A Look At Which Lions Feasted And Who Struggled Against Tampa Bay In Week Fourteen.
Lions That Feasted In Tampa Bay
Eric Ebron had without a doubt his best and most consistent performance of the season. While a fumble did slightly blemish his performance, it was the very first of his career. Outside of that, Eric looked solid in run blocking and was a very consistent target for his quarterback all day. He hauled in ten receptions on eleven targets for 94 receiving yards. He displayed good strength breaking through tackles, rather than trying to evade them like he has so often in his career.
Darius Slay is continuing to play like one of the top-5 cornerbacks in the NFL. He now leads the NFL in interceptions at the cornerback position following a very savvy interception that flashed Slay’s elite athleticism in this game. The Lions cornerback really limited Buccaneers star receiver Mike Evans in this game when shadowing him. Slay also added a fumble recovery to his very impressive 2017 campaign.
#Lions CB Darius "Big Play" Slay leads all CBs in the #NFL with 5 interceptions. Enough with Pro Bowl talk. He is having an all-pro season. @_bigplayslay23 #OnePride #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/xtpMRtbw9y
— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) December 10, 2017
Glover Quin continues his great 2017 season with another great performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quin led the team in tackles, playing down in the box for much of this game. He had an amazing play on the fumble he forced. He was on the back side of the stretch run, near the line of scrimmage before the snap. Scrapping across the line of scrimmage he beat everyone else to the ball and ripped the ball out of Doug Martin’s hands as he made the tackle in the backfield.
Glover Quin covered about 25 yards to force that fumble. He started the play pulled up tight to the line off right tackle, caught Martin at the far numbers.
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) December 10, 2017
Lions In Famine Against The Buccaneers
Tahir Whitehead was arguable the worst defender for the Lions today. He was consistently getting targeted and exploited in the passing game, whether it was in man or zone coverage. The Lions linebacker struggled to diagnose and attack well in the running game as well.
Whenever a guard gets to him on the second level, he is not able to shed the block and is taken out of the running play. With how much Teryl Austin asks his linebackers to do in their 4-3 scheme, they need better production out of this position or it will continue to make it tough going for their defense for the remainder of 2017. While he did have a couple splash plays, you need much more consistent production from that position, especially from a veteran like Whitehead.
Travis Swanson is continuing to struggle this season. He played with much less power and strength than we saw from him his great 2016 campaign. One of the issues he’s had that has been showing up big in the running game is Swanson running his pulls several yards deep of the line of scrimmage. This has resulted in the running backs having to slow down to give him time to get to the defender, or to plow through him for minimal yardage. The center is the heart of the offensive line and was a big factor in the Lions lack of a running game in Tampa Bay.
DJ Hayden was really struggling one on one in coverage against Tampa Bay. He too often relies on grabbing and pulling on receivers to win with physicality. It was too much against a physical specimen like receiver Mike Evans and he got flagged multiple times in this game. Hayden’s poor coverage in zone also was targeted in this game, so rookie cornerback Teez Tabor was brought in to help with Hayden struggling.