If you’re like me and you somehow managed to survive the Detroit Lions Week 4 match up with the Kansas City Chiefs with your heart still pumping and the ability to breathe normally, you’re probably facing some mixed emotions. On ne hand, this was a loss and losses always sting a bit. There were some poor calls by the refs, dumb mistakes by Lions players, failure to capitalize on success, all the trademarks of a typical Lions heartbreaking loss. This game also showcased a masterful gameplan both on defense and offense, a quarterback slinging the football like a modern day Apollo, and more references to Peanut Tillman than you could keep track of.
Stock Up: Matthew Stafford, QB
This is the best throw in the NFL this year. Stafford fit it between 4 defenders pic.twitter.com/lnbENIwilB— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) September 29, 2019
Matthew Stafford very rarely gets mentioned up here, only occasionally seeing his name in stock up quick hits if he has an awesome game or in stock down when he plays poorly. Today he deserves a full write up, and I’m not sorry for it. Stafford had occasional missteps, most notably fumbling the ball and taking sacks he definitely had time to throw the ball away on. The game as a whole, though, showcased his arm strength, accuracy, and mobility, and all of that while dealing with what was described as the most painful injury he’s ever played on. The team even kept both backups active just in case. He has now thrown nine touchdowns compared to two interceptions this season.
Stock Down: Joe Dahl, OG
Bad job, Joe Dahl.— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) September 29, 2019
Joe Dahl has been playing far better than anyone had imagined coming into the season. He has been one of the highest graded interior lineman in the passing game and overall has been quite a surprise. This game, however, did not look like a game you’d want to look back on fondly. Dahl was having a very hard time with Chris Jones, which isn’t saying much as Jones is awesome, but the team went back to rotating out their guards and brought in Kenny Wiggins for support. Not the sign you want when you start off the season as hot as Dahl did.
Stock Up: Kerryon Johnson, RB
Kerryon Johnson totaled 125 yards on 26 carries while also bringing in two catches for 32 yards on three targets Sunday in Detroit’s Week 4 loss to the Chiefs.— LTFF (@LTFFNews) September 29, 2019
Johnson will probably get dinged for his one serious mistake, and since the game ended within a single touchdown it’s going to be harped on even more than is warranted. Yes, reaching for the goal line in that much traffic was pretty dumb, but Johnson ran hard all day outside of that mistake and accounted for more than 150 yards of Lions offense. Do you remember when a 100 yard rushing day for a Lions back was a huge achievement? Johnson did so with no fanfare, and went on to keep making plays after that.
Stock Down: Team Health
Lions tight end TJ Hockenson did not go to the hospital after suffering a concussion.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 29, 2019
The team came into a match up with the most dangerous passing attack in the NFL and reigning MVP quarterback short their best cornerback and safety. Unfortunately, it didn’t get better during the game. The Lions lost first round pick T.J. Hockenson to an injury just as he was starting to get in his groove. They later saw Mike Ford, who stepped up big time in place of Darius Slay, to concussion protocol (though he would later return). The Lions are dinged up, but it’s a huge testament to our next group that despite this many injuries they were still able to maintain their greatest strength on defense.
Stock Up: The Defensive Staff and Players as a unit
This was the first time Patrick Mahomes was held without a touchdown since his very first start.— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) September 29, 2019
Patrick Mahomes went 14 straight regular season contests with multiple touchdowns. He is the reigning NFL MVP. He came into this game licking his chops seeing Darius Slay on the sidelines. And he never scored a point on his own. Mahomes is an incredible quarterback and the Chiefs were still able to march down the field and score enough points to beat the Detroit Lions, but they had to fight for every single yard and every point they got and this is a game he’s going to be studying all year to try to improve from. No team Patrick Mahomes has faced gave him this much trouble on an individual level, but the Lions did so without several of their top defensive players.
Stock Down: Pundits and Analysts who make preseason predictions
Sports Illustrated predicts the Lions going 4-12: https://t.co/ZRcYXmT71C— HUGE (@Hugeshow) July 28, 2019
Do you remember when the Lions were being predicted to go 4-12, 6-10, and so on? Sure, the tie threw a big wrench in anybody’s season predictions as they always do, but nobody predicted the Lions were going to be without a loss after three weeks and nearly defeat the best team in the NFL (Or 2nd best if you’re a Michigan fan). One team that will be looked upon very differently by the NFL as a whole following a loss is the 2019 Detroit Lions.
Justin Coleman is one of the best corners in the NFL. Period.— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) September 29, 2019
Justin Coleman, CB: Coleman came up big in this game, notching several plays on the ball and one very critical fumble. He’s playing above his already large contract.
Taylor Decker, OT: Decker bounced back nicely last week but it’s good to see him put a few of those together.
Mike Ford, CB: Ford missed some time due to injury, but he stepped in for Darius Slay and the defense played up to their MVP opponent with him on the field.
Kenny Golladay, WR: Golladay notched two touchdowns, but if he ever gets over his old college habits he could have even more in this offense.
Marvin Hall, WR: Who? Hall is a diminutive speedster that the Lions used similarly to how the Chiefs used Mecole Hardman. And it worked. Bravo!
T.J. Hockenson, TE: The injury sucks and we wait with bated breath to hear more, but it’s worth noting that Hock was back on his game prior to hitting his head on that turf.
Marvin Jones, WR: Need a long pass to be completed despite tough coverage? Look no further.
Devon Kennard, LB: It was another hit and miss day from Kennard, and though I’m frustrated I think I saw more positives than negatives.
J.D. McKissic, RB: After the Lions looked like they were going away from gimmicky plays, dropping Theo Riddick and Brandon Powell, they brought in J.D. McKissick so we could see what an offense looks like when gimmicks are actually a threat.
Rashaan Melvin, CB: The Chiefs leading receiver, Sammy Watkins, only had 3 catches for 54 yards. Reminder that Darius Slay didn’t play.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT: Robinson is playing at a pro bowl level through four weeks, point blank, I’ve been cautious to talk about it much as he has always been inconsistent. Not so far, though.
A'Shawn Robinson has been a consistent factor today.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) September 29, 2019
Logan Thomas, TE: Thomas stepped up when needed late in the game after Hockenson went down. I expect to see more of him, for better or worse, in the coming weeks.
Rick Wagner, OT: Wagner has been mostly quiet this season, but I came away impressed with the little I saw of him this week.
Jarrad Davis, LB: Davis got flack for bailing on spy during the broadcast to cover Kelce, but I actually get that decision. The rest of his game was still poor, though, which is less forgivable.
Graham Glasgow, RG: I still don’t know what the coaches are doing rotating in Kenny Wiggins, but seeing Glasgow walk off the field so Wiggins can get snaps is frustrating.
Damon Harrison, NT: I keep expecting Snacks to go back to his All Pro level of play at nose, but he keeps getting moved around way too easily from how we know he can play.
Ty Johnson, RB: It’s been a roller coaster of a rookie year, but Johnson lost snaps to J.D. McKissic this week, as he should have given the disparity in play between the two.
Christian Jones, LB: The Lions linebackers as a whole didn’t play all that well, but watching Jones drop into coverage seems worse than watching Jarrad Davis do it.
Frank Ragnow, OC: One I’m going to re-watch closely, I was disappointing many of the times I did watch the Lions center, who has been playing very well otherwise.
Jahlani Tavai, LB: Against the pass happy Chiefs, Tavai saw little work. He also never found his way to the stat sheet, even for a tackle.
Head Coach Matt Patricia: Stock Up
The Lions made several key mistakes in this game, both with penalties and turnovers. Do you know what didn’t happen, though? The wheels never came off. The team kept fighting, pulling back from lead change after lead change, and I never felt the game was out of reach even up until the final play. That’s good coaching. Blanking a passer who hasn’t been blanked in nearly a year and shutting down weapon after weapon in one of the NFL’s most potent offenses is notable. The team has either bought in completely or is nearly there.
Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell: Stock Up
The offensive gameplan and design was well done in this one. There were a few mistakes in execution, for sure, but it has tightened up a lot and there were fewer miscues than we’ve become accustomed to. The pass protection is largely holding up and multiple sacks on Stafford were simply the result of good coverage rather than poor blocking or allowing free rushers.
Defensive Coordinator Paul Pasqualoni: Stock Up
As I already mentioned, the design and execution in this game were very good. You’d never know that if you just looked at the stat sheet or the score, but it was.
Special Teams Coordinator John Bonamego: Stock Up
Bonamego has deservedly received heat for his units, but the teams did pretty well in this one overall. There weren’t any game changing mistakes or costly penalties, which shouldn’t be a high bar but he cleared it anyway.