Penei Sewell moved over the right tackle for the Lions on Sunday, and held up very well against T.J. Watt.
With the return of Taylor Decker to his post at left tackle, and despite some calls for him to stay put and Decker to move, Penei Sewell indeed moved to right tackle on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Decker at left tackle and the rookie Sewell at right tackle was the Lions’ original plan, then Decke suffered a finger injury days before Week 1.
Moving to right tackle mean Sewell would match up against one of the best pass rushers the league in Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who rarely moves from the offense’s right side.
The Lions ran the ball a lot, and mostly effectively, against the Steelers on Sunday (39 attempts for 229 yards). That and poor weather conditions led to just 25 pass attempts (14-for-25 for 114 yards) for a banged up Jared Goff, in a game that went the full overtime.
Penei Sewell makes easy transition back to right tackle
Sewell spent the offseason and training camp at right tackle, so the position was not totally foreign to him. After Sunday’s game, he said he was comfortable at his new/old position and enjoyed the run-oriented game plan.
“It felt real comfortable,” Sewell said of the move back to right tackle. “It was really a testament to all that work that happened in training camp when I was getting comfortable with the position.”
“As an O-lineman,” Sewell said, “I love a game plan that’s going forward more than backwards.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Sewell allowed zero pressures and zero sacks over 29 pass blocking snaps on Sunday.
It’s worth noting Watt left the game late in the third quarter with an injured leg. But he had just one sack, on the play he was injured, and he had just three total tackles. Sewell was the man charged with erasing Watt’s ability to wreck a blocking scheme, and he was up to the task.
Sewell will get stern tests in Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns (Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney) and Week 12 Thanksgiving Day against the Chicago Bears (Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn). The Lions’ pass-blocking woes were not on Sewell in the weeks leading up to the Steelers’ game, and he continued to show how good he is in a tough matchup.