Detroit Lions special teams report card vs San Diego Chargers, Week 1
TJ Jones was “named” the kickoff and punt returner earlier in the week, but was inactive for the game. Ameer Abdullah was sent back to return the opening kickoff, which went as a touchback. He had three above average returns.
Golden Tate was tasked with punt returns.
Matt Prater never had a field goal opportunity, and Sam Martin had five punts.
The Lions didn’t commit any penalties on special teams, as they did in every preseason game. They did not commit or cause a turnover.
As mentioned, Prater never had a field goal try, but he did make good on all four extra-point attempts. No harm here.
Sam Martin had five punts, for an average of 35.2 yards, with a long of 42 yards. Three of his five punts remained behind the Chargers 20-yard line. One punt went out of bounds at the San Diego 22-yard line. His only “bad” punt of the day was late in the 3rd quarter when he kicked from the Lions 36-yard line (line of scrimmage) to the Chargers 30-yard line, for a total of 34 yards.
Four of five Martin kickoffs were touchbacks.
KICKOFF RETURNS: A+
Abdullah shows his versatility for this team by going back deep for kickoffs–which is a great move. He busted-off a 48-yard return, and averaged 35 yards on three returns, well above both last years team average and this preseason’s team average. He should keep the job minus an injury to Joique Bell.
PUNT RETURNS: A-
Tate is no stranger to returning punts, as he did it in Seattle. Nothing flashy here, but two returns, one for 20 yards, and another for 14. Both were better than the preseason average return.
KICKOFF COVERAGE: B+
Not much to see here as the Chargers only brought one kickoff out of their end zone, which the Lions only allowed Jacoby Jones to get to the 19-yard line.
PUNT COVERAGE: INC.
The Chargers never returned a punt.