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Detroit Lions Unsung Hero of the Week: Defense stuffs Saquon

The defensive line found a way to contain Saquon Barkley Sunday, something much easier said than done.

New York Giants v Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Lions won Sunday. It wasn’t pretty, but they won. A defense missing All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay and safety Quandre Diggs (I miss you, Quandre), and coming off of a very poor display against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7, had every reason to not show up on Sunday.

They did show up, however, and got the job done. That’s not to say things were perfect; while the defense shut down the New York Giants’ run game, they made Daniel Jones look like a stud through the air. However, this team is built to stop the run and leave corners in 1-on-1 matchups through the air, and that kind of performance is to be expected when your best corner is missing.

Unsung hero of the week: Snacks steps up to spook Saquon Barkley

Forgive me, the Halloween spirit is in the air. Damon Harrison Sr., who has been open about his struggles the last few weeks, had a solid rebound game against the Giants. It wouldn’t look like it on the stat sheet, though. Snacks only had three tackles to show for the entire day.

It’s the non-tackles that made the difference. Unlike in weeks past, Snacks plugged the middle of the Giants’ offensive line and forced Saquon Barkley to bounce most of his runs outside, where guys like Devon Kennard can set the edge and clean things up (as he did, to the tune of seven tackles).

All in all, the Lions defense limited Saquon to 19 carries for 64 yards on the ground, a stellar stat line against someone as capable as Barkley. That’s no easy task, and doing so was imperative to stopping the Giants offense. While Danny Dimes was still able to air it out, Snacks and the defensive line stepped up enough that the Lions defense bent but didn’t break, as it’s meant to, to get the Lions a win Sunday.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.