The Lions are undefeated! Still!
After a hard-fought victory over the hobbled Los Angeles Chargers last week, the Detroit Lions faced an equally injured team in the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3. As usual with Lions games, it was a close finish—stressful at times—but the Lions emerged victorious with a 2-0-1 record.
Statistically, it was a quiet game for Matthew Stafford, who just barely topped 200 yards passing. The Lions run game could not get going either, with J.D. McKissic’s 44-yard carry an outlier on what was otherwise a poor outing. Kerryon Johnson nabbed a soaring goal line touchdown, but was largely ineffective. Unlike last week, he was hardly involved as a receiver.
Yet not all was negative on offense! For a second straight game, the offensive line kept Stafford clean, allowing zero sacks. After a difficult debut against the Arizona Cardinals, the offensive linemen have bounced back in the passing game. Though run blocking remains an issue, keeping Stafford protected is of utmost importance.
However, the defense once again bent-but-almost-broke. This unit has been underperforming, and with a date with the Kansas City Chiefs on the horizon, they need to clean up their performance—Patrick Mahomes and friends will punish the Lions’ mistakes. The defense gave up 373 yards, with Carson Wentz looking quite effective in a comfortable pocket. The thing that killed the Eagles were the numerous dropped passes.
Speaking of things that killed the Eagles, perhaps the biggest score for the Lions was a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown by Jamal Agnew. After a brutal start to the season with fumbling issues and mental mistakes, Agnew proved why he was once an All-Pro returner. The special teams unit still needs some work—a field goal was blocked and nearly returned for critical field position—but Agnew will hopefully continue his rebound performance.
Do you feel better, worse, or the same after the Lions’ victory over the Eagles?
My answer: I feel better about the Lions, but I’m still cautious.
The biggest victory is on the scoreboard. The Lions opened this season with a tough schedule, and going 2-0-1 is outstanding. Considering that these wins came against teams touted as playoff contenders, it feels even better.
I also am happy with Stafford and his weapons. Kenny Golladay and T.J. Hockenson were quiet, but Marvin Jones Jr. topped 100 yards, while Danny Amendola continues to be a fantastic outlet for Stafford. This is an aerial attack with a lot of potential.
That being said, I’m still concerned about the run game and the defense. When this team has a lead late in games, they become extremely stale and predictable. Their rushing attack is hardly an attack, and without it, they are just wasting downs before an inevitable punt. The defense, meanwhile, has given up some explosive plays late in games, and coupled with the offense’s inability to close out the game, it could become a bigger problem. The Eagles also blew plenty of opportunities with drops.
It will not get easier next week when they play the Chiefs. I just want them to stay healthy heading into the bye week, because a victory over the Chiefs would be an incredible upset in my books.
Monday open thread: Do you feel better, worse, or the same after the Lions’ victory over the Eagles?
This poll is closed
A lot better
A little better
A little worse
A lot worse