The Detroit Lions were looking for the sixth win in seven games as they traveled to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Jets.
What are some takeaways from the Detroit Lions win vs. Jets?
Playing keep away is a good strategy if you put points on the board
The Detroit Lions did a fantastic job in the first half of keeping possession of the ball and continuing to tire the defense of the Jets. In a comparison of plays, the Lions ran 38 plays in the first half, compared to the Jets' 27, and possessed the ball for five more minutes (17:33 for Detroit; 12:33 for NYJ). Yet, they went into the halftime level on the scoreboard because of missed opportunities.
Detroit failed to convert a fourth-and-goal, Jared Goff underthrew Jameson Williams horribly on a sure-fire touchdown, and Jamaal Williams had a touchdown called back due to an Evan Brown holding call. All of these contributed to the lack of points for the Lions and could have been early daggers to an unconfident quarterback, but they weren't and the Lions continued to settle for field goals--even going three-and-out on their first drive of the second half and having to settle for another field goal.
The Detroit Lions let Zach Wilson get too confident in the first half
Zach Wilson was benched by head coach Robert Saleh a couple of weeks ago. He was the lowest-graded QB according to PFF, behind a ton of backups even. But in the second quarter, the Lions let Wilson, who was 0-2 on the day, get into a groove and get confident. He finished the half 8-14 for 185 yards and a touchdown. To their credit, the Jets did a better job of protecting Wilson in the second quarter than the first, though the Lions did record two sacks.
The Detroit secondary, who were torched for 425 yards by Kirk Cousins last week, finally got the turnover from Wilson on the first drive of the second half when Jerry Jacobs picked off Wilson and set up the offense deep in the Jets' territory. In the second half, they kept him in the pocket when they could and he looked less comfortable.
The Lions' offensive line did not play well but did enough
Part of the lack of offensive production for the Lions during the game was their inability to get out of their own way. The Lion on the day had six penalties for 52 yards, but some crucial offensive holdings really shot them in the foot. Evan Brown, on consecutive plays, was called for a hold, one of them negating a touchdown. Frank Ragnow was called for a hold which negated defensive offsides, which would've extended a drive that was already six minutes long in the fourth quarter.
They also were not able to get much going on the ground, only rushing for 97 yards on 26 attempts, a 3.7 per average. Add to this that Jared Goff was under a bit of pressure most of the game, and that's not the recipe that the Lions have been using to win. Ultimately, they held up long enough for the Lions to get the go-ahead score, late in the fourth, to give the Lions their sixth victory in seven games
The Defensive front stood on their heads and delivered the win
Four sacks, an interception, and only 2.2 yards per rush. That's a dog gone brick wall. Aidan Hutchinson, James Houston, and company were staunch in their defense of the Jets' offense, getting two sacks on the final drive. While the secondary continues to get shredded weekly, at least the front seven has been improving week by week. They should be treated to steak dinners for saving the secondary's bacon against Zach Wilson. If not for the front seven, the Lions do not win this game.