Brand new Lions, baby.
The Detroit Lions showed it from start to finish Thursday night. This kind of game truly shows that change, because it had pivotal moments that would have ended differently in previous years. Are the refs changing the rule book at will for the Green Bay Packers? Handing the ball back to an opponent chipping away at your lead on their home turf? The same old Lions find a way to lose. Instead, these ones found a way to win thanks to a very complete team game.
Here are your stock movers for the week, with a caveat that I’ll inevitably miss someone you’re thinking of because of how well the team played from top to bottom.
Stock up: Jerry Jacobs, CB
Stats: 5 tackles, 4 passes defended, 2 INT
Jerry Jacobs’ NFL journey has been a story of resilience, and Thursday night was no different. Jacobs didn’t have a perfect game, but when it mattered most he was in the right place. Jacobs would finish the night with two (!!) interceptions off of Packers quarterback Jordan Love, including one to ice the game.
Here’s Jacobs breaking down his two interceptions right after the game, with a cameo from an excited Kerby Joseph:
Stock up: Josh Reynolds, WR
Stats: 3 catches, 69 yards
Josh Reynolds doesn’t get a ton of volume, but he sure does make the most of his touches. Not only were his three catches Thursday big ones from a yardage standpoint, but they were nice catches. Reynolds made a ridiculous over-the-shoulder grab down the sideline in the first quarter.
What a grab, Josh Reynolds. This offense is cruising. pic.twitter.com/ts85Pp5Fc8— Ben Raven (@BenjaminSRaven) September 29, 2023
He would follow it up later with a diving grab down the sideline in the fourth quarter, outstretching for a ball that I could not believe was complete. Reynolds continues to have a very specific role amidst a healthy receiving corps, but he certainly makes the most of it.
Stock up: Jared Goff, QB
Stats: 19/28, 210 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Okay, let’s preface with the interception on the opening drive. He was moving backward to avoid pressure and that led to too much air on the ball. Bad throw.
Goff came back out and was dealing. I continue to be amazed by how stark the difference is between Jared Goff this year and Goff in years past. In years past, he goes into a shell after that interception. This time, he came back stronger. He threw with great anticipation on the ball the whole day and spread the ball across the entire field. His fourth-quarter shot to Reynolds was such a beautiful ball and one that he’s confident throwing now. Goff continues to grow in confidence and comfort and it’s continually raising the ceiling of this offense.
Ball aside, let’s acknowledge Goff’s swagger. He’s showing so much personality, and had the gall to call out Ryan Fitzpatrick in the postgame interview for calling him a “poor man’s Matt Ryan.”
Stock up: Alim McNeill, DT
Stats: 2 tackles, 1 sack
Alim McNeill has been a force to be reckoned with over the last two weeks. He’s a bowling ball in the middle of the defense, regardless of down and distance. He has the beef to translate in the run game, and the explosion to wreak havoc on passing downs. Heck, we saw just that on back-to-back plays on Thursday night. McNeill started with a tackle for loss on A.J. Dillon, wrapping him up about five yards behind the line of scrimmage and bringing him down at least three yards behind.
Alim McNeill basically got a sack on a run play— Hamza Baccouche #BNL (@HamzaPOD) September 29, 2023
He’d follow that up with an actual sack on the next play.
Basically got a sack on a pass play— Hamza Baccouche #BNL (@HamzaPOD) September 29, 2023
McNeill is playing like the missing piece the Lions needed through two weeks, and it’s making all the difference on the defensive side of the football. As our own Ryan Mathews pointed out on last night’s postgame podcast, a lot of McNeill’s performance seems to be dependent on his snap count. Keeping his motor running at a high level will be key to continued success from the entire defense moving forward. When Alim plays well, so does the rest of the defense.
Stock down: Jack Fox, P
Stats: 4 punts, 45.0 yards/punt
Oh, it pains me to write this. Jack Fox had some absolute boots in Week 3, but he also had two or three mis-hit punts that failed to turn over. His struggles would continue into Thursday night when he simply didn’t look like himself. Fox would benefit from a friendly roll on some of his shorter punts, including his first one forcing indecision from Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed and leading to a fumble. That made his box score numbers a lot more palatable. Make no mistake though, Fox’s Thursday night was not a good one.
Stock up: Frank Ragnow, C
I think of Frank Ragnow’s performances a lot like those of Amon-Ra St. Brown. Ragnow shows up week in and week out and quietly does his job at a consistently high level, so much so that we often take it for granted. Amidst a carousel along the offensive line, Ragnow is a model of consistency at the position that matters most. His ability to support both sides of the line makes him essential in pass protection and a weapon in run blocking.
He continues to excel at supporting the guards on either side and peeling off double teams to the second level. We saw that on display Thursday night, with several of David Montgomery’s most successful runs being the product of Frank Ragnow being five to seven yards downfield clearing out the second level.
Stock up: Chase Lucas, CB
Stats: 2 tackles
Lucas continues to make the case for this team to keep him around. He was an absolute dog on special teams Thursday night. Brian Baldinger explains it much better than I’ll be able to:
.@Lions @Chase_Lucas2 chases faster than anyone on the Special Teams; and with 2 solo tackles inside the 25!!! Go get ‘em Chase I ❤️❤️❤️ how you cover. #onepride #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/KhEUH2uFVv— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 29, 2023
Chase Lucas is gonna make it hard for the Lions to keep him off the roster if he's gonna keep getting these stops on ST.— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) September 29, 2023
With special teams coverage like that, it’s hard to argue Lucas isn’t contributing more than any other fringe player of CB5-6 can. That’s a Dan Campbell type of player, and it’s hard to see him not sticking around if he continues that level of play.
Tracy Walker III, S: Walker showed that Week 3 wasn’t a fluke and he’s still good. It’s a matter of when, not if, he finally gets his hands on an interception.
David Montgomery, RB: Going from questionable to play in the morning to handling 32 rushes at night is absurd. Monty was absolutely pounding the rock by the fourth quarter, and it made all the difference towards the Lions putting the game away.
Brock Wright, TE: After disappearing with the emergence of Sam LaPorta, we finally saw the Lions roll out some two tight end sets against the Packers and Wright had some key blocks early in the red zone.
Brian Branch, S: He’s good, and he’s a trooper. Super fortunate Branch’s injury was just an ankle.
Cam Sutton, CB: Sutton continues his quiet emergence. Nothing flies his way in the secondary and he’s helping fill the gap left by CJGJ in run support.
Marvin Jones Jr., WR: Jones struggled in Week 1, and found himself invisible in Week 2. Despite receiving a decent snap share in Week 3, he didn’t get any targets. He got one in Week 4, but couldn’t connect. He’s fighting an uphill battle to regain trust in this offense.
Will Harris, CB: It’s hard to fault Harris for giving up a play that shouldn’t have counted to begin with. However, if the Packers managed to make it a game, we would be putting a lot more scrutiny on the 44-yard catch Harris surrendered to Jayden Reed to end the third quarter.