Interceptions fuel Detroit Lions first victory of the season

The Detroit Lions got their first win of the season off the back of three picks

It’s overreaction Monday and fans of the Detroit Lions finally have something to cheer about. After suffering through 11-straight losses, the Lions were finally able to find their way in the Arizona desert and come out with their first win of 2020.

Playing the Arizona Cardinals in Week Three, the Lions’ defense was able to record their first interception of the season against up-and-coming second-year passer Kyler Murray. In fact, the Lions were able to come away with three picks in total, fueling the 26-23 win.

Safety Duron Harmon kicked off the interception spree on the Cards’ first offensive series. That takeaway set the defensive tone for the rest of the game.

Later, in the second quarter, linebacker Jamie Collins would leap in front of Cardinals’ legendary wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to come away with an interception on Arizona’s own 28-yard line. The pick would lead to a Lions’ touchdown a mere six plays later.

Cornerback Jeff Okudah, the Lions’ top draft selection, would complete the trio of takeaways by posting his first NFL interception in the third quarter. The pick halted a seven-play drive at Detroit’s own 42-yard line. Okudah would also have a big 36-yard return, leading to an easy 24-yard field goal by kicker Matt Prater.

After not recording any defensive interceptions through their first two games, how was Detroit suddenly able to record three picks on Sunday? One answer is a shift in scheme.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Lions played a much better balance of Man and Zone coverage than they did through the first two weeks of the young season.

” … the Lions did play MUCH more zone in Week 3 than the first two weeks. Man defense by Lions: Week 1: 82.1 % Week 2: 81.8 % Week 3: 55.6 % Zone defense by Lions: Week 1: 17.9 % Week 2: 18.2 % Week 3: 44.4%.”

The Lions were able to squeak out a 26-23 victory on a walk-off field goal by Prater in the final seconds. And while the team and their fans have every right to celebrate their first win of 2020, the fact it took three interceptions to get the three-point victory might not bode well for the future of the 1-2 squad.

One reason for hope could be the Detroit Lions’ upcoming schedule of opponents as it features a trio of losing teams. Next up, the Lions will welcome the surprising 1-2 New Orleans Saints to Ford Field prior to Motown’s Week Five bye.

Then it’s back-to-back road games against the struggling 1-2 Jacksonville Jaguars and 1-2 Washington Football Team. We’ll have a much better picture of who the Lions are after these next three games. In the meantime, celebrate the win.