The Detroit Lions continued losing after falling to the Dallas Cowboys 24-6. Despite the loss, the Detroit Lions' defense stepped up big time after the bye week. Formerly the worst defense in the league, they made plays all over the field.
Unfortunately, the Detroit Lions' offense could not perform anywhere close to that level. The offense only scored 6 points, all in the first half, and turned the ball over four times. With the pitiful offensive performance, there was nothing the defense could do to pull off the upset. Here is who shined in the Lions' loss.
Brock Wright, TE
In a really poor offensive performance, one positive was the play of second-year tight end Brock Wright. With D'Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St Brown, and DJ Chark unavailable, the Detroit Lions were strapped for playmakers, and Wright could do some things. Brock Wright grabbed all four of his targets for 57 yards, as he was second on the team in receiving.
Wright was also involved in maybe the biggest play of the game, where he caught a tight end screen and was within half a yard of scoring a touchdown. He was just short, and then, on the next play, Jamaal Williams lost his first-ever fumble. If Wright had scored on that play, it could have changed the complexion of the game and made Wright a potential hero.
Aidan Hutchinson, DE
The Detroit Lions have discussed exploring different ways to use rookie Aidan Hutchinson to maximize his impact. This week, that effort finally paid off. With fellow rookie Josh Pachal returning, Hutchinson played much more on the weak side without a tight end. Hutchinson shined in this role.
He grabbed 1.5 sacks on that day, and unlike against Washington, both plays were results of him cleanly beating a tackle for the sack. On top of that, Hutchinson had a handful of pressures on the day. In a frustrating game, Hutchinson was a true bright spot, proving why he is such a highly regarded prospect.
Jeff Okudah, CB
Another top 5 pick, Jeff Okudah from the Detroit Lions, also showed why he was drafted so high. Against the Cowboys, Okudah was a tackling machine. Aaron Glenn moved Okudah all over the defense. He spent time at both outside corners and as a hybrid safety. In this new role, Jeff Okudah shined. Against the run, he was flying up and consistently making tackles near the line of scrimmage.
By the end of the game, Okudah led the team with 15 total tackles and one loss. Jeff Okudah's aggressive tackling was such a problem for the Cowboys that he drew two big penalties on the Cowboys' offensive linemen. This role could be a perfect fit for Jeff Okudah with his combo of coverage and tackling ability. That was a great job by Aaron Glenn for finding a creative way to use Okudah, and a great response from the young defensive back.
Winner: Jeff Okudah
The Texas native had potentially the best game of his career in his home state. Facing a strong rushing attack, the Detroit Lions needed to find a way to stop the run, and that way was moving Jeff Okudah into the box more. He did a great job fitting the run and bringing down ball carriers. Okudah was also solid in coverage and didn't give up much to Cowboy's receivers. We've seen Okudah play well against the run and in coverage, but to this point, we have not seen him perform completely for a whole game like this.
Despite the loss, this was a really exciting game for Hutchinson and Jeff Okudah. Hutchinson lived up to his potential as a pass rusher and made some big plays. Jeff Okudah starred in a completely new role and showed that he could be the secondary leader with Tracy Walker out. At 1-5, this season is likely over from a winning standpoint, but the Lions need to continue to develop playmakers on both sides of the ball, like Jeff Okudah and Hutchinson. If they can, the Lions' season might not end up disappointing.