With game two in the books, the Detroit Lions are still one of the 10 undefeated teams in the NFL. Let’s take a look at some of the players that made that possible and some that need work if the Lions wish to continue their winning ways.
5 Who Impressed:
1. S TracyWalker
Walker once again is improving week-to-week. For the second week in a row, Walker leads the team in tackles. His night was capped off by a tackle-for-loss in a key moment in the fourth quarter of the game.
2. LB Jahlani Tavai
Tavai was second on the team in tackles. Some people were worried about his lack of speed translation into the NFL, however, his game speed is just fine. The rookie finds himself always around the ball. He capped off his great game by forcing a fumble at the goal line giving his team the ball and avoiding any points scored.
3. WR Kenny Golladay
Golladay really stepped it up and was the Lions key playmaker on offense. Golladay had an amazing eight catches on 10 targets for 117 yards and a touchdown. In a game where we all knew the tight ends would be used more as blockers due to the Decker injury, someone had to step up to fill the void, and Golladay did just that.
4. CB Rashaan Melvin
The Lions have been looking for a solid CB for years to put on the other side of Slay. Even though it’s only been two games, they may have found their man in Melvin. Melvin has now back to back solid starts for the Lions — racking up five tackles (third-most on the team) and two more pass breakups. He came into the game leading the NFL in pass breakups this year. He is being targeted, but is making plays on the ball.
5. RB Kerryon Johnson
Johnson was the second key part of the offense to Golladay. Johnson contributed 88 total yards on offense between rushing and receiving. Johnson did have a drop that would have put his total over 100 yards, but he made people miss once he was in the open field to make up for some shortcomings.
5 Who Did Not:
1. PR/KR Jamal Agnew
Agnew once again finds himself on this list. Thankfully, Agnew’s fumble was negated due to offsetting penalties, but he still put the ball on the turf for the second week in a row. Agnew also caught a punt before that and had at least 10 yards in front of him and chose to run sideways for 15 yards and only upfield for five. I’m not saying fielding punts is easy, but it’s not a good look that once Amendola replaced Agnew, the return game instantly improved (minus penalties).
2. TE T.J. Hockenson
After setting an NFL record the first game, Hockenson went invisible in game two. Now, I understand most of this was by design and Hockenson was asked to block more often. There is still work to be done in the blocking department. However, even when targeted three times, he only came down with the ball once. Later in the second half, Hockenson also gave up five yards of field positioning after a false start.
3. RB CJ Anderson
Anderson did not do a bad job in terms of the eye test, after the game and looking at the box score, he stood out more than anyone. Anderson only managed to gain eight yards on five carries. Even Stafford had fewer rushing attempts and more yards. Not only that, but rookie Ty Johnson had the same amount of touches and went for 30 yards in his limited use. Johnson may be pushing Anderson for that RB2 spot and it may not even be Anderson’s fault. I think the Lions may have found something in Johnson.
4. LS Don Muhlbach
For the first time in my three years of doing these lists, the mule finds himself on the wrong side of the spectrum. Many may not have noticed, but on both Prater’s missed kicks (one field goal, one extra point), both were terrible snaps. If the snap is poor, the holder is late on the placement and it throws the kickers timing off. I blame Muhlbach for both of the missed kicks.
Overall, Muhlbach’s poor snaps didn’t lose the game, but Mulbach did also have a bad snap in week one as well. I hope this is not going to be an ongoing thing this season.
5. CB Darius Slay
Slay may have had the worst game of his career up until the final defensive play. Slay was getting picked on all game by Rivers and Allen. Slay allowed six catches for 81 yards and multiple first downs when lined up across from Allen. In addition to that, he got called for two holding penalties, and a defensive pass interference in the end zone giving the Chargers the ball on the 1-yard line. Slay did get the game-saving interception to help redeem his performance, but they would not need the last second help if he took care of business throughout the game. Slay will bounce back, no worries there, but this list is a game by game analysis.
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