A Look At Who Feasted And Who Struggled For The Detroit Lions Against The New York Jets In Week One.
Detroit Lions That Feasted Monday Night
Kenny Golladay easily had the best game of any member of the Detroit Lions against this New York Jets this past Monday. While he did have one drop on the evening, the Lions second-year receiver was on the mark the vast majority of the game. The Jets newly-signed cornerback Trumaine Johnson struggled to stick to Golladay in man coverage. This was a matchup the Lions targeted several times successfully on crossing routes.
This set up Golladay for one arguably the best game of his short career thus far. He caught seven of his twelve targets, had 114 receiving yards, one touchdown, as well as a fumble forced and recovered on an intercepted ball by the Jets.
Kenny Golladay with a HUGE hit! Put him on defense pic.twitter.com/FU1SIcR2ic
— Evan Jankens (@KINGoftheKC) September 11, 2018
Devon Kennard is a new Lions addition this off-season, that is already paying dividends in week one. While he certainly has some technique to work on shedding blocks quicker, Kennard’s athletic ability and mental processing were evident against the Jets. The Lions desperately need a pass rush this season to be able to compete, which was not great as a unit from Detroit in this game.
However, Kennard was able to create pressure a couple times Monday night when he was able to win the initial hand fight and even registered a sack on his Lions debut. He was tied for the team lead in tackles (6) and also tacked on a tackle for a loss.
Kerryon Johnson may be the surprise feaster of the week. It was a really tough game for the Lions offensively, and while his touches were limited, Johnson showed an ability to make gains when the offensive line was in a stalemate at the line of scrimmage, as well as get back to the line when the runs were blown up from the beginning. He was perfect in the passing game, catching all three of his targets, including a nice one-handed grab on a ball that was thrown behind him. The Lions rookie running back showed enough in this game to warrant a bigger share of the touches in week two.
Detroit Lions In Famine
Jim Bob Cooter is likely on the hottest seat in Detroit right now. While there is plenty of blame to go around for the lack of execution in this game, Cooter’s offensive play-calling continued to appear predictable and exploitable, as it did through the second half of the 2017 season. This predictability became increasingly evident that night as several Jets players explained they knew what offensive plays the Lions were running before the snap.
A number of Jets defenders said they knew what plays the Lions were going to run based on formation and Stafford hand signals. Allowed them to jump routes, get five picks.
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) September 11, 2018
Predictability is a terminal sin for any coordinator in the NFL. This league is all about using innovation and adaptation, to better help yourself in the chess game of football. Using the same signals and running the same plays from 2017 is going to put this team in a compromising position. Two of quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s interceptions came off the Jets reading the play before the snap. One on an angle route to Theo Riddick and another on a broken pick play.
Matthew Stafford did have a bad night though. Fortunately, this famine is the most likely to return to feasting sometime soon. Two of his interceptions that were play-call related may be hard to put on him. But he still threw the ball into double coverage on those plays, where he needed to read the play and take what the defense was giving him, rather than go straight to his primary target.
Stafford was throwing on a hyper-extended left leg, which was likely a factor. But his first interception came well before that when he under-threw a fly route to Marvin Jones in one-on-one man coverage on the outside. His final interception was a bad decision but was late in the game with the Lions down big. They needed to take a shot there, so it is hard to blame him for that.
Overall though, his decision making and touch was quite a bit off on Monday Night and should be something we see return next week.
Tavon Wilson Jr. was disappointing on the back-end of the Lions defense. Most of the night he put himself so out of position he did not have a shot to even contest passes thrown to his receiver. Consistently got washed out in the running game. When he started cheating up in the box as a result, the Jets called a play-action fake to deep throw to his side of the field.
Wilson bit hard on the pump fake, jumping up three yards before realizing his mistake and hightailing it to the corner pylon to catch the receiver, but it was too late. This came on a crucial play before the first half ended, allowing the Jets to go ahead two scores with the touchdown to Jets receiver Robby Anderson.