Detroit Lions' Offense Sparks Excitement at Ford Field


Detroit Lions' Offense Sparks Excitement at Ford Field

The Detroit Lions pounced on a nationally televised opportunity to prove their legitimacy as NFC contenders on Saturday night. 

The Lions dominated the Denver Broncos, 42-17, at Ford Field to move to 10-4 on the season. With the win, they're in striking range of clinching a playoff berth and the NFC North division title. 

Here are the grades for each position group, based on the performance of each group in Saturday's win.

Quarterbacks: A

Jared Goff showcased resilience in a prime-time appearance, rebounding from recent struggles. His stellar performance on the national stage reaffirmed his capabilities at their peak.

Overcoming a slow start, Goff orchestrated five consecutive touchdown drives spanning three quarters. The veteran quarterback matched his career high with five touchdown passes, including three to Sam LaPorta.

While relying on LaPorta and Amon-Ra St. Brown, his primary targets, Goff also distributed the ball efficiently to eight different receivers. The game was marked by precision as he completed 24-of-34 passes for 258 yards and five touchdowns, earning a nearly flawless passer rating of 134.6.

Running backs: A

Detroit Lions extracted significant contributions from both of their primary running backs. Jahmyr Gibbs stood out as the star, amassing an impressive 100 rushing yards, while David Montgomery showcased efficiency with 85 yards on 17 carries.

Gibbs not only surpassed 1,000 scrimmage yards with his performance but also contributed two touchdowns, one through receiving and one through rushing. His remarkable 34-yard run was a highlight, featuring evasive moves that left several defenders trailing and almost shaking off another near the goal line.

On the other hand, Montgomery exhibited his trademark steadiness, consistently gaining tough yards after contact. Maintaining an average of five yards per carry, he once again demonstrated his reliability when faced with challenging situations.

Wide receivers: A

In need of a rebound performance, Amon-Ra St. Brown delivered a standout performance on Saturday. After tallying just 70 yards in the previous two games, he recorded an impressive 112 yards on seven catches against Denver, accompanied by a well-deserved touchdown.

St. Brown's touchdown, secured late in the first half, featured a dazzling somersault over a defender, adding flair to the scoring play.

While Jameson Williams didn't notch any flashy scores, he enjoyed his most productive game as a professional. Setting a career-high, he made four catches for 47 yards, showcasing his skills with a leaping grab near the sideline and reinforcing the trust the Lions have in him.

Contributions also came from Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds. Reynolds recorded two catches for 41 yards, including drawing a pass-interference penalty. Meanwhile, Raymond contributed with one catch for 12 yards.

Tight ends: A

On Saturday, Sam LaPorta etched his name into the record books by breaking the organization's single-season record for receiving touchdowns. His outstanding performance against the Broncos saw him secure three touchdowns, bringing his season total to nine.

LaPorta's initial scoring reception was a catch-and-run, executed skillfully at the end of a throwback screen play. His second touchdown showcased precise route timing in the red zone, perfectly aligning with Goff's throw.

In addition to his scoring plays, LaPorta displayed prowess in moving the chains with an impressive catch. Notably, the play began with him executing a well-timed block on a rushing defensive end.

Detroit Lions' Offense Sparks Excitement at Ford Field

Offensive line: A

Benefitting from the return of Frank Ragnow, the Lions fielded a fully healthy offensive line. The impact was evident, with the unit consistently providing Jared Goff with clean pockets and effectively paving run lanes throughout the night.

Penei Sewell played a pivotal role with several crucial blocks that sprung successful runs, and the interior linemen demonstrated proficiency in opening lanes for both Montgomery and Gibbs.

While Sewell's performance was generally commendable, he faced challenges, such as yielding a sack to Jonathon Cooper off the edge. Additionally, Dre'Mont Jones found success in the first half when Goff held onto the ball for too long.

Defensive line: B

While Russell Wilson's agility posed challenges for the Lions at times early in the game, the defensive line delivered an overall robust performance. The unit effectively limited the Broncos to a mere three yards per carry and showcased resilience with two consecutive stops, compelling the opponent to settle for a field goal at the goal line.

During a critical third-down rush, Aidan Hutchinson and Bruce Irvin came close to sacking Wilson, yet his mobility enabled him to evade the rushers and deliver an incomplete pass.

In a positive turn of events, Josh Paschal secured his first sack of the season on a third down in the first half. This development is encouraging, particularly as the Lions have been eager to witness increased effectiveness from him as a pass rusher, following notable performances against opposing run games.

Linebackers: A-

Alex Anzalone spearheaded the team's defensive effort with 10 tackles, complemented by Jack Campbell's five. Although Derrick Barnes briefly exited the game with a second-quarter shoulder injury, he made a resilient return in the second half, delivering a significant stop near the goal line.

Campbell showcased his defensive prowess by thwarting a Wilson quarterback sneak attempt, compelling a crucial fourth down.

While Anzalone received a pass interference penalty while covering a deep ball, he also contributed with a tackle for loss and a pass defensed, showcasing his versatility on the field.

Secondary: A

The Detroit Lions found the much-needed spark in their secondary courtesy of Ifeatu Melifonwu. The 2021 third-round pick showcased his best performance as a pro, tallying eight tackles, a forced fumble, a sack, two passes defensed, and two quarterback hits.

Melifonwu's forced fumble proved pivotal, disrupting the Broncos' momentum as they advanced 40 yards on their first play. Positioned inside the Lions' 20, Melifonwu executed a flawless sack, rushing untouched off the edge to jar the ball loose.

While Kerby Joseph narrowly missed an interception, cornerback Cam Sutton effectively contained the formidable Denver receiver Courtland Sutton.

A noteworthy development was Detroit's decision to start Khalil Dorsey over Jerry Jacobs at cornerback opposite Sutton. Dorsey and Kindle Vildor saw action on the outside, while Jacobs assumed a role on special teams.

Special teams: B

Michael Badgley emerged victorious in the Lions' kicking competition this week and earned promotion from the practice squad, indicating a potential preference for the future. While he didn't attempt a field goal, Badgley successfully converted all his extra-point attempts.

The night began challenging for Jack Fox, with his first two punts netting 21 and 19 yards, respectively. However, he rebounded with two improved kicks in his final attempts.

With Khalil Dorsey starting on defense, Craig Reynolds assumed kick return duties, recording one return for 26 yards.

Unfortunately, Kalif Raymond incurred an unnecessary roughness penalty after being hit following a fair catch on a punt.

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Coaching: A

Both coordinators executed outstanding game plans, and a week of focused and player-driven practice culminated in a decisive victory.

Ben Johnson's offense faced an initial sluggish start but quickly found its rhythm, producing scores on five consecutive drives. On the defensive side, Aaron Glenn's unit employed more blitzes, effectively unsettling Wilson during his dropbacks.

Addressing pre-week concerns about the legitimacy of both units, Johnson and Glenn responded emphatically. The result was an impressive and comprehensive performance that concluded with a commanding win.

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