The Detroit Lions didn’t just get dominated by the New England Patriots on Sunday, but they were decimated with injuries, specifically in the secondary.
On just the second defensive snap of the game, safety Saivion Smith suffered a serious neck injury that required an ambulance to take him off the field. We still don’t have a ton of information on Smith, but the good news is that Smith has feeling in his extremities.
Unfortunately for Detroit, that was just one of many injuries to come.
Soon after, starting cornerback Will Harris suffered a groin injury and did not return. Next up was Jeff Okudah, who suffered an undisclosed injury and missed a few drives. A few plays later, safety DeShon Elliott, who was in for Smith, went down with cramps and had to be carted to the locker room. His replacement, Ifeatu Melifonwu, suffered an ankle injury a few plays after that and went to the locker room, as well.
Elliott and Okudah eventually returned to the lineup.
That left the Lions with the following lineup in their secondary for a few drives.
CB Bobby Price
CB MIke Hughes
Nickel CB AJ Parker
S Chase Lucas
S Kerby Joseph (who also temporarily left for an injury)
This was all complicated by the fact that Detroit opted to bench—and make inactive—two former starters in cornerback Amani Oruwariye and safety JuJu Hughes. Obviously, the Lions couldn’t see all of these injuries coming, but it is curious that Detroit opted to keep these players inactive rather than simply benching them.
Predictably, Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe quickly took advantage of the beat-up secondary, connecting with a wide-open Jakobi Meyers for a 22-yard touchdown that pushed the game to 26-0 Patriots.
- S Saivion Smith — Neck injury, hospitalized
- CB Will Harris — Groin injury, rule OUT
- CB Jeff Okudah — No injury update, but returned to play
- S DeShon Elliott — Cramps, returned back to action in fourth quarter
- S Ifeatu Melifonwu — Ankle injury, questionable to return