A Look At Which Lions Feasted And Who Struggled Against The Minnesota Vikings In Week 12.
Lions That Feasted On Thanksgiving
Marvin Jones stood out on a day where the offense looked incredibly inconsistent. Failed plays on 1st and 2nd downs set up many 3rd and longs. This is where Jones was giving the offense life. When the Lions offense opened up the passing game, he shined on medium-deep routes.
The Lions leading receiver now has 100 yards receiving in three of the last five games. This has largely been due to Jones ability to win contested matchups against tight man coverage. While he still struggles to gain separation against this coverage, being able to come away with the football regardless has helped him not disappear as much this season, like he has had in the past. Jones capped off his great day with a very impressive 43-yard touchdown reception over two Vikings who where in great position.
A’Shawn Robinson had another great performance today. He was very strong at the point of attack and displayed much better gap control than in the past several weeks. This really showed up in the second half where the Lions really began to stop the run. His quick mental processing and athleticism helped him make some very impressive plays when runs go away from him. Not only did the Lions second year defensive tackle get six tackles with two of them being for a loss, but he also got a blocked field goal earlier in the game that helped keep the Lions in it late in the game.
Akeem Spence also had a solid day on the interior defensive line. He still needs to work on his gap control against the running game, but he flashed his ability to penetrate quickly to disrupt running lanes and even stopped a run right as the back was getting the football. This helped him earn two tackles for a loss as well. Akeem looked better in the passing game, applying consistent pressure and sharing a sack on the game.
Lions Who Went Hungry On Thanksgiving
Quandre Diggs had the very difficult task of covering the Vikings talented slot receiver Adam Thielen in this game, but really struggled in his matchup Thursday. Thielen did not blow up the stat sheet with 89 yards receiving on eight catches. But Thielen’s performance was crucial for the Vikings offense to keep drives alive as many of his catches went just beyond the 1st down marker. The defense had one of its worst performances on 3rd down this year, and Diggs failing to stop Thielen was a big part of that.
Tahir Whitehead had a brutal game again this week. The Vikings targeted him a lot, which is why the he led the Lions in tackles for this game. But that does not mean this performance was good by Whitehead. He was flagged for an obvious delay of game penalty late in the game to give the Vikings free yards when they needed a stop. He was usually out of position on perimeter runs and got washed out of the running plays often. The Vikings targeted Whitehead on many of the 3rd downs they did not target Diggs on. Curl routes, drag routes, and medium crossing routes were open all day against Whitehead, which was a major factor in the defense being so porous on Thanksgiving day.
Anthony Zettel is falling into a bit of a slump here the past couple of games and this one was brutal for the second-year defensive end. He regularly lost edge contain against the run, giving up another red zone touchdown biting hard on a read-option play. He consistently over-pursued and struggled to shed blocks on perimeter runs. He had a little impact in the passing game against the Vikings, but his continued inability to contain the edge will be troubling for Detroit until he can show growth in this area.