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Saturday open thread: Who was the Lions’ unsung hero from their victory over the Chiefs?

With several Detroit Lions stepping up in their victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, which player deserves more attention?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

In front of 26.8 million viewers nationwide, the Detroit Lions proved once again that they can hang with the best, whether it’s at home or on the road. It wasn’t always pretty, but who cares? A win is a win, and it’s freaking hard to win on the road, no matter who you play.

To seal the win, the Lions’ defense stepped up in a huge way. Holding the defending Super Bowl champions to a mere 20 points is no easy feat, and they even scored seven points of their own thanks to rookie defensive back, Brian Branch—big shoutout to Kadarius Toney as well.

Some other standout performers include Aidan Hutchinson, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the running back duo of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs, among others. Hutchinson was a terror all over the field tying a career-high seven QB pressures and three QB hits. CJGJ led the team with two pass deflections, had some nice stops in the run game, and in typical CJGJ fashion, let everyone know about it in between plays. On offense, Gibbs didn’t touch the ball all that often, but when he did, he was electric. Montgomery dominated the touches on the ground and while he had a modest 3.5 yards per carry, he was a big reason why the offense was able to wear down the Chiefs defensive line late in the game to get the go-ahead touchdown.

Now, let’s switch our focus over to the players who may not have flashed as much as others, but were still a big reason why the Lions were able to come out of Kansas City with a dub.

Today’s Question of the Day is...

Who is the Lions’ unsung hero from their victory over the Kansas City Chiefs?

The offensive line got its fair share of praise on Thursday night, but I want to single out one player that is deserving of more praise: Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

It hasn’t been an easy path for Vaitai to get back to where he is today. After missing the entire 2022 season with a back injury, it was never a guarantee that he would win a starting job upon his return. The Lions signed veteran guard Graham Glasgow in the offseason to compete with Vaitai, and they were splitting duties in practice all the way up until the end of training camp, when it looked like Vaitai had finally secured the starting job.

Now that he’s back, and the entire offensive line is finally healthy and able to field all of its starters, the hype looks real. They really are one of the best OL units in the NFL. Though the offense struggled against the Chiefs, the offensive line did a great job of protecting Jared Goff, and the run game was humming when it mattered late in the game. Vaitai was a big part of the O-line’s success on Thursday night, and according to Pro Football Focus, was the highest-graded offensive player on the entire team with an 88.4 overall grade (nearly 10 points higher than the next highest-rated player on offense).

Alright, your turn. Who do you think deserves more attention for their contributions to the Lions’ victory?

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