It wasn't quite all the way to calls to fire him, but Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn needed to come up with a better game plan after the Seattle Seahawks did well against his unit for a third straight time. Facing a less-dynamic, ground-oriented Atlanta Falcons' offense in Week 3 was sure to help.
The Lions lack of pass rush through two games was well-documented, with just one sack as a team. A rebound defensively against the Falcons would start with containing Bijan Robinson and a strong ground game, and extend to getting heat of Desmond Ridder if/when Atlanta could be put off-schedule offensively,
Down both starting safeties (C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Kerby Joseph) and arguably their best pure pass rusher (James Houston), the Lions' defense was up to the task on Sunday. And that might be putting it mildly.
Detroit Lions' defense steps up big in decisive 20-6 win over the Falcons
Starting with the run defense. Atlanta entered Sunday having rushed for over 100 yards in 18 of their last 19 games. The running back duo of Robinson (10 carries for 33 yards) and Tyler Allgeier combined for 45 yards on 17 carries, and the Falcons netted 44 rushing yards as a team.
38 pass attempts for Ridder is not an ideal formula for the Falcons, but there wasn't much choice with the ground game going nowhere. The Lions finished with seven sacks, including two by Aidan Hutchinson as he broke the seal with his first two sacks of the season. Charles Harris, Jack Campbell, Alim McNeill, Derrick Barnes and Benito Jones had the other sacks of Ridder.
Rookie defensive back Brian Branch was all over the field on Sunday, with a team-high 11 total tackles, three tackles for loss and two pass breakups. Tracy Walker stepped in nice for Gardner-Johnson, with six total tackles and two near interceptions.
The Lions allowed just 183 net yards of offense to the Falcons, who averaged less than three yards per play, with 11 total tackles for loss, the seven sacks and eight other hits on Ridder. Simply, besides a shutout, this defense could not have performed any better than it did on Sunday.