It wasn’t pretty at times, but pretty doesn’t matter in the NFL. Wins and losses do, and the Detroit Lions found a way to scrap it together and pummel the life out of one of the NFL’s worst team in the second half. I’m proud of the Lions for finding ways to pull it out last night despite three turnovers, because any time you do that and still win by double digits I think it speaks more to the capabilities (or lack thereof) of the other team.
Here are your movers for the week:
Stock up: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB
Stats: 25 carries, 152 yards, 1 TD, 5 receptions, 37 yards
I hope you saw this one coming from a mile away, because if you didn’t, I don’t know what game you watched last night. Gibbs was without a shred of doubt the biggest winner from last night, putting a gag on people questioning his usage for at least a couple weeks to come.
Gibbs handled an extremely high volume of touches and showed no signs of slowing down. He exhibited tremendous vision against the Raiders defense—much better than we’ve seen of Gibbs so far this season—to turn many “three yards and a cloud of dust” runs into runs of 10-20 yards.
He was efficient, effective, and if you watched his postgame interview with Scott Van Pelt, he was extremely mature. He spoke honestly about the difficulties of his slow start to the season and how rewarding a night like Monday night was. Props to the young man for his patience and maturity, and hopefully many more games like this are to come.
Stock up: Graham Glasgow, G
This one has to follow Gibbs’ stock up since I just showed you the highlight reel touchdown run. If you missed it, watch it again and look closely at number 60. He was an absolute mauler up the middle on that play, as well as the rest of the night. The Lions barely noticed the absence of all three of their starting interior offensive linemen. That’s a huge testament to all three guys who stepped in: Kayode Awosika, Colby Sorsdal, and Glasgow. But it starts and ends with Glasgow.
Rather than filling in sufficiently, he filled in admirably, and continues to be a Josh Reynolds-esque gem of a pickup by Brad Holmes. It’s good to have the big man back in Detroit, especially on a night like Monday night.
Stock down: Brodric Martin, DT
Stats: 1 tackle
Martin has not contributed nearly as much as you’d expect of a third-round pick, but he’s slowly making his way onto the field more and more. Monday was his biggest showing yet, being active and playing a noteworthy snap count in place of guys like Isaiah Buggs and Levi Onwuzurike. Unfortunately, his youth showed.
Martin had flashes of power and speed off the ball, but it was very uncontrolled. He found himself yanked out of his gap on inside runs or too deep into the backfield before realizing it wasn’t a pass play. These are young mistakes, and things that will take time to correct. The good news is that he had the physical abilities to burst off the ball and get to the backfield, but he’ll have to mature with his eyes and gap discipline. On Monday night, that led to a handful of what should have been 0-yard gains or TFLs turn into 4 or 5-yard gains for Josh Jacobs.
With the benefit of hindsight we can say it’s a good thing he got these mistakes out against a team the Lions walloped. If he’s active again over veteran players though, these mistakes could be quickly amplified.
Stock up: Alex Anzalone, LB
Stats: 7 tackles, 2 sacks
Anzalone has quietly turned into one of the best linebackers in the league this season. I say quiet because he hasn’t been super flashy—it’s often in the form of reliable tackling, never missing his gaps, and coverage that keeps the quarterback from throwing his way, as opposed to INTs and big thumping hits. He got his flash on Monday night though, with two huge sacks late in the fourth to put away the game. His highlight-reel moments were very well deserved, and emblematic of how well he has done his job across the board all season.
Oh, and apparently he has a fan club now:
Stock up: Alim McNeill, DT
Stats: 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pass defended
Unlike Anzalone, McNeill is a very hard guy to miss. When he’s rolling, you’ll see it. McNeill was on fire Monday night, also producing a pair of sacks to put the Raiders away in the fourth, as well as a crucial pass defense early where Davante Adams had Alex Anzalone beat with room to run.
McNeill’s big games are slowly starting to become more frequent, and the world is taking note.
McNeill deserves a game like this in primetime so ppl can see the work he’s doing. What a dawg.— chris long (@JOEL9ONE) October 31, 2023
It’s like night and day when the Lions get a productive game out of McNeill. For the duration of Monday night’s game, we forgot about the Lions’ glaring need for an interior pass-rusher.
It does so much more than open up sacks, too. In the first quarter, the Lions blitzed a few times but couldn’t get home for the sack. Once McNeill got his feet under him, the blitzing lanes opened up so linebackers and safeties could get there just a step quicker, and it turned into a sack party. Anzalone said as much in his postgame interview:
Alex Anzalone on his two sack night— Bridget Condon (@BridgetCondon_) October 31, 2023
"I guess all of a sudden I'm a pass rusher... just playing fast, being around guys that are playing quality ball. It's easier for me to play better when everyone else is playing well too." #Lions @Lions @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/8oFnDheqOF
McNeill is quickly becoming a big determinant of how the rest of the defense plays, and Monday he was as good as can be.
Stock neutral: Jameson Williams, WR
Stats: 2 catches, 16 yards
The curious case of Jameson Williams continues. Williams started off his night with an ugly, ugly drop, but he only had up to go from there. His second “target” was a tap pass jet sweep play that I would love to see run again. Unfortunately for Jamo, Maxx Crosby was not letting that slide on Monday night.
Jamo’s last touch came on what looked like a deep middle catch, reminiscent of his highlight reel catches at Alabama. And just like he did at Alabama, he made some yards of it. Those are the looks I’ve been begging to see more of for Jameson instead of exclusively airing out 50-yard bombs. That was a promising play, and enough to keep Jamo’s stock neutral for me this week.
Kerby Joseph, S: Took long enough, but Kerby finally got his first interception of the season. Couldn’t have been any easier.
Aaron Glenn, DC: After watching his defense get shredded last weekend, Glenn hit it out of the park this week by holding the Raiders offense to just seven points. Nice way to rebound.
Riley Patterson, K: I’m gonna let the late miss slide since it didn’t make a difference and Patterson showed way more distance then we’ve ever seen out of him. Clearing a 52-yarder even after it was tipped? Who is this guy?
Cam Sutton, CB: Holding Davante Adams to just one catch on seven targets is an impressive feat, regardless of how bad the opposing offense is. Sutton continues to be a lockdown corner for the Lions.
Ben Johnson, OC: Johnson got way too cute in the first half, and I didn’t like the decision to use trick plays on a team against the Raiders — let alone to not execute. He cleaned up well in the second half to put the game away, and for that he remains neutral.
Jared Goff, QB: That disaster of a pick-six was off-platform and noodle-armed, and for a second I thought it was 2021 again. I’ll peg that as an anomaly since it’s uncharacteristic of what we’ve seen from Goff the rest of the year, and hope it doesn’t happen again.
Brian Branch, S: Branch showed a bit of rust (or youth?) in his second game back from an ankle injury, slipping up on his edge contain assignment on a couple of runs. He’ll bounce back quickly.
Levi Onwuzurike, DT: Onwuzurike was made inactive for the game despite being in good health. It’s not news, but at this point it’s tough to envision him having a meaningful impact this season or beyond.