Sunday was a long game, painfully reminiscent of the 2021 Detroit Lions. Although the final score would lead you to believe they were in it til the end, that game felt like a beatdown from start to finish. To call the defense swiss cheese would be an insult to swiss cheese, and dare I say even the offense struggled in spite of putting up a miraculous 45 points. Let’s unpack.
Stock up: T.J. Hockenson, TE
This was the easiest pick of the day, and one of the few bright spots from Sunday’s loss. Hockenson had a career day by a wide margin, catching eight receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He stepped right into the gap left by the absence of Amon-Ra St. Brown as Jared Goff’s safety net and the go-to guy over the middle. If only someone had seen that coming.
This probably doesn’t change the long term prospects of Hockenson with the team, as he’d have to sustain a similar level of production for the majority of the season to warrant that. However, it’s nice to see he’s still capable of being a very good tight end even when he’s the primary receiver, something we haven’t seen since early last season.
Stock down: Aaron Glenn, DC
Glenn has quickly turned from potential head coaching candidate to potential hot seat candidate. His defense has failed to step up, failed to adapt, and failed to defend. There’s something to be said about the vast injuries, but this isn’t the only team facing injuries and this defense is far and away the worst in the league right now.
Sunday just had too many inexcusable mistakes, namely the Seahawks beating the defense on the same exact play design over and over again. I swear I saw at least five play action tight end bootlegs that were caught wide open and taken for a first down. That should not be allowed to happen twice, let alone five times.
The defense will have to see significant steps forward, especially facing a hampered New England offense next week. If not, it may be time to seriously consider changes — the Lions can’t wait to get torn to shreds on Thanksgiving to make a change like they did two years ago, because if they do, the Bills offense will make it very ugly.
Seriously. If the Lions defense allows a Matt Patricia led offense with Bailey Zappe at quarterback to put up big numbers, someone in this coaching staff needs to get left in Boston. https://t.co/EU5XGppR83— Mike Payton (@POD_Payton) October 2, 2022
Stock down: Dominik Eberle, K
What a rough day for Eberle. The recent practice squad signee stepped in Sunday to fill in for the injured Austin Seibert in what was his first and possibly his last game as a Detroit Lion. Eberle missed two extra points on the day and blasted a kickoff out of bounds. Lucky for him, his one field goal attempt cozied up to the inside of the left upright and made it through.
The journeyman kicker has proved himself capable, but he failed to step up Sunday when it mattered most. Fan bases are ruthless, especially when it comes to kickers, and Eberle did not make a good first impression with this one.
Stock down: Jamaal Williams, RB
Hear me out first — Jamaal Williams stock was at an all-time high heading into this week. This isn’t to say he is not a good running back; if anything, Sunday proved he is. However, Williams filled in admirably for D’Andre Swift in the passing game last week, and it was the diversity of his play that earned him last week’s stock up. This week, however, Williams was more of a liability than anything else in the passing game. Williams had two ugly drops, the second one while he was wide open, that left more questions than answers as to who’s the Lions’ third down back moving forward.
Tom Kennedy, WR: Kennedy finished 2021 with six catches for 54 yards, despite playing 12 games. He finished Sunday three catches for 54 yards. If you want to make the regular season roster, you gotta make the most of your regular season snaps, and Kennedy is finally doing that.
Malcolm Rodriguez, LB: Rodriguez continues to show the value he brings to the table, especially with the forced fumble on special teams Sunday. It’s not crazy to say he’s the Lions’ LB1 right now, although it is slightly concerning.
Scott Daly, LS: Daly was in the right place at the right time to recover Rodriguez’s fumble, and we love a good long snapper moment.
Jerry Jacobs, CB: Oruwariye continues to struggle mightily. If the season continues to go down the wayside, expect Jacobs to get plenty of looks at CB2 when he returns, even if in a limited capacity.
Alim McNeill, DT: McNeill has quietly assembled a solid couple of weeks on the interior of the offensive line. He’s not making splash plays, and he still has some development to do, but he’s getting quality looks and showing the progress you’d like out of a second-year player.
Jared Goff, QB: Goff was starting to look like he was comfortable in this offense last week, avoiding the dumb mistakes we usually see a few of every week. Those returned Sunday with an ugly pick six to Tariq Woolen to open the second half.
The offensive line: It wasn’t a terrible day in pass protection or run blocking, but an egregious number of holding penalties kept setting the Lions back, which was the last thing they needed with the offense already down several guys.
Aidan Hutchinson, DE: Hutchinson has been awfully quiet the past couple of weeks following his three-sack performance against Washington. Not what you want to see out of the second overall pick, especially on a day when your defense needed a stop more than anything.
Alex Anzalone: For the second straight week, Alex Anzalone looked lost and often several steps behind where he needed to be. The defensive line hasn’t done him any favors with getting blown off the line the past couple of weeks, but Anzalone needs to be able to shed blocks and stay on his man/gap or he quickly becomes a liability.