The Detroit Lions defense was something different on Monday night. Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went into Week 8 having been sacked just seven times on the season. The Lions nearly doubled that number, taking Garoppolo down six times, while also notching nine quarterback hits.
In fact, the Lions rattled Garoppolo so much that Detroit’s overall team pressure rate finished at 71.4 percent—the highest rate in any NFL game since 2018, per NFL’s NextGenStats. Yes, that means of Garoppolo’s 28 dropbacks, he was pressured 71.4 percent of the time—or on 20 of those.
The @Lions defense generated pressure on 71.4% of Jimmy Garoppolo's dropbacks, the highest pressure rate by a defense in a game since 2018.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 31, 2023
Five different Lions defenders generated 3+ pressures. Garoppolo was sacked 6 times on the night.#LVvsDET | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/tXYUMrAAlw
Perhaps most impressive was how many different Lions were involved in the pressure game. Five different defenders—including two linebackers— were able to notch at least three pressures, with defensive tackle Alim McNeill leading the way. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn was far more aggressive this game than the rest of the season. Detroit entered Monday night 24th in blitz rate, but that was clearly part of the game plan, in particular when the Raiders were in obvious passing situations.
“Six sacks and nine quarterback hits, I mean that was all 100 percent teamwork there,” coach Dan Campbell said after the game. “We look like a tenacious defense, like that’s how we expect to play defense. We’re ferocious, we play tight coverage, we challenge. I thought Jerry (Jacobs) and Cam (Sutton) did a hell of a job. So it was an outstanding effort by our defense.”
Campbell is right to point out the marriage between pressure and coverage, because, in addition to creating outstanding pressure numbers, it also led to the lowest completion percentage over expected for the entire season—with Garoppolo finishing with a -20.1% in that mark. Sure, that means Garoppolo was awful on Monday, but the Lions clearly rattled him, too, and the secondary did their job when they needed to.
The @Lions defense also allowed the lowest completion percentage over expected (-20.1%) in a game this season. Garoppolo finished 10 of 21 for 126 yards & INT.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 31, 2023
Jimmy G Comp Pct: 47.6%
Avg Completion Probability: 67.7%
Comp Pct Over Expected: -20.1%#LVvsDET | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/ImQl22soro