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Detroit Lions vs. Los Angeles Chargers recap: What Just Happened?

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A collection of thoughts on the Lions first win of the year

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Well that damn sure was an ugly game. But the final result of the game is as beautiful as Randy Watson’s Jheri curl.

The Lions went up against a team that went to the playoffs last year and they pulled off a squeaker of a 13-10 win to stay undefeated*.

As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts.

The Slay Well

Have you ever heard the term “going to the well once too often”? Well that’s exactly what Philip Rivers and the Chargers did with Darius Slay on Sunday.

They were relentless with Keenan Allen on Slay. Rivers targeted Allen 15 times and Slay was covering on all of them. Even though Allen did catch eight of those balls for 98 yards, you had to know that if Rivers kept going to the well, something bad was bound to happen. In this case they fell in like Baby Jessica.

This was quite the redemption for Slay. But we can’t fully let him off the hook. He played one of his worst games on Sunday. He did allow Allen to rent a four bedroom loft apartment in his head all day. He also got flagged three times. It’s just way too much for a guy that’s an elite cornerback.

Slay needs to recover from this. That interception is one hell of a start.

Matthew Stafford was better than you thought

I’m not going to fault Stafford too much for his first pick of the game. It was yet another one of his freak occurrence interceptions that we couldn’t recreate if we tried. But that second one was pretty ugly. I guess that’s the price you pay for having the old Matthew Stafford back.

I for one am still happy he’s here. Because outside of those mistakes he was straight dealing all day long. Stafford completed a whopping 73.3 percent of his passes. He rung up 245 yards and two touchdowns as well. If you’re concerned the guy is inaccurate, you’re going to have to take that concern elsewhere.

With Stafford playing like this, you have to wonder why he wasn’t utilized just a little bit more in certain places. Mostly I’m talking about the the Lions possession immediately following their forced fumble on the goal line. The Lions went with three straight runs and gave the ball back to the Chargers. Darrell Bevell has to utilize Stafford at least one time there on that drive—preferably in some sort of play action design where Stafford shines.

Kerryon Johnson bobbles his way to a great game

Last week Johnson was pretty quiet on the ground and through the air. He ran for 49 yards on 16 carries. On Sunday he ran for 41 yards on 12 carries and then caught two balls for 47 yards and a touchdown. He also did fancy stuff like this.

There’s still a lot left to be desired for the Lions ground game. But there is no doubt that Johnson is a multi-use weapon for the Lions. He really showed that again on Sunday.

The Jamal Agnew era is likely over soon. Bonamego might be going with him

Yet another ugly performance by the Lions special teams unit. Flag after flag after flag. The unit is incapable of performing a solid return that doesn't immediately bite them in the... Well, you explain it Mr. Jones.

Jamal Agnew was once an All-Pro return man just two years ago. He looked like a guy that was only going to get better. Here we are two years later and Agnew has only gotten worse. He fumbled for the second straight week in a row and was immediately benched for it.

I would be very surprised if Agnew makes it out of this season a Lion. Honestly I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s out tomorrow. He hasn’t improved as a corner and his special teams abilities have clearly waned. It begs the hard question of what is it that Jamal does here?

I feel the same way about John Bonamego too. If this keeps up, you have wonder if he’d make it past the bye week.

Kenny is legit in case you were wondering

I’ll be honest. I wondered if last year’s numbers for Kenny Golladay had anything to do with the Lions having nobody to throw the ball to. Boy was I wrong. So far this year Golladay has been outstanding.

On Sunday he put up eight catches on 10 targets for 117 yards and the game winning touchdown. Put this man on your fantasy team and go out and buy his jersey. He’s the absolute real deal.

Luck

Just so we’re clear, if we took this game and simulated a million times, the Lions would probably lose well over half of the time, or something like that. I’m a math genius and I’m not afraid to be public about it.

Here is a list of all the things that went lucky for the Lions on Sunday:

  1. Fumble on the one yard line.
  2. Agnew’s fumble wiped out by offsetting penalties.
  3. Rivers threw a pick in the fourth quarter.
  4. The Chargers kicker was injured and their punter missed two field goals.
  5. Two Chargers touchdowns were negated by penalties.

I’m sure there were some things I missed. The point is that the Lions won this game because they weren’t the worse of two bad teams on the field Sunday. This is something the Lions have to correct going into a stretch of games against teams that a perceived to be the best in the league. The Lions must clean it up. Either way, it’s a win. Let’s celebrate!