Stock up: DJ Chark, WR
Chark needed a good game and it came just at the right time against his former team. Five catches for 96 yards gave Chark his best yardage performance since Week 8 of the 2020 season, and left him just a touchdown away from completing this week’s bold prediction. It resulted in a game ball for Chark, and it had to be a feel-good moment after and rocky start to his tenure in Detroit. The Lions have made it clear they want to get him the ball now that he’s healthy, and a clean pocket for Jared Goff made way for Chark to get the deep targets he has yearned for.
Stock up: Jared Goff, QB
Speaking of Goff, what a day. Sunday was without a doubt one of Goff’s best day as a Lion from a statistical standpoint, finishing 31-of-41 for 340 yards and two touchdowns. He wasn’t the most accurate, at times struggling to place the ball right on receivers just a few yards downfield. However, he had the cleanest pocket he’s had all year (and that’s saying a lot) and that meant Goff had a patience to look downfield he has otherwise not had.
I don’t expect this high level of play to continue by any means—Goff’s play was a product of circumstance, and that circumstance was Jacksonville’s pass rush being nonexistent. That kept Goff from being his usual flustered self in a chaotic pocket, and credit to him for stepping up today, but temper expectations against better defensive teams moving forward.
Stock down: Scott Daly, LS
I’ve really tried to be lenient with Scott here, but things are getting out of hand figuratively at point, and he’s incredibly lucky it’s not literal yet. It feels like almost every week now there’s a bad snap, be it on punt or field goal or PAT. Jack Fox has, quite literally, singlehandedly saved Daly’s job with the Lions thus far. If Fox bobbled every single bad snap that has come his way, or even half of them, the Lions would already have a new long snapper right now. Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp defended Daly’s accuracy last month, but more bad snaps since then leave it quite evident the Lions will need to do their due diligence this offseason at the position.
Stock up: Dan Campbell, HC
When things go wrong, Campbell is the first one to take the fall. Credit where credit is due, Dan Campbell has his staff getting every ounce of talent out of this roster. They’re playing their best football of the season in December. That’s something we rarely see as Lions fans. This team is 4-1 since the start of November and in the playoff hunt entering Week 14. That’s a far cry from the discussions of a first overall draft pick just a month ago.
Likewise, Campbell has his team playing clean football. A good football team has to control not just the opponent, but themselves too, and the Lions did that Sunday. The team finished with just one penalty for 10 yards on a Jonah Jackson hold early in the fourth quarter. Aside from that, the Lions played a clean and complete game of football, and that’s a reflection of exceptional coaching across the board.
Stock up: Michael Badgley, K
Badgley went 4-of-4 on field goals Sunday, hitting from 45, 47, 38, and 44 yards. That’s after the Money Badger nailed a 51-yard field goal to tie last week’s game late in the fourth on national television. That leaves Badgley at 11-of-12 on the season, with four of his last five coming from 40+ yards. That’s not bad for a guy who was labeled as iffy beyond 45 yards and no good in crunch time. He has earned his stay at kicker through the rest of the season barring a significant change (knock on wood), and he has clearly earned the trust of this staff and this team.
Stock up: Will Harris, CB
It was a really nice day for Will Harris against a fairly strong Jacksonville receiving corps. On paper, Harris finished as the Lions’ second leading tackler with six tackles and a pass defense. On film, it was somehow better.
credit where credit is due that was *textbook* technique by Will Harris for a beautiful PBU— Hamza Baccouche (@HamzaPOD) December 4, 2022
In a huge change of pace, Harris found himself in all the right places in coverage Sunday and had a really good day keeping pace in coverage and playing through the ball even when he lost a step. Hopefully he can keep up this level of play moving forward.
Stock up: DeShon Elliott, S
Elliott has had his ups and downs this season, but he came out the gate with a bang to start Sunday’s game. On the first defensive snap, Elliott stood up Travis Etienne after he tore off a big run, and then ripped the ball out of Etienne’s hands for a Lions recovery. The tackle was impressive enough on its own; I would have put Elliott in stock up just for standing up Etienne in his tracks. The turnover was the cherry on top, kickstarting what turned out to be a tremendous day for the Lions.
James Houston, EDGE: Another sack in limited defensive action, this time showing off some swagger with a skip step and some incredible bend. Also, props to Houston for hyping up the crowd after every single kickoff (and there were a lot) on Sunday. Dude is happy to be playing ball, and he’s playing very good ball.
Duce Staley, RB Coach: D’Andre Swift has fallen well short of expectations this year, but Staley continues to get him meaningful touches and put him in a position to succeed. Swift finished with four catches for 49 yards and 14 carries for 62 yards, altogether his most efficient day in a while. All the while, Jamaal Williams and Justin Jackson are thriving in their respective roles.
Kalif Raymond, WR/PR: Raymond continues to make magic happens out of punts that most returners would fair catch. Today, that amounted to two returns for 20 yards, but that’s 20 yards most other returners would not have gotten you.
Justin Jackson, RB: A couple bad drops hurt Jackson Sunday. If he wants to continue to eat into D’Andre Swift’s touches, the team needs to be able to trust Jackson in the passing game.