Kansas City Chiefs: Getting to know Detroit Lions before Week 4

(Photo by Ricky Swift/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Ricky Swift/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ricky Swift/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Ricky Swift/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Jekel: After blowing a late lead to the Cardinals in Week One, the Lions have bounced back with wins over a couple of solid opponents in the Chargers and Eagles. What’s the vibe with this team after three weeks?


Heyrman: It’s Lions mania around here right now.  The old saying is ‘you must be drinking the Kool-Aid.’  Well around here there are a lot of folks drinking that Kool-Aid right now.

If you remember, ESPN had a little preseason article that suggested the Detroit Lions would start the season 0-11.  That didn’t play well here.  After the tie in Week 1 (which we consider a loss) to the Arizona Cardinals where the Lions blew that 18-point lead, it certainly had that ‘same old Lions’ feel but rather than get caught up in a downward spiral the team was able to bounce back with back to back wins against quality opponents. 

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  • I understand both teams were missing some essential parts, but you can only compete against the players lining up across from you, and they were able to handle their business.  At the moment, everyone is pretty excited about this team.  It’s a breath of fresh air for a franchise with a rich history of struggling to get it right.

    Jekel: Matthew Stafford‘s passing numbers have gone down in every game of the season to a low of 201 yards last week. He also completed only 56.3% of his 32 passing attempts. Are his numbers more a reflection about him at this point in his career, or about how the Lions want to play under Patricia?

    Heyrman: Well, Matthew Stafford came out of the gate looking wonderful in Arizona. He seemed very comfortable in this new Darrell Bevell (the team’s new offensive coordinator) offense, but his numbers don’t tell the entire story.  Bevell is a guy who loves to set up the pass through the run.  He’s a guy who likes to get the ground game going and then hit you over the top with a play-action pass. 

    Matthew Stafford at 31-years-old still possess one of the stronger arms in football, so when everything is clicking, he will fit this offensive scheme perfectly.  The problem is the Detroit Lions have struggled mightily trying to run the football. 

    Last season during his ten starts Kerryon Johnson averaged 5.4 yards per carry.  This year through the first two games he’s averaging a mere 2.6 yards per carry.  The offensive line has done a fantastic job pass protecting for Matt but a well below average job run blocking for the Lions backs.  I wouldn’t be alarmed by Stafford’s yardage drop, he tends to rush some of his throws, last week was a perfect example, he needs to hang in there and deliver a more accurate ball. 

    Jekel: Looking at the raw total statistics can sometimes be misleading. Checking in on Trey Flowers, he’s sacked the QB only one time in 2019. Beyond the box score, how’s the Lions’ prized offseason signing doing?

    Heyrman: Trey Flowers missed virtually the entire Detroit Lions offseason program along with the whole preseason.  He, along with the entire Detroit Lions defensive line, has struggled to get going so far this season. Flowers recorded six quarterback hurries last week but at times looked invisible.

    Last week in Philadelphia the DL was pushed around a bit which comes as a bit of a surprise because that was expected to be the strength of the defense.  I think they are about to get things going.  I’m not saying that because they are playing Kansas City or anything, but it’s Week 4, so the rust should be shaken off now.

    Jekel: This defense limited both Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz that past two weeks, holding each QB to under 300 yards passing. What’s been the key to pass defense’s success?

    Heyrman: The Lions pass defense is one of the best in football.  (Cornerback) Darius Slay is one of the most underrated players in the entire NFL.  He was a bit banged up last week and has been limited in practice so far this week.  He’s a shutdown corner that can run with the fast receivers.  He struggled a bit with the physicality of (Chargers wide receiver) Keenan Allen in Week 2 but had an interception late to seal the win.  That proved how mentally tough he is. 

    Justin Coleman has been simply sensational this year.  The Lions signed him to a large contract this spring.  He was regarded as the best nickel corner on the market.  So far he’s lived up to the hype.  He’s also had to slide to an outside corner position at times with plenty of success. 

    The safety group is tremendous in Detroit, led by captain Quantre Diggs.  Diggs can cover the shifty slot receivers along with matching up with a tight end in man to man coverage.  Tracy Walker is his running mate, and he’s a tackling machine.  I’m excited to see how the Lions secondary matches up against this offensive juggernaut that Kansas City runs out on a weekly basis.  I’m happy we miss Tyreek Hill, but I would have loved to see if  Slay could hang with him.