Ifeatu Melifonwu's energy fueled resurgent Lions' defense in blowout win vs. Broncos

Safety Ifeatu Melifonwu set the tone for a resurgent defensive performance that drove a blowout win for the Detroit Lions over the Denver Broncos in Week 15.

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The Detroit Lions got back in the groove with a dominating 42-17 win over the Denver Broncos Saturday night. While the offense dominated, the defense also enjoyed a resurgent performance.

A week after struggling in clutch moments, Detroit allowed only 287 yards and forced one turnover as part of a blowout win. Perhaps no player epitomized that performance uite like safety Ifeatu Melifonwu.

Melifonwu seemed to solidify a starting role with a solid Week 14 performance, and he wasted no time backing that up in Week 15. In the first quarter, Melifonwu had a key strip-sack that turned the Broncos away from an early scoring opportunity.

Melifonwu finished with eight tackles, two pass breakups, two tackles for loss and one sack. He played a speedy sideline-to-sideline game on a night where Aaron Glenn depended on his defensive backs to create havoc.

While the Lions had several important performances on defense, Melifonwu's energy pushed his teammates forward when they needed somebody to step up. It was an important game for the former third-round pick to serve notice he must be taken seriously.

Dan Campbell praises Ifeatu Melifonwu's development for Detroit Lions

The Lions have made sweeping changes to their defensive backfield, inserting names like Khalil Dorsey, Kindle Vildor as well as Melifonwu in the last couple games.

After Saturday night's game, Campbell praised the performance of the defensive backs and Melifonwu specifically.

"Ifeatu (Melifonwu) has continued to grow. Ifeau, his thing has really been the durability. He's been healthy. He's been able to stay on the field. His body's holding up. He's a smart, athletic, physical player. He's got length and range. Him back there with Kerby (Joseph), we're getting better. We're getting better."

With Melifonwu, perhaps the Lions have found a late-season x-factor to aid in a defensive turnaround. His energetic performance showed what he can add, now that he's healthy and no longer dealing with the hand injury he was earlier in the season.

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