Feast Or Famine: Darius Slay Locks It Down In Chicago

 

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A Look At Which Lions Feasted And Struggled Against The Chicago Bears In Week 11.


Lions That Feasted

Darius Slay has been a recurring member of the “feast” category this season. This game is another great one to add to the list in 2017. PFF had Darius Slay graded out as their best Lion of the day, and for good reason. He was tight in man coverage all game and physical again against the running game. He was only targeted six times, allowing just two catches for 28 yards.

The defensive side of the ball today struggled, but Slay was one of the few bright spots with a couple pass breakups and almost caught a game clinching interception on the Bears last drive.

Marvin Jones had another solid game this week. It took him a bit to get going and it was not a reception rich game for him, but he made the most of his opportunities. He did have some struggles against press, but he was running really crisp routes in this game, which helped him make himself available for his quarterback Matthew Stafford. He caught four of his seven targets for 85 yards and a much needed touchdown in a very close game. It was not his biggest performance of the year, but played an intricate role in this win.

Sam Martin and Matt Prater both deserve some credit for their special teams performances today. Martin has not missed a beat since returning from injury and nailed three of his four punts within the Chicago 20-yard line in this game. With a 53-yard long punt to add to the day. Matt Prater had a good day as well. He was a perfect two for two on the day, but came in clutch with the go-ahead field goal in the 4th quarter. It was a 52 yarder on a very windy day at Soldier field. Martin and Prater showed how good special teams play can make an impact in these close games in the NFL.

Lions In Famine

Jarrad Davis had another poor week against the Bears on Sunday. He was ranked 2nd in the NFL of most missed tackles heading into this game and added a couple more this week. While Davis is good at recognizing and reacting to a play, he has struggled to take good angles and leaves his feet too often when making tackles. It is the expectation as the middle linebacker to stop the opposing teams running back.

His poor angles took him out a couple plays that went for huge runs for Bears running back Jordan Howard. Davis struggled to keep Howard in check, which opened the door for the Bears offense to take this game down to the wire.

Tahir Whitehead can share some of the blame here too. He did not look great in zone coverage again this week, but that was not his main issue. The veteran linebacker was struggling to get off blocks and often got sealed on perimeter run plays, which helped with the Bears running success in this game. Both Bears guards did a good job getting to and blocking at the second level today, the linebackers were taken out of the running game because of it.

TJ Lang had the worst game of the season this week. Granted, he had a hard task taking on the Bears rising defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. But most of Lang’s issues appeared to be mental, fortunately. He appeared to misread a slide protection that led to an unblocked linebacker getting a sack on quarterback Matthew Stafford early in the game. He missed a couple blocks on some inside running plays as well, one of which Abdullah was able to spin out of for positive yardage though. Lang also had an untimely holding call to push the Lions back when they were deep in the Bears side of field, late in the fourth quarter. But, most of these issues should go away with familiarity in the system for TJ Lang.

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