A Look At Which Lions Feasted And Who Struggled in Week 10 Against The Cleveland Browns.
Lions Who Feasted On The Browns
Darius Slay has been excelling all season and this game was no exception. Sans a pass-interference call late in the game when the Lions were ahead, Slay had a nearly perfect game. He was as sticky in coverage as he has been all season. But, this game he really impressed making open field tackles. On almost every single reception completed around him was immediately wrapped up in this game. Teryl Austin has repeatedly said that he needs defensive backs who can tackle and Slay looks to be improving in that area.
It is promising to see the Lions young corner continuing to get better every week, even when he is already playing at a really high level. Slay was the Lions best defender in this game and sealed the victory with a 4th quarter interception in the end zone with the Lions up 14 points.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 12, 2017
Golden Tate is continuing to stack great performances week after week. He has displayed sure hands and fancy footwork after the catch all season. Tate displayed these traits yet again catching six of his seven targets for 97 yards and a big touchdown to help put the Lions up two scores against the Browns in with less than five minutes left in the game. Being a reliable target the way Tate has has been crucial for keeping offensive drives alive and he did it in this game yet again.
Matthew Stafford had another stellar performance this week against the Browns. He made several beautiful placed passes in this game, including a touchdown to Eric Ebron over the top of the defense and threading a pass between two defenders to Kenny Golladay for a 50-yard reception. Outside of an ill-advised throw that led to an interception in the first quarter, Stafford was on point throwing in this game.
— Juan Ochando (@OchandoSports) November 12, 2017
Lions That Struggled In Week Ten
Tahir Whitehead has been struggling to play consistent this season. The veteran linebacker has stretches where he has looked good, but for the most part he struggled in this game. Now, I will say that he did a good job being near the ball in this game, leading the team in tackles. But unfortunately that had partially to do with how open the receivers he was covering were. He really struggled in zone coverage and was gouged twice by Browns tight ends for big plays on poor coverage. He also allowed a couple big runs by not being in good position, or missing his run fill.
Akeem Spence also struggled against the run in this game. He was consistently getting pushed backwards on interior runs and was really struggling to maintain gap control when double teamed. This was a big part of the Browns running success. They kept finding holes up the middle of the line and helped keep Browns drives alive.
The Lions defensive tackle did add a little mix to the pass rushing game though. He is very quick on the interior and used it to register two quarterback hits on the day.
Jarrad Davis had an up and down day today. There were a couple great plays he made at the line of scrimmage today that we blew up with quick recognition, good pursuit angles, and wrapped up the ball-carrier well. But this was arguably his worst game in coverage this year. He too gave up big plays in zone coverage down the middle of the field. Davis is too often trailing routes with his backed turned to the ball. One play he got the pass deflection, the next he got a pass interference penalty on a 3rd down pass.
He also struggled to run fill well for a good portion of this game. He got lost in traffic and failed to separate from blockers and was taken out of running plays too often as a middle linebacker. They are essential to stopping the run. Luckily, Davis has done a decent job of this so far, so it is likely he will put this bad game behind him and work on improving for next week, as the Lions travel to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears.