Detroit Lions Week 8 Report Card: Turnovers, red zone woes barely hinder dominant effort versus Raiders

The Detroit Lions rolled over the Raiders on Monday Night, overcoming self-inflicted wounds to win 26-14.
Las Vegas Raiders v Detroit Lions
Las Vegas Raiders v Detroit Lions / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Defense: 5/5 stars

It was difficult to imagine the Lions' defense ever having a better day than it did in Week 4 against the Packers. But outside of the Raiders' lone scoring drive, which covered 75 yards, Aaron Glenn's unit was dominate.

There were moments where it looked like the secondary might break down, but when it did the defensive line stepped up to force a bad throw. And when the Lions’ offense made mistakes, the defense stepped up and made up for it.

A nice bounce-back for the defense after the rough showing in Week 7.

Defensive player of the game: DT Alim McNeill

McNeill showed what he has been doing all season on the Monday night stage, with two sacks, two tackles for loss and a batted down pass.

McNeill ended the game with a team-high six pressures according to Next Gen Stats. His performance on the interior anchored the defensive line and helped establish the Lions' dominance up front

Rookie report

For the second straight week, we’ve already discussed Gibbs in the player of the game segment so no need to repeat that here

After tripping on a blitz, Jack Campbell took a bad roughing the passer penalty, hitting Jimmy Garoppolo right in the knee. Aside from that it was a pretty quiet day from Campbell. He’s still being used in the SAM linebacker role, which is all well and good when he drops into coverage. But he still leaves much to be desired off the edge. In his defense, he’s not an edge rusher so not sure what you can expect from him in that role.

Sam LaPorta continues to dominate in his rookie campaign. With another eight catches for 57 yards and a score, he etched his name in Lions history.

Incredibly, he has set the franchise record for catches by a rookie tight end only halfway through the season. For reference, T.J. Hockenson caught 32 passes in 12 games during his rookie year. LaPorta now has 43 catches in just eight games.

Brian Branch was his usual self. He’s one of the Lions' best defensive backs, and he played like it again. He was a lot more noticeable against the run in this game, while not making mistakes in coverage.

Broderic Martin was active for the first time this season Monday night. He wasn’t especially noticeable (11 snaps), but he got on the field. Time will tell if he continues to be active on game days.

Colby Sorsdal made his first NFL start at right guard. A holding penalty is the only nit-pick with his performance.

Needs improvement: Red zone efficiency

The red zone offense was uncharacteristically out of sync against the Raiders. For as good as Gibbs was, it’s clear they miss David Montgomery in that area of the field.

Detroit has the weapons to create mismatches in the short passing game, but it didn’t come to fruition Monday night.

Play of the game: Jahmyr Gibbs’ 27-yard touchdown run

The third quarter was lackluster for the Lions. After the Goff pick-six made it a two-point game, the Lions drove down the field, only for Craig Reynolds to fumble on the goal line. After a Raiders punt, the Lions once again started driving into Raiders territory. Desperate for a game-turning play, the Lions went back to their most consistent weapon. And Gibbs came through with a nice touchdown run.

A workload like Monday night's won't be repeated by Gibbs, as long as David Montgomery is healthy. But he has shown why he'll get plenty of touches moving forward.


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