When writing a Detroit Lions studs and duds piece, it's so much more fun after a victory, especially one like today. They went into Raymond James Stadium and erected a brick wall on the goal line on defense, standing tall and gutting out a win in the Sunshine State. The win moves them into a three-way tie for the best record in the entire NFL and things are only looking up for the kneecap-bitin' Kitties from the Motor City.
Detroit Lions studs and duds vs. Buccaneers
Once again the Lions have made picking the studs easy and the duds difficult. It was an all-around team effort today from the offense, to the defense, and even the special teams contributed to the domination. So when we write about the duds, just understand that it is a bit nit-picky, but we must drive on.
Duds vs. the Bucs
Again, this is very nit-picky but the only “dud” to write about is the offensive line today. Yes, they were facing a punch-you-in-the-mouth front seven, one that moved to the ball quickly and swarmed for tackles. Yet, the offensive line struggled a bit today in pass protection and opening running lanes. Jared Goff was sacked three times, the Lions only were able to rush the ball 22 times due to their 1.8 yards per rush, and overall Goff just looked uncomfortable behind them for most of the game.
There's a caveat, however. The Lions' backfield is depleted and that could have contributed to their lack of rushing attack; however, they are going to have to find a way to stay with their wonderfully balanced offense if they're going to compete deep into the playoffs as we all hope. Their entire offensive scheme is built on balance and when they have to get away from it there could be danger lurking around the corner.
Studs vs. the Bucs
The studs are much easier to find in a game like this. There were a ton of contributions around the field and on the defensive side of the ball they pounded the Orangesicles into the ground. It's quite obvious that Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jared Goff, and the entire defense are deserving of this honor this week.
Amon-Ra St. Brown – 12 rec, 124 yards, 1 TD
St. Brown came back from injury with a vengeance. And, it was quite obvious that his quarterback was extremely happy to have him back. Targeted 15 times, St. Brown came down with 12 of those opportunities and many of them over the middle or in the midst of contest catches. The dude is just an absolute stud and could probably be given this honor every week just because of the way he handles his business, but this week for sure he was the catalyst that led them to victory on offense.
Jared Goff – 30/44, 353 yards, 2 TDs
We've already discussed how Goff put the team on his back this afternoon, but man was he really good. He got away with a couple of mistake throws, but when the Lions needed him he was there. None better than the third-and-ten bomb to Jameson Williams, which effectively put the game out of reach. If Goff can continue this type of play, the sky's the limit for the Lions.
The ENTIRE freakin' Lions' defense – 6 pts allowed, 1 Sack, 1 INT, 251 yards allowed.
Yes, we're doing group awards. This defense is legit. Yes, they were playing the Bucs' and Baker Mayfield, but my goodness. From the moment Aidan Hutchinson legally shoved Mayfield out of bounds on a run, the tone was set. And, that moment shifted things in the game. These boys laid the wood all game long and put a lot of people on notice. Hats off to the oft-maligned Aaron Glenn and the game plan he developed for this week. It was worked to perfection. The defense made a statement today to the NFL: We don't need to just outscore, you anymore, we can shut you down too.
The bottom line
This Lions team is a really good team. We know that we don't want to get caught up in the press clippings and all the other cliches that are associated with the success. But at the end of the day, there are only five teams that are 5-1, only three teams with a better point differential, and only two teams that have scored more points. There are a ton of “studs” on this team and the rest of this season is going to be a lot of fun.