The Detroit Lions are winners of two in a row after they topped the Atlanta Falcons 23-22 on a last-second Matthew Stafford touchdown pass to T.J. Hockenson. They may have got some major help from Todd Gurley at the end, but all wins count the same in the standings. Here are a few takeaways from a wild one down south.
Defensive improvements continue
The key takeaway from the Lions’ blowout of the Jacksonville Jaguars last week was their defense looking great coming out of the bye. It was hard to feel confident in them performing that well going forward, though, and it felt like an outlier more than anything.
This week proved that false, though, and showed that this defense may have finally put it together over their Week 5 bye.
Detroit held Falcons running back Todd Gurley to 63 yards on 27 carries for just 2.7 yards per attempt. While he did score two touchdowns, the second one he scored was allowed to him by the Lions defense late to get the ball back.
Romeo Okwara had another huge day as well. The defensive end notched two sacks, including a late forced fumble that set up Detroit for a fourth quarter go-ahead field goal. Okwara headlined another game where the Lions pass rush — while not playing particularly well — actually showed up and made an impact on the game.
They are not perfect, they are not even good, but Detroit’s defense can actually stop teams, which is a huge improvement over where they started.
They don’t call him “Babytron” for nothin’
[Ed. note: we actually don’t call him that at all]
Kenny Golladay has been on a tear since the bye week. The Lions’ star wide out missed the opening weeks of the season with an injury, and the offense has looked entirely different since his return. With a six-catch, 114-yard day, he has now eclipsed the 100-yard mark in two consecutive weeks.
The receiver has done it in spectacular fashion as well. He has pulled down some impressive grabs and seems to win every 50/50 ball. Golladay has been everything he could be for Detroit this year, and has proved that his impressive 2019 was not just an outlier.
Priority No. 1 for Bob Quinn and the Lions’ front office at the moment has to be re-signing Golladay to a long term deal.
This is an interesting change of fortune.
With the win against the Falcons, the Lions got to 3-3 this season. They are back at .500, and only a game out of an NFC wild card spot.
As of the conclusion of the 1 p.m. window of games, the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all were 4-2,and tied for spots six and seven in the NFC playoffs. Detroit will need to outperform at least two of those teams over the rest of the season to make the playoffs, but they may have an easier road ahead. While winning each of their next five games is unlikely, all of them are games where the Lions should at least have a chance.
The Week 3 victory over the Cardinals gives the Lions a huge tiebreaker as well.
It is still unlikely, and this team has a ton of problems, but making noise in the playoff race late this season is a possibility for this team if they keep up they way they have played the last two weeks.