Detroit Lions’ guard Joe Dahl played well starting at center on Sunday
The Detroit Lions went into Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans down their All-Pro caliber center, Frank Ragnow. After sitting out all week in practice and originally being listed as questionable, Ragnow was officially ruled out Friday evening after it was determined it wouldn’t be safe for him to play with a fractured throat.
Neither had spent time at the position in quite a while, with Jackson last snapping the ball when he played at Rutgers University over two years ago and Dahl last snapping the ball in live-action in the 2019 preseason. Both guards had decidedly average or below average results in their time at center.
However, despite the limited experience and limited live-action reps, Dahl was given the nod and performed reasonably well, all things considered. He was the anchor on the offensive line on a day in which they gave up zero sacks and just five total quarterback hits.
Dahl also paved the way on multiple strong inside runs and was the general for a line that the Lions offense ran behind 26 times for 120 yards (also a fake punt for three yards), at a clip of 4.6+ yards per carry and two red-zone touchdowns for rookie running back D’Andre Swift. In his first-ever NFL game leading an offensive line, these numbers, and the results were very solid.
It wasn’t all good however as Dahl made one bad mistake leading to an important injury.
Up until the fourth quarter, Dahl’s performance had consisted of much more good than bad. Unfortunately, he ran out of beginner’s luck in the fourth quarter when he dribbled a snap back to quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Stafford was barely able to corral the horrid snap before being lit up by a Titan defensive lineman for a tackle for loss. The Lions quarterback was slow to recover before struggling to his feet. The next offensive play back-up quarterback Chase Daniel taking the field and Stafford never retook the field after the massive hit.
Despite the one bad snap that was rolled back to Stafford, it appeared, while watching live, that Dahl only missed on a very few number of blocks. Overall, even with a botched snap, his offensive line did not allow a single sack during the game and allowed the backs to find lanes throughout the field, including in the condensed red-zone. Should Dahl need to go once again at center next week if Ragnow is still hurt, the Lions and their fans can feel pretty confident that Dahl can get the job done.