Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson proves Week 1 wasn’t a fluke
By Kellen Voss
While his health status for the coming week is unclear, T.J. Hockenson proved in the Week 4 loss that he will be a consistent threat in the passing game.
It’s never a good thing to lose a game in the National Football League, which is exactly what the Detroit Lions did in Week 4. But even though this gives the team their first defeat of the season, that loss proved the Lions can compete with some of the best teams in the league.
Part of the reason why they were able to keep up with one of the league’s elite offenses in Kansas City is because the Lions had a vibrant and versatile offense of their own. The offensive line did an amazing job making holes for running back Kerryon Johnson, who had 125 of the team’s 186 rushing yards.
That effective running game allowed the Lions to open up the flood gates with their passing attack, as Matthew Stafford put on another phenomenal performance, completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns.
The first of those touchdowns was thrown to rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson, who ran a great route in the red zone to find himself wide open before catching the ball and performing a Gronk-esque spike that Lions fans everywhere went crazy for.
The touchdown wasn’t Hockenson’s only impact on the game, as while he was only able to total 27 yards on the day, he made several key blocks to open up holes in the running game and should now be seen as pivotal blocker in the Lions’ offense.
A few fantasy sites like CBS Sports were speculating that Hockenson’s 100+ yard performance in Week 1 was the fluke, and the tight end would be hit-or-miss in this offense. If he keeps up the performances like he had in Week 4, he will always be a third-down threat and a red-zone threat in this offense, as long as he is healthy.
That last sentence is what should freak Lions fans out at this moment, as after attempting to hurdle a Kansas City defender, Hockenson took a scary fall onto the turf and was very slow to get up.
It has been confirmed since the fall that Hockenson suffered a concussion on that catch, and his status is up in the air for the coming weeks. While the Lions offense is filled with many threats to catch the ball, their offense looked a little stagnant without him.
Logan Thomas and Jesse James did a solid job blocking and catching a few balls, the Chiefs were able to double Kenny Golladay and put a safety over the top on Marvin Jones Jr. With no threat underneath, the deep ball was inconsistent for Detroit, and was part of the reason why the Lions fell short to the Chiefs in the end.
Lions fans everywhere are praying for a speedy recovery for Hockenson, not just because they don’t want to see another young player fall victim to a violent head injury. Hockenson proved that he is here to stay in Week 4, and opens up the Lions offense so much that it can compete with the Chiefs. Or any other offense in the league, for that matter.