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Detroit Lions Week 10 snap count observations: Heavy-set offense works vs. Steelers

The Lions went heavy on offense, D’Andre Swift became a workhorse back, and Da’Shawn Hand set a personal mark.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a closer look at the Detroit Lions Week 10 snap count in their 16-16 non-loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Offense

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff: 71 snaps (100%)

Despite his injury and poor play, Goff did not miss a single play on Sunday.

Running backs

D’Andre Swift: 66 (93%)
Jason Cabinda: 7 (10%) — 27 special teams snaps (79%)
Godwin Igwebuike: 4 (6%) — 26 (76%)
Jermar Jefferson: 3 (4%)

Not only did Swift double his career-high in rushing attempts, going from 16 to 33, but his 66 snaps were also a career-high for him.

Curiously, the Lions didn’t give Igwebuike any more playing time after two very successful runs from the converted safety. After the game, head coach Dan Campbell explained why Swift was the workhorse back, while admitting he probably should have given Igwebuike more looks:

“We just kind of wanted to—it’s hard to take Swifty out if he’s ready to go. That’s all,” Campbell said. “But certainly we trust these guys. We wouldn’t have put Godwin in had he not—you know, I mean, Swift had some good runs and did some good things. So really just—if you’re asking, yeah, it probably would have been good to get Godwin a couple more carries. It would have been good.”

Tight ends

T.J. Hockenson: 67 (94%)
Brock Wright: 36 (51%) — 10 (20%)

As part of their effort to go heavy and run the ball against the Steelers, the Lions almost always had a tight end on the field, and had two nearly half the time. Coming into this game Brock Wright had 33 career offensive snaps. Now that number is more than doubled.

Wide receivers

Trinity Benson: 48 (68%)
Kalif Raymond: 47 (66%) — 6 (18%)
Amon-Ra St. Brown: 43 (61%) — 6 (18%)
KhaDarel Hodge: 4 (6%) — 17 (50%)
Geronimo Allison: 2 (3%)

Benson continues to get a lot of opportunities but hasn’t yet made the most of them. He was targeted three times and turned that into just two catches and 17 yards.

For all the talk about putting Amon-Ra St. Brown on the outside, only nine of his 43 offensive snaps were as the Z receiver. That’s just barely above his season average.

Offensive tackles

Taylor Decker: 71 (100%)
Penei Sewell: 71 (100%) — 4 (12%)
Matt Nelson: 18 (25%) — 3 (9%)
Will Holden: 10 (14%) — 4 (12%)

The Lions opted to use a third offensive tackle nearly 40 percent of the time, and it was a strategy that paid dividends for three quarters. Will Holden took over for Matt Nelson late in the game as an injury replacement.

Decker, in his first game of the season, had no problem playing every single snap on Sunday, but the Lions did hold him out of special teams as a precaution.

Guards/centers

Jonah Jackson: 71 (100%) — 4 (12%)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 71 (100%) — 4 (12%)
Evan Brown: 71 (100%) — 4 (12%)
Ryan McCollum: 0 (0%) — 4 (12%)

Nothing to see here.

Defense

EDGE:

Charles Harris: 69 (79%) — 4 (12%)
Trey Flowers: 54 (62%)
Julian Okwara: 37 (43%) — 16 (47%)

Charles Harris is slowly developing into the Lions’ best—and most trusted—edge defender on the team right now. He scored the top PFF grade of the Lions defensive line and led the unit in snaps again.

Trey Flowers struggled with injury but still managed to play in well over half of the snaps. Meanwhile, with no Austin Bryant, Julian Okwara played a fairly big load on Sunday and picked up his first career interception along the way.

Defensive tackle

Da’Shawn Hand: 68 (78%) — 4 (12%)
Nick Williams: 39 (45%)
Michael Brockers: 38 (44%)
Levi Onwuzurike: 26 (30%) — 4 (12%)
Alim McNeill: 15 (17%)
John Penisini: 14 (16%) — 4 (12%)

Maybe the most surprising development from Sunday was the use of Da’Shawn Hand. The fourth-year interior defender missed the first half of the season with an injury before playing eight snaps against the Eagles in Week 8. In this game, he played in 78 percent of the snaps, which is not only the most on the team, but it’s the most in Hand’s career. Despite all the playing time, Hand logged just two tackles on the day.

Meanwhile, the Lions went light on nose tackles, giving McNeill and Penisini a combined 33 percent of playing time.

Linebackers

Alex Anzalone: 87 (100%) — 4 (12%)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 57 (66%) — 13 (38%)
Derrick Barnes: 15 (17%) — 7 (21%)
Anthony Pittman: 0 (0%) — 30 (88%)
Josh Woods: 0 (0%) — 26 (76%)

As it has been all season, Jalen Reeves-Maybin is repping ahead of Derrick Barnes for the second starting linebacker job. However, this was the most lopsided split between the two, with JRM getting almost four times as many snaps.

Cornerbacks

Amani Oruwariye: 87 (100%)
AJ Parker: 69 (79%) — 4 (12%)
Jerry Jacobs: 57 (66%) — 3 (9%)
Mark Gilbert: 30 (34%) — 3 (9%)
Bobby Price: 0 (0%) — 24 (71%)

Nothing too surprising here. With Jerry Jacobs suffering an injury late, it was yet another undrafted rookie—Mark Gilbert—taking over at outside corner. Gilbert made one of the biggest plays late, punching the ball out of Diontae Johnson’s hands for a key turnover in overtime.

Safety

Will Harris: 81 (93%) — 7 (21%)
Dean Marlowe: 50 (57%) — 6 (18%)
Tracy Walker: 48 (55%) — 5 (15%)
Jalen Elliott: 17 (20%) — 28 (82%)
C.J. Moore: 0 (0%) — 26 (76%)

Again, the Lions employed a lot of three safety looks, which is not all that surprising after hearing defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn mentioned that while self-scouting over the bye week, the Lions were surprisingly efficient against the run in that formation.

Dean Marlowe got a huge bump in playing time after Tracy Walker left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. It appears Walker is doing fine and has a good chance of playing next week.

Special teams

Jack Fox: 15 (44%)
Scott Daly: 15 (44%)
Ryan Santoso: 7 (21%)

Jack Fox punted 10 times, which is the most punts in a game for a single team since 2017.