If you watched even a portion of the Detroit Lions’ decisive 31-18 victory over the New York Giants, you likely saw defensive tackle Alim McNeill make a big play or two. On the traditional stat sheet, it was a solid day for the 325-pound defender: four tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, and four quarterback hits.
McNeill was a big reason the Lions were able to hold Saquon Barkley—the NFL’s leading rusher going into Week 11—to just 22 rushing yards on 15 carries.
But dig a little deeper into McNeill’s breakout day and you’ll find an even more impressive performance. According to PFF’s Doug Kyed, McNeill tallied a whopping 10 pressures on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. That is uncharted territory for players like McNeill. According to Kyed, those 10 pressures are the most recorded by PFF from a player over 320 pounds since the analytics site started tracking that stat (2006).
#Lions DT Alim McNeill has entered the conversation.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) November 21, 2022
McNeill generated 10 pressures in Week 11 against the Giants.
New leader in single-game pressures by a defender over 320 pounds in the @PFF era (since 2006). https://t.co/Fr4B8w7cLV
“I just woke up feeling a little different today,” McNeill told Lions reporter Dannie Rogers after the game. “I was just telling myself, ‘It’s time to go ahead and get myself on the scene.’”
And while this game was certainly a “Better Learn My Name” performance from McNeill, coach Dan Campbell was quick to point out that the Lions' defensive tackle has been quietly doing the dirty work all season long.
“Here’s the thing, there are so many things that Mac does that I don’t think goes noticed,” Campbell said. “It can go unnoticed at times but he and (Isaiah) Buggs. But we’re on Mac, they do a ton of dirty work in there, and they have consistently been all year for us have just banged away in there.
“They’ve helped our run defense. It’s hard to run in there with those two guys and he’s one of the biggest reasons. For him to be able to make the TFL’s today and affect the quarterback like he did, that was great to see. We know what Mac’s capable of, but he just did it a different way today.”
Rest of the NFL, you’re on notice.