It’s early so no need to get too excited but with the 24-10 win at the N.Y. Giants on Monday night, the Lions are 2-0 for the first time to start a season since 2011. Also, at 2-0 they are atop the NFC North with the Packers and Vikings at 1-1 and the Bears at 0-2.
It was a big team win in the national spotlight on Monday night.
(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)
It was also a little unusual for this bunch because they held the lead wire to wire. No need for a fourth-quarter comeback
Here are five reasons the Lions won:
1. Matthew Stafford was more than solid and less than spectacular. Not only was he 15-21 for 122 yards and two touchdowns, he scrambled on key downs, gathering 23 rushing yards on three carries. ESPN’s Jon Gruden couldn’t say enough about him and rightfully so. Marvin Jones Jr., (27 yards) and Eric Ebron (seven yards) made great touchdown catches. Ebron had five total catches. Usually Stafford has more than 122 passing yards but the win is more important than his stats. He led the offense to convert 7 of 14 third downs.
2. Ziggy Ansah looks like he returned to his 2015 form, finishing with three sacks of Eli Manning. It was not a one-man show on the defensive line. They pressured Manning early and often. Haloti Ngata and rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis also had sacks.
3. Even though it wasn’t always pretty or effective, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter stayed with the run. Ameer Abdullah ran 17 times for 86 yards while Theo Riddick picked up 20 rushing yards on nine carries.
4. The Lions secondary came up big for the second straight game. Nickel Quandre Diggs made a big stop on fourth down and Caldwell wisely challenged the spot and won. Cornerback Darius Slay and safety Miles Killebrew combined on coverage to prevent a possible touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall.
5. Rookie Jamal Agnew, a fifth-round pick, returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions a 24-10 cushion early in the fourth quarter. Agnew made a few good moves and then let his speed carry him into the end zone. He is the first Lions rookie since Eddie Drummond in 2002 to return a punt for a touchdown.
BONUS: Taylor Decker can’t heal soon enough. Greg Robinson struggled at left tackle. Also, too many holding penalties on the offensive line.