A Look At Who Dominated And Who Struggled In The Lions Last Game Of The 2017 Season.
Lions That Feasted
Matthew Stafford put up one of his best performances of the year this past Sunday at Ford Field. He was elusive in the pocket, making smart decisions with the ball, and had impeccable ball placement in this game. He had especially good ball placement deep throws to receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.
Stafford rarely missed because of this ball placement. Which helped him throw for 323 passing yards with three touchdowns, while completing nearly seventy percent of his passes.
Ziggy Ansah finished this season strong and will now likely play for the Lions through at least 2018. He looked much quicker and more nimble than we have seen from him in some time. Ansah’s elite ability to convert to power is what enables him to take over games. He exploded in this game with three sacks and was constantly in the backfield wrecking havoc. He still struggled a bit with contain against the run, but adding two more quarterback hits to his sack total showcases what an impressive day he had pass rushing.
Jarrad Davis was really up and down this season, but put together his most consistent game of his rookie season in week 17. He still struggled in pass coverage, but had a better game as he registered his first interception on a tipped pass to the receiver he was covering.
Where Davis really excelled in this game however was against the running game and blitzing. While he did not register a sack, Davis was able to consistently make Packer quarterback Brett Hundley uncomfortable in the pocket. The rookie linebacker was quick to recognize the play and attacked ball carriers very physically in this game. While that physical style of play had Davis missing tackles earlier this year, he did a much better job wrapping up his tackles in this game, leading the team with 8 solo tackles.
Lions In Famine
Theo Riddick has put up bad performances in back to back weeks. Riddick usually relies on his short area burst to create separation from defenders to avoid tackles, but was unable to do so against the Packers, consistently being taken down by the first man to the ball. He showed little vision in the running game, often running into lineman for minimal gains. The lack of separation created hurt Riddick most in the passing game, earning just 12 yards on two receptions.
Rick Wagner had a solid performance pass blocking, but was a big factor in the Lions running game struggling so much this past week. When edge rushers attempted to take him head on, he typically overpowered them and did a fine job blocking. However, when the defensive line would crash or slant, crossing Wagners face, he often could not slow the defender. This allowed inside penetration, stopping runs before they even started.
Joe Dahl also struggled in this game, but not on the ground. The Lions guard had some great pass blocks, but also had some poor stretches that ended up stalling or killing drives. These poor plays were typically the result of Dahl missing his assignment or not recognizing stunts quickly enough, leading to quick interior penetration. Fortunately, the Lions passing game excelled so the impact of these poor plays was not terrible.
Chat with me on Twitter @Warbs24 and on the Lions Subreddit!