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Notes: Detroit Lions blitzed at the highest percentage of all Week 1 teams

Well, this certainly is a drastic change in strategy.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Under Matt Patricia, the Detroit Lions were one of the least aggressive teams when it came to generating pressure. Per Pro-Football-Reference, the Lions defense ranked 25th, 30th, and 31st in blitz percentages in 2020, 2019, and 2018 under Patricia.

Welcome to a new era of Detroit Lions football.

The Lions dialed up a lot of pressure against Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. According to PFF’s data, the Lions blitzed on a higher percentage of passing plays than any other team in Week 1. Per PFF, the Lions blitzed on 15 of 28 49ers' dropbacks, making them just one of three NFL teams who blitzed more than half of the time. For what it’s worth, Pro-Football-Reference had the Lions at exactly 50 percent blitz rate, which ranked them third in the NFL.

This shouldn’t be a complete surprise. The Lions were aggressive in the preseason, and the New Orleans Saints—where defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is likely drawing inspiration from—have commonly always been ranked in the top half of the league in blitz percentage.

While the Lions only managed to sack Garoppolo once—from a blitzing Tracy Walker—they did produce three quarterback hits and 10 total pressures, per PFF.

  • The Lions announced today that Calvin Johnson will receive his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring at halftime of the Lions’ Week 3 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Lions great Alex Karras—who was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, as well—will also be honored prior to the game.

  • Speaking of Johnson, he spoke more about his relationship with the Lions, and why he turned down their “joke” of an offer:

  • Both Dan Campbell and Michael Brockers were mic’d up for the Lions’ season opener. Here’s the result:

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