As a Detroit Lions fan, I feel lucky that I haven’t felt like this in the past two months. Let’s hope the Lions handle the rest of the way well. It was an ugly day all around. Here’s what’s happening this week:
Stock Up: Jared Goff, QB
Start with one of Saturday’s few bright spots. Goff looked nothing like the guy we’ve seen for much of the season. His final statline (25 of 42 for 355 yards, 3 TDs) may be inflated by garbage time scoring, but before the game gets out of hand. , he had played enough.
On any play his eyes were 10 yards further than normal. That’s good. It’s a shame that the other members of the team have decided not to participate. Because this was an example of the Lions winning. because Jared GoffIf he can keep showing up like this (and the rest of the team don’t keep him hanging), I don’t know what the ceiling is for this team.
Stock Down: Ifeutu Melifonwu, S
Whew, what an impressive return for Melifonwu. From the start, he seemed timid and unprepared to play in both the pass and run games. missed and left the green grass. But running backs aren’t the only ones making fun of Ifee.
If DeShon Elliott can’t return to the lineup soon after a shoulder injury, the Lions could face bigger-than-expected back-end problems. As for Melifonwu, there are big questions about his role in the team heading into 2023.
Stock Up: Evan Brown, G.
The Lions missed the top four guards for much of November and December. Last week they brought back Evan Brown but struggled to get back into the starting line-up. He bounced back especially on the ground this week. Brown’s specialty is passing his protection, so he had a key block opening up the middle when Jamal Williams made his 4-and-1 conversion early on. Brown was technically responsible for Brian Barnes’ sack, but he shouldn’t be asking pull guards to pass protection from edge rushers, so I don’t take much responsibility for him.
Stockdown: Isaiah Baggs, DL
Buggs has emerged over the past month as the leader of this team and the linchpin of this defense. Buggs leveled off on both points on Saturday. He’s usually the big man in the middle of the defensive line, but the Panthers made them look like Swiss cheese.Cuba He has Hubbard and Donta his foreman. In the state he often reached the second level. Bugs then received an unnecessary roughness penalty in the second half. He threw the running back after the whistle blew, but was lucky not to be called for another penalty after shoving and jawing the Panthers offensive his lineman. It’s unforgivable behavior for anyone, but it’s especially true for team leaders.
Stockdown: Jeff Okuda, CB
The past few weeks haven’t been friendly to anyone in the Lions secondary, but it’s been the worst for Jeff Okuda. I was made a fool of. In last week’s stock report, Okudah wrote that he can’t play on the island right now, after he covered his Zero Blitz he was badly beaten by DJ Moore. To make matters worse, Okuda’s most consistently good trait this year was his support on run defense, but he was also responsible on Saturday. He, like all other Lions defensive backs, blew out quite a few tackles and was ugly from start to finish.
Stock Up: Shane Zylstra, TE
It’s been a blocklight show in Detroit since TJ Hockenson left, but Shane Zilstra reminded everyone on Saturday that he’s still alive and well. All the down went to Zilstra. He finishes with five receptions, more than Brock Wright and James Mitchell combined, and his appearance with Wright and Mitchell gave the Lions two (or three) tights in his end. It really opened up the options for him to advance his set.
DJ Chark, WR: Churk had some big grabs on Saturday. He continues to show that his appearance since the Jaguars game was no fluke, nor is his relationship with Goff. As it intensifies, the Lions offense is opening up vertically.
Amon La St. Brown, WR: St. Brown’s hands continue to amaze us all. He had multiple passes from his fingertips and stuck in traffic on Saturday against formidable coverage.
Caliph Raymond, WR: Raymond is a huge threat in open space, and he showed that on Saturday’s offense. With him gaining his 56 yards in the third quarter, the Lions offense never seemed dead dead.
Kirby Joseph, S: This was the second week in a row that Joseph seemed to be out of position early and often. Even on the run defense, he had some poor angles that led to him missing tackles, which opened up the Panthers’ second level in the run game.
Ben Johnson, OC: Sometimes more or less, as Johnson showed Saturday sometimes. In the Panthers’ secondary, the Lions’ skill player was tied up for much of the day, and some of Johnson’s creativity came back to bite him.
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