A Look At The Lions Who Did Well And Who Did Poor Against The Carolina Panthers In Week Five.
Lions That Feasted
Jarrad Davis 28 yards on 28 carries returned to the field this week after missing the past two weeks with a brain injury. The Lions rookie middle linebacker was everywhere in the running game. He attacks downhill faster than any linebacker on their roster and it really showed how much they missed him in this game. The Panther running attack has been solid this year. But with Davis back at the helm of the defense the team allowed on. Davis finished the day second on the team in tackles with eight, adding two tackles for a loss and a pass deflection.
Jarrad Davis with a nice play getting into the backfield and blowing that up
— Sean Lanigan (@Lanny1925) October 8, 2017
Jarrad Davis is an animal
— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) October 8, 2017
Akeem Spence also looked quite good down the stretch of this game. He was able to create pressure well in the second half and found himself with a sack in the 4th quarter to help give the Lions offense a chance to get back in the game. It came on a crucial 3rd down play that forced the Panthers to punt the ball back to Detroit. They would go on to score and get the Lions within three points of tying Carolina. He also had a nice tackle for a loss earlier in the same drive.
Darren Fells made a good case for the Lions to consider getting the tight end more involved in the pass game. While Fells only got two grabs on the game, it came on two targets and both were for touchdowns. He looked great run blocker, which is expected as it was a large reason why he was brought to Detroit. But, seeing Fells succeed in an area where the Lions have not had great production from in some time is promising to see. Especially for someone who’s primary role hasn’t been in the passing game. With Eric Ebron continuing to struggle to make an impact for the team, the time is quickly approaching where the Lions may make a change in their number one tight end.
Lions In Famine
Jim Bob Cooter had debatably his worst game as an offensive play-caller since joining the Detroit Lions Sunday. The Lions consistently ran on first down under center, which was an issue brought up earlier this week by Detroit Lions Podcast writer Sean Lanigan. This trend continued in this game and the Panthers exploited it. The running game was consistently floundered by defensive line penetration on early downs. This led to several 3rd and longs for Detroit in the 2nd half and ultimately stalled the offense for the majority of the game.
Lions' last 7 offensive series: punt-punt-half-fumble-punt-downs-punt.
— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) October 8, 2017
Eric Ebron had another rough game today, dropping two passes in total, one of which was for a touchdown. He also really struggled to be effective at run blocking against the Panthers yesterday. He had a singular catch for six yards. While I have been a supporter of Ebron in the past, his struggles this season are becoming hard to ignore. You want to see a player in the last year of their rookie contract taking steps forward, not regressing like he has shown so far.
Ezekiel Ansah has been on a slide since his three sack performance against the Giants in week two. While I expected some of that performance to be due to the Giants left tackle woes, but the defensive end’s disappearance since could be proof there’s something still wrong with Ansah’s health. But even if his body is not one hundred percent, it does not explain some of the mental errors Ansah made tonight.
On the Panthers touchdown to running back Christian McCaffrey, Ziggy crashed inside, allowing quarterback Cam Newton enough room to successfully run their option play for the score. Also, on the previous play Ansah ran straight up-field to pass rush, which unfortunately opened up a huge whole for the Panthers to run through on the inside run.