Missing C.J. Gardner-Johnson as well as Kerby Joseph, it didn't necessarily seem things would get a whole lot better in Week 3. But rookie Brian Branch stepped up and delivered.
Branch set the tone early, with excellent coverage and some major hits. He was all over the field with steady tackling, and looked wise beyond his years with constant savvy on the back end.
The best part about Branch's effort? The fact that his motor never seemed to wane. He flew to the ball early in the game, and finished things off with a hefty hit on Bijan Robinson during Atlanta's final drive. He would finish with 11 tackles, three tackles for loss and two passes defended in the 20-6 win.
The consistent energy picked up the defense, and set the tone for the entire operation. Detroit impressed on that side, holding the Atlanta Falcons to 183 total yards and 139 through the air. Branch making moves all over the field seemed to power that effort all day long.
On a day where the defense could have faced a major confidence problem, Branch simply didn't allow it. That's very encouraging from a young player.
Dan Campbell praises Brian Branch's improvement for Detroit Lions
While it seems like Branch has had a seamless start to his NFL career, head coach Dan Campbell explained after Sunday's game that the young defensive back is still a work in progress and is growing by the week.
As Campbell said, he can see Branch steadily gaining confidence. During this game, he felt that Branch's energy radiated to his teammates and he's a play maker.
"He really stepped up. You could feel his energy. Every practice, every day he gets a little bit better. He's making big plays in critical moments as opposed to the other way. The more he plays, the better he gets and the more he understands what we're trying to do with him. He's a playmaker."
Branch is making fast strides, and the effort he showed in helping set the tone for the Lions' defense on Sunday was impressive.