Is this what it feels like to be a fan of a good team? Meaningful football in the middle of December? This feeling is so foreign yet so comforting, as if it is meant to be familiar. The Detroit Lions continue to show that they have truly turned a corner and put the league on notice by taking down the now 10-3 Minnesota Vikings Sunday. It took another collective effort, so here are your stock movers for the week:
Stock up: Jared Goff, QB
LET GOFF COOK? Every time I expect him to come back down to Earth, he proves me wrong. Goff’s stats through the Lions’ hot streak put him in really good company, and this week’s performance easily completed the best two-game stretch of his career as a Lion. Goff got better as the game went on, and he showed an accuracy on deep balls that we simply have not seen out of him before.
Credit where it’s due.— Jim Costa (@JimCosta_) December 11, 2022
Goff deep DOT pic.twitter.com/ye44TnUP8L
When Goff does well, the Lions do well. Here’s to hoping that continues.
Stock up: DJ Chark, WR
Speaking of deep balls, multiple were thrown the way of DJ Chark Sunday. This was the second straight game where Chark finally looked like the receiver the Lions thought they were signing this offseason. Goff’s ability to find Chark deep really opened up the intermediate passing lanes and made the Vikings defense look lost across the board Sunday. It was really comforting to see Chark repeat last week’s performance as reassurance that it wasn’t a one-off revenge game, but rather a true preview of what he can be in Detroit.
Stock up: Jameson Williams, WR
The fun didn’t stop with Chark. Williams only has one catch through two games of action, but one catch is all he needed. Everybody in Ford Field knew the Lions were going to take a shot to Jameson Williams and Minnesota still let it happen.
Sometimes you hear about draft picks getting run out of town. Whatever is happening to Jameson Williams, it’s the opposite. The city of Detroit has been waiting with open arms, demanding to see Williams in action.
Ford Field crowd breaking into a LOUD “WE WANT JAMO” chant— Hamza Baccouche (@HamzaPOD) December 4, 2022
Sunday, Williams met them in those loving arms to the tune of his first touchdown, and that ought to tide us over until he ramps up to full speed. May it be the first of many.
Stock up: Aaron Glenn, DC
The Lions have made it known that they want more out of their defensive backs than just pass defense. It’s easy to overlook whether or not that makes a difference, but Sunday it was clear as day. On the Vikings’ opening possession, Jeff Okudah came downhill on a fourth-and-1 to stand up Dalvin Cook in his tracks—there are very few defensive backs in the league, let alone cornerbacks, who can stand up Dalvin Cook in his tracks.
Then in the second quarter, Mike Hughes came up off the edge to tackle Dalvin Cook for a 4-yard loss. Do you realize how hard it is to get a TFL, let alone for a 4-yard loss, let alone as a defensive back, let alone against a player like Dalvin Cook? This coaching staff has been coaching every ounce of talent out of their players for weeks, and this is yet another example of it.
Stock down: T.J. Hockenson, TE
Wins on Sunday: Vikings - 0, Lions - 1.
Stock up: Isaiah Buggs, DL
Buggs has quietly been a cornerstone of this defensive line all season, anchoring the interior in run defense. When you have a role like that, it’s really tough to find flashy moments or signature plays. Buggs finally got his moment Sunday with a high-IQ play that fizzled an attempt by the Vikings to get fancy.
Buggs was all over the field Sunday in ways that may not show up in the box score, so it’s nice to see him finally have a highlight reel moment.
Stock down: Amani Oruwariye, CB
The Vikings’ comeback against the Lions in Week 3 happened almost single-handedly due to their ability to pick on Oruwariye in coverage. Fortunately for the Lions, Oruwariye was not as present on the field Sunday. When he was, however, it was painfully evident. As the game progressed and Jeff Okudah was limited due to illness, the Vikings toyed with Oruwariye by matching him up with Justin Jefferson. It went about as well as you’d expect it to. At this rate it’s hard to imagine Oruwariye making this team in 2023, a far cry from the expectation of him being CB1B/CB2 entering 2022.
Stock up: Jerry Jacobs, CB
On that note, props to Jerry Jacobs. It’s still hard to reconcile that he was a UDFA with the level of play he’s currently at. His return to the lineup coincided with the Lions’ defensive turnaround, and Sunday he even had to step in at CB1 as Jeff Okudah was in and out of the game with illness. He played with impeccable patience and technique, especially in single coverage against arguably the best receiver in the league in Justin Jefferson.
That’s just one of several big plays Jacobs had Sunday. He also had a key block on Kalif Raymond’s big punt return, as well as a sack on Kirk Cousins for good measure. And on the matter of Amani Oruwariye, Jacobs’ presence matters a lot, because without him the Lions are looking at a lineup of Mike Hughes and Oruwariye while Okudah was out. We already know how that ends based on Week 3, but Jacobs’ presence this time around meant the Lions defense continued a high level of play.
Ben Johnson, OC: Censored so we keep him a secret, but Johnson was in his BAG Sunday. Vikings looked helpless while Johnson got the ball to his best players, literally.
Jack Fox, P: In case anyone forgot while Fox was on the sidelines last week, he’s still elite.
Justin Jackson, RB: He continues to make the most of every touch and provide a much more efficient shifty alternative to Jamaal Williams out of the backfield.
Mike Hughes, CB: The first half was stellar for Mike Hughes, who was on pace for his best game as a Lion. Unfortunately, he found himself in some unfavorable matchups against Justin Jefferson as the game went on, and it wasn’t super pretty. However, a sturdy performance stepping in for Will Harris at the nickel.
Nothing to report this week :)