Happy Victory Monday to all those who celebrate. It’s just the second such Monday of the season for the Detroit Lions at the halfway point of the season, but after this past Sunday, there’s hope for more. The Lions played one of their most complete games of the season to take down the Packers at Ford Field.
Stock up: Kerby Joseph, S
Man, Joseph just keeps on getting better, week in and week out. After teasing his turnover capabilities the past two weeks with forced fumbles, he unleashed the beast Sunday to the tune of two interceptions, three passes defended, and 10 tackles. Since stepping in as a starter (and struggling mightily in his debut), Kerby has taken massive strides forward each week. He looks like a formidable starter right now—dare I say the E word. It might even be warranted, considering Joseph is just the fourth player to ever pick off Aaron Rodgers twice in a game, according to the FOX broadcast.
Joseph’s development is so exciting, and it really opens things up for the defense heading into 2023. He and Tracy Walker make for a formidable back end, and adding a third safety to complement them both could really complete this defense.
Stock up: Derrick Barnes, LB
It has been a somewhat quiet year for Derrick Barnes as he was relegated to a more limited role with the emergence of Malcolm Rodriguez. However, with a quiet day (and an injury) Sunday from Rodriguez, Barnes stepped up to the opportunity, flying all over the field. He would finish the day with 12 tackles, one QB hit, one sack, and one tackle for loss. Many of those stops came in the red zone, including when the Packers were stuffed from the 1-yard line four times in a row. Barnes was huge in making sure the Packers couldn’t convert.
The one exception was his and Alex Anzalone’s horrifying tackling angles on Aaron Rodgers’ third-and-17 scramble, but let’s not talk about that. The rest was a big thumbs up for Barnes in his best performance of the season.
Stock down: Scott Daly, LS
A long snapper popping up on stock report is almost never a good thing, and unfortunately this appearance follows that pattern. Scott Daly had a low snap for the second week in a row, this one a snap on an extra point attempt that skipped along the ground and was lucky enough to find its way to Jack Fox.
This comes after a low snap on a punt last week, and another low snap on an Austin Seibert field goal attempt in the Lions’ loss to the Vikings. Every snapper is off once in a while, but this is the one thing they can’t let turn into a pattern. Two weeks in a row is a red flag. Need better from Scott Daly moving forward.
Stock up: Jack Fox, P
Jack Fox is still very, very good, but he continued to prove Sunday why he’s one of the best pin-deep punters in the league right now. Fox dropped a dime inside the 10-yard line in the second quarter and it bounced just right for an Anthony Pittman recovery at the 1-yard line.
On top of his punting, Fox has had impeccable hands to make folks overlook Daly’s struggles. All three of the aforementioned snaps were handled beautifully by Fox, but Sunday’s improvisation to make sure Michael Badgley could still get an extra point attempt off might just be Fox’s best work yet. Hopefully we don’t see much more of it any time soon.
Stock up: Jerry Jacobs, CB
Jerry Jacobs finally saw meaningful defensive snaps Sunday for the first time since tearing his ACL in the Lions’ game against the Broncos last December. He looked like he didn’t miss a beat, showing tremendous field awareness and technique.
He also looked like he wasn’t missing a step for someone who hasn’t seen game action, showing up all over the field in run support.
There was a pretty ugly pass interference called on Jacobs on a debatably-catchable ball later in the game, but aside from that it was a clean performance and an impressive one for someone who hasn’t seen game action in almost a calendar year.
Stock up: Brad Holmes, General Manager
What a win today was for Brad Holmes. There’s a youth movement happening in Detroit, and it’s making the Lions start to look like his team. James Mitchell, Aidan Hutchinson, Kerby Joseph, and Malcolm Rodriguez are all 2022 draft picks emerging as significant pieces of this team. That’s not even factoring in a first-round draft pick in Jameson Williams, who hasn’t even seen the field yet.
Will Harris, CB: Will Harris had a nice bounce back performance today, and really showed up with effort. His chase down of Allen Lazard at the Detroit 1-yard line set up an eventual goal line stop on fourth down for the Lions to get the ball back, quite literally erasing six points from the Packers just with hustle. Also, Will Harris is right with Jerry Jacobs in the tackle for loss highlight above. Nice week for Harris.
D’Andre Swift, RB: Despite still working through injury, Swift looked a lot less apprehensive this week than he did last week against the Dolphins. It showed up on the field, as Swift is a true difference maker with the ball in his hands. He may have only played nine snaps, but he remains a threat as a receiver (three catches, 40 yards).
Aidan Hutchinson, DL: Gotta show love for a defensive lineman interception. Way to stay home in coverage on David Bakhtiari.
James Mitchell, TE: Good to see him getting involved for the second straight week.
T.J. Hockenson, TE: The Lions didn’t look like they missed Hockenson Sunday. They spread the ball around on offense and got both touchdowns on the day from their young tight ends in sophomore Shane Zylstra and rookie James Mitchell.
Brock Wright, TE: Wright didn’t see any receiving action Sunday after spending the season as TE2 and the Lions trading away their TE1. Perhaps the Lions like Zylstra and Mitchell as their options in the receiving game, as Wright’s forte is his blocking.