If the old stock market adage of “buy low, sell high” applies to the Detroit Lions, then I sure hope you bought stock while it was low last week. The Lions came out firing on all cylinders against the Washington Commanders in Week 2 and kept their foot on the gas to keep it distant down the stretch. As a result, stocks are to the moon this week.
Stock up: D’Andre Swift, RB
Despite what was arguably the best performance of Swift’s career in Week 1, he needed this week’s stock up as much as anyone to prove that it was the new norm rather than a fluke. Prove he did, starting with this 50-yard run in the first quarter.
That run would account for 50 of Swift’s 56 rushing yards on the day, but that doesn’t mean he was unproductive otherwise. Despite a makeshift offensive line paving the way in the run game, Swift found ways to make plays happen:
Swift picked up right where he left off in Week 1, and he’s finally looking like the running back the Lions thought they drafted.
Stock up: Dan Skipper, G
Swift’s 50-yard run doesn’t happen without stellar blocking from the interior offensive line of Dan Skipper, Evan Brown, and Logan Stenberg. All three are filling in for starters, but Skipper’s performance has got to be the most impressive. Skipper hasn’t played guard since the 2018 preseason, and before that, you’d have to go back to his freshman year in college (2013). He doesn’t have the build for it, standing at a nice 6-foot-9, but none of that seemed to matter on Sunday. Skipper popped over to guard late in the week when Jonah Jackson went down with an injury and didn’t look back.
It’s a heartwarming story, but it certainly doesn’t end here. It’s good news for the Lions, who are already playing lineman carousel in Week 2, to know that they have an asset in Skipper through the rest of the season.
Stock up: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE
When you’re picked second overall, you’re expected to put up numbers. Fans in this league don’t have a lot of patience—just ask Russell Wilson. Hutchinson didn’t have a bad performance in Week 1 by any means, but he just couldn’t get home on his quarterback pressures. This week, however, Hutch looked like a man on a mission.
Three sacks for Aidan Hutchinson: the No. 2 overall pick set a new Lions rookie single-game record pic.twitter.com/Q7zxoi1U2X— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 19, 2022
Hutchinson would finish the day with six tackles and three sacks, the latter of which all came in the first half. That puts him in the good graces of Lions fans, but also in good company in history:
Aidan Hutchinson has 3.0 sacks entering halftime in Week 2.— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) September 18, 2022
He’s the 3rd top 10 pick to record 3.0 sacks in 1 of his first 2 games.
The others, Julius Peppers (2002) & Chip Banks (1982), each won Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Also, happy birthday, Chip!#OnePride @Lions
Stock down: T.J. Hockenson, TE
It has been a rough start to the year for the tight end seeking a payday. He and Jared Goff seem out of sync, and in a year where the Lions have surrounded Goff with receiving weapons, Hockenson is quickly falling to the bottom of the totem pole.
Hockenson would finish Sunday’s game with three catches for 26 yards on seven targets, and at least two of the incompletions were drops by Hockenson. Hockenson is struggling to separate and is notoriously bad at getting yards after the catch, so if he is to provide any value it would be making catches in tight windows. He’s just not doing that right now, and for a guy who doesn’t turn any heads with his blocking, it leaves a big question mark as to what he’s providing over a mid-tier tight end. At least he’s making Brad Holmes’ decision at the end of the season easy.
Stock up: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR/RB/???
St. Brown may be playing the Deebo Samuel role in the Lions offense better than Deebo plays it himself this year. St. Brown was an unstoppable force Sunday, at one point standing top five in the league in both rushing and receiving on the week.
ARSB has the fifth most rushing yards *and* the fifth most receiving yards in the league so far this week— Hamza Baccouche (@HamzaPOD) September 18, 2022
It’s been great to see that spreading the ball around hasn’t stopped the Lions from feeding their best player (looking at you, Arthur Smith). If you stop Amon-Ra in the passing game, they’ll line him up in the backfield. If you stop him in the backfield, they’ll run him on the edges. There is no stopping Amon-Ra St. Brown from getting the ball in his hands and getting yards.
Stock up: Ben Johnson, OC
Speaking of the craftiness of feeding Amon-Ra St. Brown, let’s give a huge credit to offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. Johnson might honestly have the best offense in the league right now.
The Lions have put up 35 and 36 points the last two weeks, respectively, against respectable defenses and with Jared Goff at the helm. I’m not saying the Lions quarterback is terrible, but he has missed a number of throws through two weeks that have left even more points on the board. It’s hard not to salivate over the idea of a more formidable quarterback leading Ben Johnson’s offense.
An offensive coordinator’s job at the end of the day is to build an offense that puts up points, and do so by getting the ball in your best players’ hands. Johnson is excelling at those through two weeks, and he’s milking every ounce of potential out of this offense.
Austin Seibert, K: Seibert saw his first regular season action with two cash field goals. Always good to see.
Evan Brown, C: Brown held his own in the run game and we didn’t notice him in pass protection, which is usually a good thing. Campbell gave Brown kudos for his performance after the game.
Bobby Price, S: Price was forced to step in not just as a cornerback, but as CB2 against a Washington offense that has (at least) two very talented receivers in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. Having that positional mobility is very valuable.
Jeff Okudah, CB: Okudah is playing like the third overall pick, giving up just one catch in Week 1 and following it up with a strong performance Sunday.
As Jon Vilma notes on the broadcast, Jeff Okudah has traveled with Terry McLaurin all game. McLaurin just got his 1st catch on Commanders' first drive of 2nd half— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) September 18, 2022
Logan Stenberg, G: The hope was that a week to mesh with the first team offense would dissolve some of Stenberg’s struggles in pass protection, but there were still a number of head-scratching plays on Sunday. It’s not even mistakes due to physical limitations; it’s mistakes that a third-year player shouldn’t be making.
Logan Stenberg didn't even touch DaRon Payne on that sack. Yikes.— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) September 18, 2022
Jeff Okudah, CB: Can’t mention Okudah without bringing up the fact that he’s cramped up in two consecutive weeks down the stretch. That’s not really his fault; he didn’t have the offseason and all of training camp to get in “game shape” and that will take time to adjust to, but if he keeps having to leave the game late that could become a problem down the stretch. Bobby Price and Will Harris stepped in admirably, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on them holding it down through every week in the fourth quarter.