There are only two winless teams in the NFL through four weeks. One of them has a head coach who stuck around in Ohio to hit the bars after they lost on Thursday Night Football, and the other, much to the surprise of people who paid no attention to this offseason, is the Detroit Lions!
In a game where the entire Lions’ defense mustered up just six pressures against a Chicago Bears offensive line that allowed nine sacks a week ago to the Cleveland Browns, people finally got to see Justin Fields make some NFL throws. And after Detroit’s run defense took a step in the right direction in back-to-back weeks against Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens, it took two steps back against an attack spearheaded by David Montgomery and Damien Williams—161 yards on 31 carries for almost 5.2 yards per carry.
For reference, the stock report is an indicator of the direction a particular player’s performance is trending. Injuries and managing those injuries are a part of life in the NFL, and it’s unfortunate when they happen, but they’re going to be a part of assessing a player’s trajectory here in the stock report. Also, the amount of playing time a player receives is also something to take into consideration.
Stock Down: Will Harris, S
It can be said pretty confidently: there wasn’t a Lions player who played worse than Will Harris on Sunday.
Harris, responsible for being the deep man in the play above, was burned for 64 yards on a connection from Justin Fields to Darnell Mooney. Later on that drive, Harris—on third-and-4—took an awful angle on an escaping Fields who would wind up getting enough for a first down. To put the cherry on top, Harris was bowled over by David Montgomery for a touchdown to cap things off for that scoring drive.
Detroit has a problem at the safety position, but without much depth to call on beyond Dean Marlowe—who is already getting a lot of playing time—there isn’t much that can be done at this point.
Stock Up: Jamaal Williams, RB
Williams just runs so angrily with every carry he gets; it’s a joy to watch him come out of the backfield with the football knowing he can extend running plays after contact.
What’s most disappointing is his how this team gets behind—after digging their own grave—and is essentially forced to abandon not only the run game, but using Williams at all. Swift outsnapped Williams by a wide margin—70/30—which is really unfortunate considering just how well Williams was running the ball. Williams averaged over 4.7 yards per carry on his 14 attempts—and only two of those 14 attempts took place in the second half.
Stock Down: Jared Goff, QB
Go ahead and skip to the comment section to mention how this is unfair to Goff. Mention he was down his starting center for nearly the entirety of this one. Mention how the turnover on Detroit’s third red-zone trip was on Penei Sewell for getting absolutely whooped by Robert Quinn off the edge. Mention his “comeback” in the second half. Mention how he has no receivers.
Goff missed throw after throw in this one.
He nearly threw an interception on the team’s first drive trying to fit the ball in a window his arm can’t make happen. Just before the half, Goff had Kalif Raymond wide open for a touchdown on a seam route down the middle of the field, but missed him badly. On a free play due to an offsides penalty, he had St. Brown open but again, missed him deep. The most talked about play of the game, Detroit’s fourth-and-1, down by ten, Goff failed to execute on another throw to St. Brown that was very reminiscent of the throw he missed in a similar situation against Green Bay a couple weeks ago.
The book isn’t written on Jared Goff, there’s still a lot of football to play, but through four games, Goff has yet to put together four quarters of consistent play from start to finish.
Stock Up: Kalif Raymond, WR
The theme for today’s stock-up group is, “Hey, wide receivers, have a (career) day!”
Two touchdowns on three catches—and the first two-touchdown game of his career. Raymond ran a good route on a great play design from Anthony Lynn, but it was an even better effort on the first catch he turned into a touchdown. His second touchdown came on some busted coverage, but a career day is a career day.
Quintez Cephus, WR: Four catches for 83 yards is a career-best for Cephus. He made a couple of big chunk plays by finding the soft spot in zone coverage when Goff was able to extend the play.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR: Finally a part of the offense’s game plan, St. Brown had his most productive day yet in the NFL—six catches for 70 yards.
Jonah Jackson, LG: Jackson had his best game so far this year, especially as a pass blocker—in his 48 pass-blocking snaps, Jackson surrendered zero pressures on Sunday.
Alim McNeill, NT: Time to give the rookie some credit, he flashed in his 21 snaps on Sunday. A couple of run stuffs by the big man in the middle is the stuff you like to see.
Tracy Walker, S: After a rough start to the season, Walker was one of the few defensive players who actually made plays on Sunday.
Amani Oruwariye, CB: Another interception for Detroit’s No. 1 cornerback, Oruwariye only gave up one big play—a 27-yard catch by Allen Robinson. The two other catches he allowed totaled 10 yards. All things considered, another solid outing for Oruwariye.
D’Andre Swift, RB: When it mattered, Swift didn’t provide much for this offense on Sunday. Most of his production was done in the fourth quarter when the Lions were down three scores. Things looked their ugliest in pass protection for Swift. First, Swift failed to pick up a stunt by Khalil Mack that led to a sack. Late in the fourth quarter, Swift whiffed on an attempt to pick up a blitzing Roquan Smith.
Penei Sewell, LT: Sewell surrendered a team-high seven (7) pressures including two sacks. The growing pains are here and they’re real.
Matt Nelson, RT: Nelson continued to struggle on Sunday. The converted defensive end allowed five pressures against the Bears defensive front, and if you’re keeping track at home, that’s 12 total pressures allowed by your starting tackles. Yikes.
Bobby Price, CB: Because of injuries piling up the cornerback position, Price was forced into starting opposite of Oruwariye and looked to be out of sorts all day. Price looked a step behind in coverage all afternoon, and to make matters worse, Price missed the end of the game due to an injury.
Romeo Okwara, EDGE: No news was more devastating on Sunday than learning about the serious injury suffered by Okwara, which has now been confirmed as a torn Achilles. The team’s best defender through three weeks, it’s a terrible blow to this team both in the short-term and long-term outlook for this organization.
AJ Parker, CB: He wasn’t targeted in coverage on Sunday, but after putting together an impressive start to the season—especially as a run defender—Parker’s missed tackles proved costly in this one.