The Detroit Lions had designs on beating the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, but a late interception sealed the loss of a game that was certainly winnable.
The Detroit Lions went into Atlanta to take on the Falcons on Sunday. While they fell by a score of 20-16, they had their opportunities to win the game.
Obviously this team is not tanking when losing might carry a benefit. They are trying to win every single week. What it boils down to is the lack of talent on the roster, as has been the story all year long.
Regardless of the lack of overall talent, the Lions’ youth has been stepping up as of late. It just wasn’t quite enough on Sunday, with Tim Boyle starting under center for Jared Goff (reserve/COVID-19 list).
Detroit Lions Week 16 Report Card
Going into this game, expectations were very low. That was due to the fact Goff was ruled out as he could not clear protocols to get off of the reserve/Covid-19 list.
That meant Boyle would make his second start of the season.
Because of that, only putting up 16 points was not a huge shock. However, the game went better than the scoreboard would indicate.
The offensive line had another strong game. The Lions ran the ball solidly (3.9 yards per carry), and Boyle was not sacked (or hardly hit).
But the offense was unable to finish drives, settling for two sub-30-yard field goals from Riley Patterson.
The inability to find the endzone on those drives is what ultimately cost Detroit the game. The offense just couldn’t finish the job.
Best offensive player: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
This has been an incredible stretch of football for the rookie.
St. Brown had nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. That brings his season total up to 74 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns, with 35 catches over the last four games.
Even with a change at quarterback this week, St. Brown continues to be the most reliable pass-catcher Detroit has.
On the aforementioned touchdown, he showed what he can do after the catch, fighting to get into the end zone.
Detroit also used St. Brown as a rusher in this game, using the same play design twice, using a fake-toss to set up a handoff to St. Brown with Penei Sewell pulling to be the lead blocker. On those two plays, St. Brown picked up 19 yards with one going for 12 yards.
St. Brown has become a Swiss Army knife of sorts. He can play outside, in the slot, or as we was Sunday, in the backfield.
Worst offensive player: QB Tim Boyle
Boyle played a fairly good game for 59 minutes. He wasn’t taking too many risks and he hit on most of the throws that were open.
However, it’s very clear Boyle cannot operate outside of play design. On several instances, he would lock onto his first read, and throw it even if it was covered.
And of course, with a chance to win the game in the final seconds of the game, Boyle would throw an interception to secure the loss.
As Chris Burke of The Athletic pointed out, that pass didn’t have much of a chance even if it did get past the linebacker in coverage.
Boyle played adequately for most of the game, but crumbled when it mattered most. As a quarterback seeing his second run of meaningful NFL action might do.