Detroit Lions wide receivers show up against Steelers

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Wide receiver T.J. Jones
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Wide receiver T.J. Jones /

The Detroit Lions wide receivers stepped up and produced Sunday night despite failing to score a touchdown versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

An unexpected shining bright spot from the Detroit Lions 20-15 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night? No, it wasn’t tight end Darren Fells. He dropped a would-be touchdown in the end zone. No, it wasn’t the defense. Although they did have a very impressive showing, it wasn’t exactly unexpected. And, no, it wasn’t rookie kick returner Jamal Agnew with the few times he got his hands on the ball.

The Lions wide receivers were the unexpected bright spot. Did anyone really expect Matthew Stafford to throw for 423 yards against a Steelers defense that was giving up roughly 150 passing yards per game? No. The most common expression from announcers in the past few games was that Lions receivers couldn’t create separation. And that lack of separation was leading to coverage sacks left and right.

So what changed? The Lions wide receivers were getting open and making plays. With receiver Golden Tate hurrying back from a shoulder injury, receivers Marvin Jones and T.J. Jones stepped up big time. The pair recorded a total of 10 catches for 216 yards – 6 and 128 for Marvin and 4 for 88 for T.J. Tate was no slouch either, recording 7 catches for 86 yards.

The biggest blemish on the Lions wide receivers on Sunday was Tate’s unforced fumble after getting deep into the Steelers secondary for what counted as a 34-yard reception. Tate looked like he was trying to tuck the ball away and couldn’t decide which arm to hold it in when it popped out of his control.

In this game, there was plenty of blame to go around. Lions tight end Eric Ebron had another drop on a low throw, but redeemed himself with a 44-yard catch and run late in the game along with a 14-yard catch to convert a key third down. Let’s not forget Fells had a more significant drop in the end zone. But I’m sure Lions fans won’t turn on Fells so quickly for performing like Ebron.

The Lions woes in the red zone had the team’s former tight end Joseph Fauria chiming in from twitter:

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Aside from Fauria or former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson coming back to the team this week, the coaching staff is going to have to get more creative and find ways to score when they get close to the end zone. But we can’t fault this wide receiving corps. They did their jobs on Sunday and then some.