The Detroit Lions won a huge game on the road against the Minnesota Vikings to improve to 4-2 on the season. They remain tied for first in the NFC North after Green Bay’s victory over the Dolphins, but they do hold the tiebreaker over the Packers.
Let’s take a closer look at the good and bad takeaways from today’s loss.
Nov 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Ziggy Ansah has had a quiet start to the year up until today. He’s always been great at stuffing the run, but as a pass rusher he’s had little to no impact.
Against the Vikings, Ansah matched up against left tackle Matt Kalil and absolutely dominated. He accounted for 2.5 of the eight Lions’ sacks and was constantly in Bridgewater’s grill.
Ziggy looked exactly like the player the Lions would have hoped for with their fifth overall pick, and if he can sprinkle in a few more performances like today’s game, then the sky is the limit for this defense.
The Rest of the Defensive Line
Ansah wasn’t the only one dominating in the trenches. The Lions had eight total sacks against the Vikings today. The last time they had at least eight sacks was in November of 1997.
Here is the sack breakdown for today’s game:
And how’s this for a feel good story?
Joique Bell had a rough start to the year, but will likely put some of that talk to rest after a solid performance today. Bell rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries which was five more yards than the entire Minnesota Vikings’ backfield.
With the First Pick
The Lions’ rushing attack has not been much of a bright spot this year, but when one player goes down, they always seem to have someone else step up and make plays.
Theo Riddick had a great start to the game today and led the team in receiving yards despite leaving the game with a hamstring injury. Once Riddick was out, George Winn and Bell were able to close out the game.
Sam Martin deserves his own heading because what he does for this team isn’t praised enough. Before the Lions drafted him, they were constantly starting deep in their own territory and giving their opponents a short field to work with.
Martin was booming punts left and right today and averaged 48.7 yards per punt, including two nestled within the 20-yard line. With the combination of Martin’s leg and the defense playing as well as they’ve been, this has set up the offense with great starting field position. Unfortunately, the offense hasn’t been able to capitalize much.
Two interceptions speaks for itself.
Theo Riddick, Darius Slay, James Ihedigbo, Glover Quin, Rashean Mathis