Detroit Lions Week 1 report card: A more competitive loss to the Eagles
By Zach Payne
Detroit Lions Week 1 report card: Grading the defense
Run defense: 1/5 stars
In Week 8 last year, the Eagles ran for 236 yards while averaging 5.1 yards per carry against the Lions. On Sunday, they posted 216 rushing yards while averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
Jalen Hurts especially was killing the Lions. The front would get pressure, and Hurts would just scramble and pick up chunks of yards (90 yards and a touchdown in total, on 17 carries). Even as the Lions slowed Hurts down, Miles Sanders started picking up steam (13 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown). Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell also scored on the ground for Philadelphia.
Even facing one of the top rushing offenses in the league, behind a strong offensive line and with one of the best running quarterbacks around, the Lions were simply awful containing the ground game on Sunday. A zero grade was almost worthy.
Pass defense: 3/5 stars
The Lions’ pass defense was up and down during Sunday’s game. Hurts started 0-for-5 through the air, as the secondary helped force a turnover on downs. Then the Eagles figured out no one on this Lions roster could cover A.J. Brown, and they were ultimately right.
Brown was an absolute force all game long, accounting for 155 of the Eagles’ 243 passing yards. However, while the Lions couldn’t cover Brown, they did a fine job with the rest of the Eagles receivers. There were some good things to build on for the secondary.
Best defensive player: CB Jeff Okudah
In his first game action in a year, Okudah more than held his own. He wasn’t flawless, giving up a few catches to the aforementioned Brown, though he also was called for a very questionable pass interference.
But Okudah also had a few really nice pass breakups, and was assertive stepping up to help stop the run. He showed the ability to stick to receivers in coverage he hasn’t shown since really his Ohio State days.
It was a very encouraging start to the year for a player who desperately needed to start off the season on the right foot.
Worst defensive player: S Tracy Walker
It was a really strange game for Walker. It started with a few adventures in coverage and run fits early on as the Eagles’ ground game got going. Then as Walker started to get back to his usual self, the game started to settle down. He ended up with the Lions’ lone sack of the game.
Then Walker made a very ugly hit on Hurts after the Eagles signal caller slid, picking up a personal foul. After the play he got into it with the Eagles players, who stood up for their quarterback, picked up another personal foul and got ejected.
Not exactly the start to the season Walker was looking for. While it’s good to see him play with an edge, he needs to walk back the aggressiveness a tad moving forward. He’s too valuable a piece to take himself out of games due to poor judgement.