It was an ugly day across the board in New England. Wholesale changes on the Detroit Lions defense, an utter collapse by the offense, and a nasty injury bug in the secondary led to a bumpy ride and no points to show for as the team left Foxborough. Hey, at least they didn’t miss any extra points this week, right? Here are your biggest movers from Sunday’s 29-0 loss to the New England Patriots.
Stock down: Jared Goff, QB
This one is easy. Goff looked utterly incompetent and flustered almost all of Sunday. He missed open reads, frequently missed receivers with separation, and stared down whoever was most covered on any given play, or so it seemed.
Goff continues to show that he simply cannot operate without a clean pocket, and that’s simply not something you can do as an NFL quarterback. It looked like he was making progress on weathering pressure through the first few weeks of the season, but it has quickly unwound through the last two games. A well-crafted attack plan by the Patriots defense yielded only 29 net passing yards the entire first half; it wasn’t until close to garbage time that Goff crossed the 100-yard threshold.
Goff does not look like he can be a game manager right now, let alone someone who can carry this team to anything meaningful.
Stock up: Deshon Elliott, S
What a wild week it has been for Elliott. Elliot found himself benched amidst the shakeup in defensive personnel, and the man taking his place, Saivion Smith, was a cornerback who didn’t even make the 53-man roster.
After Smith’s unfortunate injury, the coaching staff found themselves turning to Elliott once again, and he delivered. Call it lucky timing, but a pass deflected off of Nelson Agholor’s hands set up Elliott for a diving interception. He’d finish the day with a team-leading 12 tackles. It’s just what Elliott needed to get himself back on track, as he’s sure to see more playing time ahead with injuries to the secondary.
Stock up: Craig Reynolds, RB
The Lions have had anything but consistency at the running back position. D’Andre Swift has a complete skillset but cannot stay healthy, and Jamaal Williams is durable and can pound the rock from end zone to end zone but has proven unreliable in the passing game. Reynolds, although not as physically gifted as either, has proven himself reliable in every facet of the game, and the Lions showed their appreciation of that Sunday.
Reynolds finished the day with six carries for 24 yards, as well as having the second-most receiving yards with three catches for 68 yards. Although Reynolds was involved in an ugly play late in the game, it was the result of a botched handoff and not something you can place squarely on him. Ultimately, Reynolds makes the most of his touches and does what he’s asked, and when the team is turning to players they trust, that’s good news for him.
Stock down: Logan Stenberg, G
Stenberg continues to be the weak link along the offensive line and the biggest source of pressure for Jared Goff. Having that pressure come from the interior as opposed to the edges is bad because it forces Goff out of the pocket, as opposed to stepping up in it, and Goff runs like he’s wearing a full diaper.
Stenberg got another shot at starting after being benched for Evan Brown in previous weeks, but he struggled in the same way he has all season. His upside is supposedly his ability in the run game, but he didn’t help his case with that either on Sunday.
Watching the replay of the 4th down and Logan Stenberg blocked the wrong side of the gap— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) October 9, 2022
Stock up: Kerby Joseph, S
Following a woeful first start, Joseph looks like he flipped a switch in the seven days since. He wasn’t stellar Sunday, but he was flying all over the field and was always around the ball. That included a well-timed pass breakup that showed his ability to play sideline to sideline, a promising thing to see out of the raw rookie.
With the season essentially down the drain already, it becomes even more meaningful that Joseph continues to take small steps forward every week. What started out of necessity is now exactly what he needs to develop into the starter the Lions envision him as by 2023.
Jack Fox: Fox was charted as one of the best pin-deep punters in the league entering this week, and he continued to impress Sunday with both of his punts on the day pinning the Patriots inside their own 20.
Josh Reynolds: Reynolds returned to being the focal point of this offense, similar to late in 2021, with six receptions for 92 yards. He did have an ugly drop, but he found ways to get open consistently Sunday, which is more than you can say about most.
Alex Anzalone: Anzalone was all over the field Sunday, including chasing down a long run early to prevent a touchdown and some nice pass defense against one of the league’s better tight ends in Hunter Henry. After an iffy start to the season, Sunday was a nice rebound for Anzalone.
Maurice Alexander: The former USFL star was signed to the active roster Saturday and leaned on exactly what got him into the NFL, bursting open a kickoff return to midfield. Way to make the most of the opportunity.
T.J. Hockenson: Following a career game against the Seahawks, Hockenson disappeared in New England. The circumstances weren’t that different — the Lions were undermanned in the receiving department and found themselves playing from behind most of the day. That should’ve translated well for Hockenson, but instead he finished the day with just one catch for 6 yards. Oh, and let’s not talk about his pass-blocking attempts against Matt Judon and the Patriots defense.
Derrick Barnes: Barnes has faded into oblivion for most of this season, but when he did see the field Sunday, he got called for an ugly hold that erased what would’ve been Detroit’s only sack of the day. Not what you want to see out of the sophomore linebacker.
Michael Badgley: By no fault of his own, Badley lands on this list in spite of not having played a down in a Lions uniform. However, opting for a fourth-and-9 with a struggling offense instead of a 50-yard field goal does not speak to trust in your new kicker. Dan Campbell and the rest of the staff should have to answer for that.