The Detroit Lions managed to keep their unbeaten season alive on Sunday, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-24 on the road and winning a game that could be crucial for playoff seeding down the line. Here a few takeaways from a huge victory.
Ugly wins are still wins
For the second straight week, the Lions managed to walk off the field victorious despite not playing their best football. This week, an early kick return touchdown and a few bad fumbles by the Eagles put the Lions in good position. While they did not take full advantage of the gifts Philadelphia gave them, they did enough to escape with a victory on the road against another potential playoff team.
While winning pretty is always great, being able to win despite playing badly is the sign of a good football team. If Detroit can beat the likes of the Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers on bad days, imagine who they can beat on a good day.
Third down heroics
While Detroit’s offense had a lot of trouble on Sunday, they managed to make the most of their opportunities on third downs. They converted six of 14 third downs, including a few crucial ones down the stretch to keep the clock ticking in the fourth. Danny Amendola had an especially great third down play, with the undersized receiver leaping up to snag down a slightly overthrown ball near the sideline to convert a late third-and-11.
Coming up big on these crucial plays helped Detroit sneak out a victory, and it shows that the team can perform when the pressure is truly on down the stretch.
Absent running game
Detroit’s offense was supposed to be built to run the ball. Frank Ragnow and Joe Dahl are both interior lineman who should be able to plow open running lanes for Kerryon Johnson. They once again failed to do so, though, and if you remove a 44-yard trick play by J.D. McKissic, then the team only averaged 1.7 yards per carry on the day.
They managed to win despite the lack of a running game, but going forward Detroit will need more from their offensive line and star running back if they are to keep pulling out these wins over the weeks.
Where’s the defense?
The Lions defense was supposed to be the stronger of the two units this season, but they were not as good as advertised in Week 3. They failed to take advantage of the Eagles injuries up front and let Philadelphia drive the field on them all game. While they did generate a few turnovers—one of which was Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor literally just dropping the ball—their positive showing on the box score is credit to how bad the Eagles offense was, and not their performance.