Winning in the NFL is not easy. It’s even more difficult to win consistently. Every week there’s a new challenge, that’s something the Detroit Lions learned this week.
During “Hard Knocks” before the 2022 season, one of the most popular quotes from Dan Campbell was “We will tread water as long as it takes to (expletive) drown you.”
The Chargers offense, led by Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen, did everything it could to keep up with Detroit. Despite their best efforts though, they could not outlast the Lions, and the dominant Detroit offense sank the Chargers.
Here's our Week 10 report card for the Lions.
Detroit Lions Week 10 Report Card
Offense: 4.5/5 Stars
It is baffling to look at a game in which the Lions scored 41 points, gained 533 total yards and didn’t turn the ball over, and suggest that they could have done better. But they did leage some meat on the bone.
A Jameson Williams touchdown was called back by a Taylor Decker penalty. Failing to convert on a fourth and goal from the one-yard line also resulted in points being left on the board.
In the end though, it didn't matter. Detroit’s offense found a ton of success in this game, dicing up a lackluster Chargers’ defense. 200 rushing yards, 333 passing yards, five total touchdowns, and the offensive line did not surrender a single sack.
Offensive player of the game: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
“He is the most steady, reliable guy that you can find in this league. I mean, I’d love to know somebody that is more reliable than him, because I don’t know if there is (anybody).”
Those were Dan Campbell’s words regarding St. Brown after the game and he’s right. There aren’t too many guys that are as reliable as St. Brown is.
His game has evolved past a guy who will always be open underneath. His route tree is expanding, his ability to create explosive plays is growing, and he has become a legitimate weapon no matter how the Lions want to use him. Another eight catches in this game, for a career-high 156 yards. Not to mention, a touchdown on a screen pass where it took every ounce of strength in his fingertips to keep the ball from hitting the turf.
Defense: 1/5 stars
It’s no secret that this was a difficult game for the defense. It was a bad matchup on paper in some ways, and it was only made worse by Justin Herbert playing as well as he did. You can count on one hand the number of passes he missed when he wasn’t pressured. Herbert had his way against Detroit’s secondary.
There was a complete lack of pass rush, even when the Lions blitzed. Aidan Hutchinson had a few nice rushes where he forced an incompletion with pressure, but aside from that no one on the defensive line did much. In the secondary, Cam Sutton and Jerry Jacobs had their struggles with Keenan Allen. Other receivers chipped in too for the Chargers, but it was the Herbert and Allen show for the most part.
The only reason this wasn’t a 0-grade game is because in the first half, as Detroit generated a couple of stops and a Kerby Joseph interception boosts the overall performance a bit too. But it was not a good day for the defensive side of the ball at all. They were carried by the offense.
A big question coming out of the bye week was what the workload split between Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery would be. After Sunday’s game against the Chargers, it seems as though Gibbs will be the 1A moving forward. Granted, it will probably be a case of who has the hot hand, but Gibbs out-touched Montgomery 17-12 in this game. And it was deserved too, as Gibbs did a phenomenal job at making people miss and finding open space.
Jack Campbell had a pretty good game overall. That is, when he wasn’t tasked with covering Keenan Allen in space. Campbell looked good against the run, and he did a good job taking on blockers and funneling run plays into the middle of the defense.
Sam LaPorta had an uncharacteristically quiet first three quarters, but he really stepped up when the Lions needed him down the stretch. He made a huge catch on a third down that kept a drive alive, and he made the catch on fourth down to allow the Lions to run out the clock before kicking the game-winning field goal.
Another rookie who had a quieter game was Brian Branch. But unlike LaPorta, that’s a good thing for a defensive back. There haven’t been as many splash plays for Branch as there were early in the season, but he has still been very effective. However, there were a few instances of Branch being a little late to react to receivers underneath. But that’s a nitpick, he had a fine game considering how the defense got torched.
Needs improvement: Pass Defense
Talked about it already, but the lack of pass rush and consistent coverage was glaring in this game. Aaron Glenn had a couple of head-scratching decisions in this game too which didn’t help matters, but the players also simply failed to execute.
Lucky for them they get to face a Bears team with a much worse passing attack next week, so hopefully the defense can get back on track.
Play of the game: David Montgomery’s 75-yard touchdown run
When he was brought into the organization in free agency, the expectation was for David Montgomery to take on the role of the power back. The thunder to Jahmyr Gibbs’ lightning.
After the game, it was revealed the Lions has a pass play called on the first play after the Chargers had scored. But when they got set at the line, Jared Goff realized they had the wrong personnel for the play call. So he checked into a run. Safe to say that worked out well.
Shoutout to Jameson Williams and Kalif Raymond for the downfield blocking. But obviously, it was an incredible run by Montgomery, showing some wiggle to shake multiple defenders in space to find room to run and a nice tightrope of the sideline to stay in bounds.