Defense: 4.5/5 stars
The Lions' secondary had a great game on Sunday. It's true that Baker Mayfield missed a couple of open throws downfield, but Detroit did a great job at containing the Buccaneers offense. Especially considering the lack of help from the pass rush. The secondary held up and the Lions held Tampa Bay to just six points.
Additionally, the run defense was once again spectacular, allowing only 46 yards on 16 rushing attempts. Detroit has yet to concede 100 yards on the ground this season. It’s only the fourth time it’s happened in franchise history and the first time since The Great Depression. In short, the run defense has been great.
Defensive player of the game: LB Alex Anzalone
Anzalone has quietly been stacking impressive games this season. He had another one against the Buccaneers, showcasing his ability to read and react against the run as well as his ability to cover in space. He shut down opposing running backs out of the backfield routinely and constantly got into the backfield as a driving force for the run defense.
Plenty of people questioned the contract extension the Lions gave him in March, but Anzalone has lived up to that contract and then some so far this season.
Once again Jahmyr Gibbs and Brian Branch did not play, which will keep this section short.
Sam LaPorta had a bit of a down game. He still made plays, including a big third down catch in the fourth quarter that allowed the Lions to keep burning time off the clock. But he struggles at times to create separation from Lavonte David. Granted, David has been one of the best linebackers in the league for a long time-but he gave LaPorta a lot of issues throughout the game. Whether it be tight coverage or contesting at the catch point, it was a difficult matchup for the rookie. He had a perfectly adequate game, but people might just be disappointed since he didn’t set the world on fire with his play this week.
Jack Campbell didn’t have a phenomenal day in coverage, but he was stout against the run. Sunday’s game sort of epitomizes Campbell so far. He’s good at reading and diagnosing run plays, and is able to stack and shed. He also gets caught playing too close to the line of scrimmage in zone coverage which opens up passing windows behind him. Tampa exploited that at times with curl and dig routes over the middle. Campbell has been good, but he still has plenty of room to grow.
Needs improvement: Run game
Not having David Montgomery or Jahmyr Gibbs compounded the issue, but the run game was completely non-existent in this game. They got away with it because the passing game was so efficient, but this type of performance cannot repeat itself.
Ideally, both Gibbs and Montgomery can heal up quickly and return next week. The ground game doesn’t work the same without the thunder and lightning combination.
Play of the game: Jameson Williams’ 45-yard touchdown catch
The Jameson Williams experience was summarized perfectly in one drive. He caught a curl route at the first down marker but went backward trying to make a man miss after getting to his feet. He dropped a pass on a deep comeback route, though it was slightly underthrown as Goff got hit. And then on a 3rd-and-10 when the Lions were looking to extend their lead, their most explosive player did what the Lions drafted him to do: Take the top off the defense.
Goff and Williams still have some work to do fine-tuning their connection. On this play, you can see Goff underthrew him slightly, but it didn’t matter. Williams showed an exceptional ability to track the ball in the air and adjust his body to the throw. Shades of Tyler Lockett, if you'd like a comparison. Williams still has to work to do in his overall development, but made a play in a big moment and shifted momentum.