After weeks of blowing leads and embarrassing displays of bad defense, the Lions did exactly what you expected them to do on Sunday. Look like a fully functioning football team in a rout of a win? Yeah, the Lions surprised everyone with their 34-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts.
I was gonna try to make some sort of pun with D’Andre Swift’s name, but I couldn’t think of one.
The kid had one hell of a game on Sunday. It’s interesting since the biggest takeaway from game film this season has been that when Swift is on the field, good things happen. Apparently Matt Patricia and the Lions coaching staff were watching the same film, because they let him loose against the Jaguars.
Swift became the first 100-yard rusher the Lions have had since Kerryon Johnson did it against the Chiefs in 2019. He also chipped in two touchdowns and just looked great every time he touched the ball. Normally when the Lions attempt to run the ball, someone in Michigan’s head explodes like that scene from Scanners. I don’t think that happened on Sunday.
The Lions defense seemed to do all the right things for the first time in three years
Is Matt Patricia listening to fans and the media? It sure seemed like it on Sunday. The biggest complaints of the year have been against constant man coverage (the defensive scheme and not the Pride Of Detroit podcast hosted by me that’s on every Wednesday wherever you get your podcasts) and not rushing the passer. The Lions still played plenty of man, but they won this game because they got in Gardner Minshew’s face all day long and shut down a Jaguars offense that was ranked 18th coming into this game.
They also stopped the run. James Robinson has been one of the bright spots for the Jags offense in 2020. The Lions held him to just 29 yards on 2.4 yards per carry. The Lions looked like a complete defense all day long. The big question here is will the Lions defense continue play like this? By the way...
The Lions got a sack
Matthew Stafford was Matthew Stafford
Stafford has not looked like himself early on in the season. On Sunday he looked like the quarterback we all know and love, for the most part. He completed 61.3 percent of his passes and threw for 223 yards and a touchdown. The production wasn't major, but the footwork looked good, and besides an interception that really wasn’t totally his fault, he did nothing that could have hurt the Lions. Also, you gotta love his free play awareness.
Kenny Golladay going UP pic.twitter.com/N6gFBGY0S1— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 18, 2020
Still some issues
I’m not gonna beat up Matt Patricia and the Lions too much. They went out and got a great team victory and they looked good, but there’s still some problems. Despite having success, the Lions still continued to make offensive line changes that didn’t need to be made and continued to try to force things with players that haven’t worked out all season. The best example being playing prevent defense with seven plus minutes on the board and trying to burn the clock with Adrian Peterson.
These things were minor on Sunday. It worked out this time, but I’m not ready to wholesale say that Patrica and company have truly learned a full lesson here. We’re going to have to see a lot more before it’s ok to say that the Lions get what the problem was and have fixed it. These are types of decisions that can bite you if you’re playing a good team.
Is Matt Prater not the kick god anymore?
Look, I know I’m approaching very dangerous waters here. If I step too far I might wind up like Samuel L. Jackson did in that bad shark movie. I just have ask if I’m the only one who’s noticed that Prater is having a hard time with the long-range kicks right now. On Sunday he missed a 57-yard field goal and it wasn’t the first he’s missed this season. Prater also barely hung one in late in the game. Yes, it was windy in Jacksonville, but I think it’s truly time to start wondering if we’re witnessing the back end of Prater’s career?
The Lions are on the road to 13-3
Did anyone read that without laughing? In all seriousness, the Lions did what they needed to do on Sunday. They got a much needed win in the first game of their favorable seven game stretch. What the Lions do from here will be interesting. Only two of their next six opponents won on Sunday; the rest all continued to struggle. If the Lions can come out of this with a winning record, the sky is the limit. But that’s something we’ll have to think about later. As for today, put this song on and victory dance in your living room.