The Detroit Lions faltered in classic Detroit Lions fashion on Sunday, breaking all of our hearts after getting our hopes up for three quarters. On the bright side, it was a pleasant change of pace from their last two games, which were over way earlier than they should have been. That improvement yields us some risers this week, but the faltering down the stretch gives us fallers for the week.
Stock down: D’Andre Swift, RB
Swift returned to the field Sunday after missing several weeks with ankle and shoulder injuries already this season. With that came the expectation that Swift would bring some star power to this offense, but that was nowhere to be found against the Dolphins. Instead, Swift looked like a shell of himself, dancing around each time he touched the ball and failing to net positive yards. His vision and burst were not there, and his confidence went missing too. While Swift had been much better this season about getting north and south between the tackles, he looked scared of inside runs this week, bouncing his touches to the outside at every opportunity.
Swift would finish the day with 33 yards from scrimmage on 10 touches, including five rushes for just 6 yards. Not what you want out of your RB1.
Stock down: Taylor Decker, OT & Penei Sewell, OT
The offensive line has had its ups and downs this season largely due to injury, but Decker and Sewell have consistently been available and up to the challenge no matter the opponent. That continued Sunday and they played well, but the pair would combine for four penalties across the Lions’ first two drives of the second half, three of which came back to back to back on the team’s inaugural third quarter possession. Those penalties were huge killers for an offense that turned into a ghost of its first half self. You simply cannot have that happen, but you especially can’t have it from two leaders who are the cornerstones of your offense and your team.
Stock up: Jared Goff, QB
Credit where credit is due. I’ve absolutely ragged on Goff for his lackluster performances in recent weeks, but he showed up Sunday. He had a flawless first half, propelling the offense to a whopping 27 points. The second half left some to be desired, largely due to defensive adjustments and a nonexistent running game, but Goff avoided the turnovers and ugly mistakes that tainted his last two games. If this Goff shows up every week, it’s safe to say the Lions have at least a shot in every game.
Stock up: Malcolm Rodriguez, LB
Rodriguez has had a quiet few weeks since bursting onto the scene late in preseason. Sunday, Rodriguez looked back to form, flying all over the field in all parts of the defense. He would finish the day with one sack, seven tackles including a tackle for loss, and a beautiful pass defense that put Rodrigo’s vertical jump on display. He also recovered the fumble fellow rookie Kerby Joseph forced in the red zone on the Dolphins’ first possession of the game. Well done, rookie.
Kerby Joseph, S: Kerby came up big again Sunday by forcing a fumble on the Dolphins’ opening drive. Likewise, on a day where every DB was getting torched, Joseph did not seem guilty of having that happen to him, which is a plus. The rookie continues to show great strides forward as a starter.
T.J. Hockenson, TE: Hock showed up Sunday, and any day he does that is a good day for the Lions offense. He had a big 58-yard catch and run, which is especially impressive considering “catch” and “run” aren’t usually used in the same sentence when discussing Hock.
C.J. Moore, S: Beautiful vision and execution on the fake punt by Moore. If that went wrong, it was going to be a disastrous turning point in the game, but Moore saw to it that the Lions got a fresh set of downs.
James Mitchell, TE: The Lions’ fifth-round pick finally saw action Sunday, making a grab for 14 yards in the red zone. It wasn’t much, but it’s a start for a guy we’ve long been waiting to see.
Michael Badgley, K: After the kicker roulette we’ve seen this season, let’s show a little appreciation for Badgley, who has been perfect through two games.
AJ Parker, CB: It’s not an easy task for any defensive back to guard Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle. However, Parker looked lost early and often Sunday.
Amani Oruwariye, CB: See above.