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Who Feasted And Who Struggled In The Lions Week Thirteen Loss To The Baltimore Ravens.
Lions Who Feasted
Matthew Stafford had a pretty solid performance, even with so much going wrong today. While he did throw an interception late in the 4th quarter, the Lions were already down a substantial amount and needed a big play. The decision was not terrible, but the throw could have been better. While Marvin Jones did not play the ball that well, Stafford did sail the ball a bit.
But he also set a team record by completing 20 straight completions in this game as he was accurate all day when he had enough time to throw. He ended the game completing 24/29, for 292, and a touchdown to add.
Tion Green looked solid in his first game in a Lions uniform. While the run blocking is still struggling to find its rhythm, he did a better job setting up his blockers, using better vision and patience than we have seen recently from the running game. He busted a 33-yard rush on his first attempt on a play where the offensive line actually blocked well. The rest of his day was more contained than that, but also had a nice scamper to score from 6-yards out, using his patience, vision, and power.
Sam Martin has punted well since returning from injury earlier this year and he had his work cut out for him in this game. He has been very helpful for slipping field position this season, helping keep them close in tight games. While this was not one of them, Martin has another great day punting the ball, averaging nearly 46 yards per attempt with a 54 yarder as his longest on the day.
Lions In Famine
Teryl Austin had a game plan that was blown wide open by one of the worst offenses in the league. While the Ravens have been getting hot lately, it has been due to their defense. Their passing game was the NFL’s worst heading into this game generating around 170 passing yards per game. The Lions defense allowed 269 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and were responsible for allowing 38 points to the 2nd worst scoring offense in the league.
Tahir Whitehead’s inability to cover in zone was killer this game. The inside of the field was wide open most of this game and was a big reason the Ravens found so much success passing the football in this game when they previously had not. On several third downs today, the Lions linebackers got baited into play action pass and it allowed huge plays to be had and kept the defense on the field too often today. Whitehead looked better at times on against the ground game, but was removed from running plays quite often by a Baltimore offensive lineman.
Jarrad Davis is going to be a very interesting player to watch going forward. He is usually the first person to read and react to any given play and every play he is playing ultra aggressive, flying to ball-carriers. The issue for Davis still seems to be taking the right angle to get there and breaking down as he approaches the offensive player, giving himself the control to make a formed tackle. Davis is too often high and reckless trying to make the tackle. He needs to work on wrapping up the opponent instead of throwing his shoulder into them, hoping the hit brings them down.
This game was the epitome of his rookie season so far. His aggressiveness and play recognition consistently got him in a good position to make a tackle for a loss or run stop, only to lost the offensive player once he got there. This would be worrisome if he wasn’t so young.
However, if the Lions can work with Jarrad Davis on his tackling fundamentals, he will be a very good linebacker for many years to come because of his athletic traits and quick mental processing. If he can match those skills with better technique Davis will be a special player on this Lions defense.