A Look At Which Lions Struggled And Who Succeeded Week Sixteen Against The Cincinnati Bengals.
Lions Who Feasted
Eric Ebron has quietly had a nice ending of his 2017 season, especially this game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Lions tight end had some up and down performances at the start of the year, but has been one of their most consistent performers the past month. He was quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s go-to target in this game. Ebron was showing up on a couple third down conversions and added career-long 33 yard touchdown reception. While the Lions do not typically ask him to block often, he was making solid blocks on the perimeter in the running game.
Ziggy Ansah looked quite good against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Lions have needed help from their defensive ends against the ground and Ziggy was the main one showing up this week. His power move looks stronger than it has in weeks past as he was rag-dolling Bengal lineman several times in this game. This helped him establish his presence against the run, which helped him get seven tackles on the day. But Ziggy really lit up the sack sheet again against struggling opponent, generating three sacks for Detroit’s defense.
Glover Quin has been the best player not named “Slay” on this defense all year and was the leader for the Lions defense again in this game. The Lions have really began to utilize Quin in the box to help supplement the run game and he has shown up there. His angles were impeccable and made a couple really nice tackles from the backside of the play. He capitalized in open field tackling situations, aiding him in his team leading 9 tackle performance with one being for a loss.
Lions In Famine
Jim Caldwell may have lost himself his job after how poorly he managed the game against the Bengals. The Lions controlled their destiny to the playoffs. They had to win out, and yet they came out flat footed and got taken out by a 5-9 Bengals team that got destroyed by the Vikings and Bears the past two weeks. Caldwell did not challenge a potential 1st down catch on 3rd in long, late in the 4th quarter, of a must win game. Going unchallenged, the Lions were forced to punt and ended up losing the must-win game as a result.
Jim Bob Cooter really struggled to get anything going against a very pedestrian defense in Cincinnati. While some of the issues certainly were execution issues, the Lions were consistently put in 2nd and long and 3rd and long situations as a result of poor run designs on early downs. This has been an issue for the Lions offense all season and has been a big factor in their offense stalling out so often as well.
Theo Riddick had probably his worst performance of the season this game. Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict was so quick to close in on Riddick before he could make his cuts and it really derailed Riddick’s open field game. Riddick relies so much on his ability to evade tackles with really quick burst of his juke move. However, when Burfict took it away Riddick really could not shake tacklers. He struggled to even read his blocking well, which led to his 2.0 yards per carry on his 8 carries.