Detroit Lions by the Numbers after NFL Week 2


Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, the most depressing thing in football is to look at the stats after a disappointing loss. It’s never fun to see that your team dominated the stat sheet, only to lose on the scoreboard.

Is that what happened against the Arizona Cardinals in a tough 25-20 loss on Sunday afternoon? Well, let’s just look at the big picture first.

NFL Rankings

As always, all stats gathered from

It really wasn’t a great week for the Lions on the league stage, statistically, as they failed to improve on their performances in almost any area against the surprisingly stout Arizona Cardinals. The Lions performed somewhat poorly, especially in the second half, but remember that a number of these stats were inflated from a strong game at Minnesota to start the season. We’re still dealing with small sample sizes.

The biggest changes from last week are in rushing offense and penalty yardage, both in which they saw double-digit drops. That shouldn’t be any major surprise, since the rushing game effectively evaporated after Reggie Bush left with an apparent knee injury. It was also a mistake-filled game in the penalty department, with none looming larger than the late-game pass interference call on Bill Bentley that turned a long field goal attempt for the Cards into 1st-and-goal inside the five-yard line.

On the bright side, the Lions are currently owners of the best third-down defense in the NFL, allowing only three third-down conversions all year. But let’s wait to celebrate that until they prove it against a top-10 offense. The Lions also improved their standing in rushing defense, but that’s probably more a function of not having to play against Adrian Peterson than anything else.

Fantasy Corner

Calvin Johnson returned to his old ways with two touchdowns against the Cardinals defense, but his were the only two offensive touchdowns of the game for the Lions, and his presence disappeared after Reggie Bush left with a knee injury.

Pleasant Surprise

While he hasn’t been anywhere near the end zone yet, Nate Burleson has actually caught 13 passes so far this season, and is averaging over 60 yards receiving per game. Not exactly a stud, but he’s potentially valueable in PPR leagues or if you’re particularly hurting at receiver.

Bitter Dissapointment

This one is close. Reggie Bush is the obvious choice, as his injury in the first half kept him from really being an effective Fantasy option this week. But Brandon Pettigrew wins this dubious honor for having one of the worst receiving games I’ve ever seen from him, and not having health to blame for it. Pettigrew has always been a bit stone-handed, and now it appears he’s greased them as well. Drops are subjective, and therefore not an official stat, but Pettigrew is most likely on pace for as many dropped passes as receptions this year. Any more of this, and Matthew Stafford will simply stop trusting (and therefore throwing to) him.

Week 3 Sleeper

Nobody’s talking about Ryan Broyles, but they might be soon. Patrick Edwards left the game at Arizona with an ankle injury, which means the slot position is available. And Broyles returned last season in Week 3 after suffering the same injury with about the same amount of recovery time. It’s not advisable to just blindly throw him in your starting lineup, but definitely keep him on your watch list. If you have a bench spot to spare, maybe consider stashing him for a bit.

Random Numbers

101 — penalty yards charged to the Detroit Lions last Sunday

40 — penalty yards charged to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday

64 — number of penalty yards charged to Bill Bentley last Sunday

3 — field goals of 40+ yards missed by David Akers in his first two games as a Lion (including his do-over after an offsides call)

4 — field goals of 40+ yards missed by Jason Hanson in 2012

9 — rushes by Reggie Bush in roughly a half of football

8 — rushes by Joique Bell, who played the entire game

9 — combined kickoff and punt return yardage for the Arizona Cardinals

5 — draft round in which the Lions drafted Sam Martin and ruined opponents’ return games