather than playing the ball, but he was beaten so handily in this one that you have to question how he failed in that approach so soundly against a fifth-round rookie. Tape review is going to be a bad day.
Stock Up: Kenny Golladay, WR
Golladay has had a rough patch where he looked like he was barely a factor against his opponents. It has helped that the Lions have been able to mask it by ridiculous showings by Marvin Jones and the emergence of Marvin Hall as a deep threat, but it’s nice to have Kenny G showing up for a game when he’s really needed. Golladay was straight up abusing rookie first-round pick DeAndre Baker, winning almost every matchup the pair had in safe fashion. When you have a guy who’s bigger than and faster than, you throw to him and that’s what happened in this one.
Stock Down: Marvin Jones, WR
Speaking of Jones, it’s hard to talk about the day Golladay had while ignoring what happened with Jones. Jones caught four of his five targets but for only 22 yards. He wasn’t winning his matchups and didn’t take advantage of the targets he had. You can forgive a poor day after just how well he showed up last week, but it was certainly a huge drop off in play from week to week from No. 11.
Stock Up: Trey Flowers, DE
While not a consistently disruptive presence throughout the game, Flowers left the game with a pair of sacks at a crucial time in the game. On the eighth and ninth play of a drive, Flowers sacked Daniel Jones, forcing a fumble on the first one. It dropped the Giants to third-and-26, which they were unable to convert for a first on consecutive tries.
Stock Down: Ty Johnson, RB
Johnson came into the game with big expectations, stepping in for the injured Kerryon Johnson. Instead, he was passed over for Tra Carson, who would go on to carry the ball for a career-high 34 yards. Not a career high as in for a season, but that’s more than Carson had in his entire pro career so far. Johnson had one nice run of 14 yards, but his other six carries only went for 11 yards. He would also have the worst individual play on offense all game when he broke clean on a route only to have a perfectly placed Matthew Stafford pass bounce right off his hands. It’s not a great sign in the team’s confidence of the sixth-round rookie and he did nothing to endear him to them further.
Matthew Stafford, QB: Worth noting that he keeps stringing these together.
Today was Matthew Stafford's fourth three-score performance of 2019. He had only one in all of 2018.— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) October 27, 2019
Tra Carson, RB: It’s not that Carson played well, he didn’t, but he came in with no expectations and got the start and majority of touches.
Logan Thomas, TE: Thomas doesn’t do much, but when the team decides to get him involved he always delivers. I don’t know why he’s stealing routes from Hockenson, but he is.
Marvin Hall, WR: Hall is averaging nearly 40 yards per catch. That is all.
Da’Shawn Hand, DT: It’s good to get Hand back, and he looked nearly back to form. Got his hand on one pass and made it difficult on everyone blocking him.
Damon Harrison, NT: Harrison went down with injury, which sucked, but he looked to be having a far better game than we’ve been seeing lately before that happened which was promising.
Devon Kennard, LB: Kennard has been struggling of late, and he was fairly quiet for most of this one. He did score his first defensive touchdown since high school, though, and it meant the deciding points in the game in the end.
Steve Longa, LB: Longa is a special teams standout and boy, he must have missed getting tackles on teams. He made the first tackle of the game and added another later.
Jahlani Tavai, LB: Tavai has been struggling of late (three missed tackles last week), but this was a pretty solid showing from him. Only two tackles, but no mistakes that I saw.
Mike Ford, CB: Ford did not have a clean game, it was only through sheer luck that he wasn’t called for a penalty late in the game in the end zone, but it was a better effort than we’ve seen lately.
Tavon Wilson, SS: Wilson had a pretty solid day in his first starting for the now traded Quandre Diggs.
Paul Perkins, RB: Fans may know I’m not a Paul Perkins believer, but it’s hard to say too much more about a three carries for 4 yards statline.
T.J. Hockenson, TE: The Lions continue to look confused as to how they should get Hockenson involved. When he does get involved, it’s on beautifully-designed plays, so why not do that more?
Jesse James, TE: You may remember Jesse James as the highly-touted free agent the Lions signed this offseason. This sentence was longer than any statline he’s put up this season.
Frank Ragnow, OC: Ragnow has been the best center in the NFL this season, but I can’t ignore him snapping the ball early and then getting smoked by a nose tackle into oblivion.
Taylor Decker, OT: Decker was having a hard time with the uber athletic Lorenzo Carter and the not as athletic but much more technically sound Markus Golden. Rough day, I felt.
Romeo Okwara, DE: You’d be forgiven if you didn’t remember Okwara played against his former team. He ended the day completely blanked.
Tracy Walker, FS: It sucks to see a guy with a strong start to the season go down, but that injury didn’t look good and with Diggs’ recent trade the timing couldn’t be worse.
Matt Patricia, Head Coach: Stock Up
One thing we don’t see much of is Matt Patricia adjusting to what the offense or defense has been showing him. He seems to dig in to what he wants to do rather than what is working or what he is seeing on the field when his team is struggling. In this one, I saw him run on first down five times in a row only to haul out a pass on first, outside run for his speed back (for 14 yards), and a frigging flea flicker that went for a long touchdown. There were some frustrating bits, but overall it’s a good day.
Darrell Bevell, Offensive Coordinator: Stock Up
Bevell was the perpetrator of the aforementioned predictable first round rushing and seemed to want to find ways to get a hobbled rushing attack together with no signs it was working and no playing to any of the backs’ collective strengths. His third down play calling was largely masterful, however, and we saw him scheme open receivers all day. One of his best designed plays ultimately went for nothing as he schemed Ty Johnson open on a wheel with nothing but green in front of him only to have it dropped. Some things to clean up yet, but against a defensive secondary he should have lit up, he did.
Paul Pasqualoni, Defensive Coordinator: Stock Down
The defensive play design in this game was painful to watch and at times disgustingly bad. I liked that the team opened up their blitzing to try to fluster a rookie quarterback, a laudable decision that deserves all the praise it gets, but when that nets only three sacks and you allow that rookie to throw for 322 yards and four touchdowns with no takeaways, you have to worry that this sort of thing isn’t going to get any better with more difficult opponents.
John Bonamego, Special Teams: Stock Up
It’s amazing to look back at how bad this special teams unit played, but seeing them now it’s kind of awesome. The return game still has room for improvement, but the coverage group has been stellar for weeks and continued that against the Giants. They designed their kickoffs to try to pin the Giants with bad field position and won every time. It was pretty.