With Playoff Hopes Gone, Detroit Looks To Finish 9-7.
The 2017 season is officially over. The Lions had a crazy up and down season with looks of change seeming to come to life, only for the same mistakes to reappear and haunt the team once again. With a new head coach possibly coming into town, the team was just looking to end the season on a high note with a win over the division rival Green Bay Packers.
Starting quarterback Matt Stafford looked well in the season finale. He finished the game going 20/29 for 323 yards and three touchdowns and he had a catch for two yards as he caught the two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Stafford wanted to play in this game, and he showed why.
Against a depleted Packers defense, the Lions running game was still a struggle. Starting running back Theo Riddick would get hurt during the third quarter, and finish with four carries for 10 yards. Tion Green would finish with the most carries though, with nine for 21 yards. Ameer Abdullah had eight carries for 18 yards and a touchdown.
Catching the football was easy for the Lions wide receivers. Golden Tate finished with a team-leading seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Jones was next in yards with 81 yards on four catches and one touchdown. Rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay had two catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.
For the first time in weeks, the Lions had all five starting offensive linemen and they had an average performance. Stafford was sacked two times, but again they couldn’t create much for the running backs as the Lions finished with just 51 total rushing yards.
Getting to quarterback Brett Hundley wasn’t that hard for the defensive line. Starting defensive end Ziggy Ansah finished the game with four tackles, with three sacks and he was able to get to Hundley two other times and create pressure on the young quarterback. Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson had six tackles and half a sack, the other half went to another defensive tackle Akeem Spence, who also had two tackles.
The linebackers did well overall today. They didn’t allow any big time plays overall and rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis got his first career interception and finished with a team-leading 12 tackles. Tahir Whitehead had seven tackles.
Pass coverage for the defensive backs was impressive. Starting cornerback Darius Slay had one tackle and two pass deflections, and an interception. Starting safety Glover Quin had six tackles and a forced fumble. Rookie cornerback Jamal Agnew impressed in pass coverage when another rookie cornerback Teez Tabor went out with an arm injury, as he finished with five tackles.
Special teams did their job well. Kicker Matt Prater was 2/2 in field goals, his longest from 30 yards out. Punter Sam Martin had six punts for 266 yards, one inside the 20-yard line. Abdullah had one kick return for 25 yards and Golden Tate had one return for one yard. Agnew had three punt returns for 31 yards.
Week 17: What It Means
The Lions finish the season 9-7 and even with a winning season, it isn’t enough for a playoff spot. This team had a range of finishing 8-8 to 10-6 and they fell in the middle at 9-7. Also, this is the first time since 1994 where the Lions had back to back winning seasons. This team could get better in 2018.
For the first time since 1991, they sweep the Green Bay Packers. Many aren’t happy because it wasn’t against Aaron Rodgers, but when Aaron Rodgers will people still be upset that it isn’t against him? Take the wins when you can get them and since they haven’t swept the Packers in over 25 years, that is a good streak to end.
Head coach Jim Caldwell is done, and the list of potential candidates is growing. A great list of candidates is one by our own Ash Thompson.
Week 17: What To Think About
Detroit will have a lot of money to spend in free agency this year, and with some key starters up for a contract extension, General Manager Bob Quinn will have his work cut out for him during the offseason. Ansah will be the biggest player to talk about as he could be franchise tagged and with over 10 sacks this year, that might be the only way he comes back to Detroit.
Detroit will have a draft pick at number 19 or 20, depending on how Seattle does in their game today. So when you do a mock draft or think about who the Lions could draft, think mid to late first round picks and look at those players, unless the Lions trade up.
If Atlanta loses their game today, then the Detroit Lions got knocked out of the playoffs because of the refs and once again they cost Detroit to do something better. I can’t recall one team getting everything against them when it comes to refs, but this franchise never surprises me.
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