The first game of the season is always filled potential and going into the opening game, the Detroit Lions were looking to build on a 9-7 playoff campaign. The game showed Detroit’s potential for the future with two rookies and a second-year player who came up big to help them score a victory against a tough Arizona Cardinals squad. The young guys who stole the show in Sunday’s victory did not disappoint. Kenny Golladay, Miles Killebrew, and Jarrad Davis showed Detroit that the future looks bright.
Jarrad Davis flashed signs of being exactly what the Lions need, a linebacker with a great football education. His knowledge was on full display on Sunday with his ability to locate the ball. In the third quarter, the Lions were down 17-9 and were looking for a big play. The defense caused David Johnson to fumble the ball in Arizona territory. Davis who pinpointed the ball picked it up in full stride, and set the Lions offense up for a score, keeping them within striking distance of Arizona. Like any rookie, Davis did make some silly mistakes – a pass interference penalty in the end zone and a personal foul penalty for body slamming Jermaine Gresham did put a bit of a damper on an otherwise stellar day for our rookie linebacker. With, nine solo tackles and a fumble recovery, I would say Jarrad showed he is the Lions future middle linebacker.
The Lions unleashed a new weapon onto the NFL landscape in Week 1 and his name is Kenny Golladay. This 6’4, 218-pound rookie wide receiver showed why the Bob Quinn spent a third-round pick on him. He is long and powerful, with the ability catch tricky passes. Case in point: on Golladay’s first ever pro touchdown, he snatched the ball at its highest point, reaching over Arizona defensive back Justin Bethel for the touchdown. Golladay’s second touchdown was the prettiest of the day. First, he blew past poor Justin Bethel and despite safety help over the top, he laid out fully to haul in a 45-yard dart for his second touchdown, giving Detroit the lead. A lead that the Lions would never relinquish.
In his second season, strong safety Miles Killebrew is a favorite with the coaching staff. He had two great pass defenses that helped stall Arizona’s offense and brought life to a crowd that that was longing to cheer. With two rookies helping give the Lions the lead, it was Killebrew who cemented the victory with a pick-6. The defensive line got great pressure on Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer and forced a throw that ricocheted off his intended target’s shoulder, ending up in the hands of Killebrew who had a clear path to the end zone. Killebrew showed great ball skills with his pass defenses and demonstrated an ability to make the most of the opportunities when given the chance. The future looks bright for one Miles Killebrew.
These three stole the show in the Lions first game of the season. What could this mean for the rest of the season? No one knows. But there does seem to be an added air of excitement for the future. If these young guys can keep up this kind of play, get ready for a fun season, Lions fans.