Alim McNeill is clearly talented, and the Lions’ second year defensive tackle put it all together for a record-setting day on Sunday.
The Detroit Lions had a strong defensive effort on Sunday, as the New York Giants needed two fourth quarter touchdowns to get to 18 points. Three takeaways were a headline, but defensive tackle Alim McNeill was a force against the run and as a pass rusher. The Giants interior line simply had no chance against the big man.
McNeill had one sack (his first of the season), four tackles, three tackles for loss and three quarterback hits on Sunday. He was a big reason the Lions held Giants running back Saquon Barkley to 22 yards on 15 carries.
Via Kyle Meinke of MLive, McNeill said he woke up Sunday morning feeling prophetic.
"It was just great energy,” “I just knew we were going to win this ballgame today if we did what we had to do.”"
Alim McNeill had himself a DAY against the Giants on Sunday
Oftentimes, the work an interior defensive lineman does–occupying blockers, making runners bounce runs to the outside, etc.–goes unnoticed while others get most of the statistical glory. The advent of deeper stats has shined light on players who are really good in that role.
On Sunday, per Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, McNeill set a new record.
McNeill was impossible to miss as the Lions consistently had the Giants’ offense reeling and off-schedule on Sunday. His 10 quarterback pressures set a PFF era record (since 2006) for a player weighing more than 320 pounds. He played 47 snaps in the game, so breaking it down further McNeill pressured Daniel Jones on 21.3 percent of the snaps he played.
NFL Network’s Peter Schrager was trying to praise McNeill just before the season started, and admitted his mispronunciation. Such is life when it comes to the Lions.
McNeill announced his presence to the league on Sunday, in a historic way by modern measures. Schrager may be the last one to mispronounce the Lions’ defensive tackle’s first name.