In the first seven minutes of play on Sunday, the Detroit Lions dominated the New Orleans Saints. They had allowed -1 offensive yards, generated a turnover, and scored 21 points to take a commanding lead.
Unfortunately, the rest of the game did not follow that template. Detroit proceeded to take their foot off the gas, and Saints climbed back into the game. Conservative play calling on offense and an inability to get off the field on defense led to the Saints having a chance to take the lead late.
However, Detroit escaped thanks to a couple of missed throws by Jameis Winston, who had replaced an injured Derek Carr. The Lions are now 9-3, matching their win total from last season with five games left this season.
Here is the Week 13 report card for the Lions.
Detroit Lions Week 13 Report Card
Offense: 3/5 Stars
If only the opening drive had been a teaser for what was to come. The Lions started on their own 15 following a false start on the first snap. Seven plays later they were in the end zone, having only passed the ball once.
The problem? Following the 21-0 blitz to start the game, Detroit scored three points in the following 38 minutes of play. For an offense that is hailed as one of the best in the league, that’s an unacceptable stretch that wound up giving the Saints life.
And yet, the Lions still put up 33 points. Sometimes football is weird. But alas, the Lions' offense still has some kinks to work out down the stretch.
Offensive player of the game: TE Sam LaPorta
On a day where not many players made a big impact, LaPorta was the exception. The rookie tight end had himself an All-Pro day, to the tune of nine catches for 140 yards and a score.
It wasn’t just the stats either, the situations his catches came from were often crucial ones. Pivotal third downs, a splash play to regain momentum, you name it. LaPorta was the key cog in the offense on Sunday, and the Saints couldn’t do anything about it.