The Detroit Lions got back in the win column in Week 8, beating the New York Giants 31-26 to get back to .500 on the year. It felt like a must-win, as the team is now back on track ahead of the trade deadline. Here are a few takeaways from the win at Ford Field:
The blitz works
Detroit has not been very fond of the blitz this season. The Lions rarely sent extra rushers from the second level, and even rushed three often, dropping back linebackers to use as spies instead. This cost them heavily, as they often failed to generate any real pass rush.
This week the Lions tried something different. They got creative, sending blitzes from all angles and got in the face of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Linebacker Jarrad Davis often came through as a delayed rusher, and even a few of the guys in the secondary got involved.
The pass rush looked better than ever this week, and while the level of opponent obviously played a factor, the addition of a real blitz definitely helped.
Tra Carson is your RB1
The Lions were awarded former Green Bay Packers running back Tra Carson off of waivers a week and a half ago, and he has already earned a huge role in the offense. He was the leading rusher with 12 carries for 34 yards. While his final stat line did not look good, he had a great start to the game and proved he could take advantage of any running room he was given.
Rookie Ty Johnson and Paul Perkins got some work as well, while interestingly enough J.D. McKissic fell out of favor. It will be interesting to see if this trend keeps as the team moves forward without their star running back for possibly the rest of the season. Especially as the trade deadline looms.
Big homecoming for Golden Tate
Giants receiver Golden Tate is a familiar face at Ford Field. He was the team’s top receiver for much of the four and a half years he spent as a Detroit Lion and accrued nearly 5,000 receiving yards in that time.
He is now a member of the Giants, after signing with them last offseason after Detroit dealt him to Philadelphia mid-year, and played his first game in Detroit since then.
The receiver made his presence known, too. He caught eight passes for 85 yards — both team highs — and was Jones’ favorite target. Without him today, it’s hard to see the Giants even staying competitive in this game.