Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay’s huge interception seals win over Chargers

DETROIT — Darius Slay rated it his second-best interception ever.

By going up and pulling the football away from Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen in the end zone with 1:10 left, Slay sealed the 13-10 win for the Detroit Lions.

Allen finished with eight catches for 98 yards, many of those yards coming with Slay covering him. 

“Oh man, he’s top five. He’s one of the best out here, best in the game. We were battling – back-and-forth, back-and-forth. (He) caught a couple passes, I made a couple break-ups. We know each other personally. We came out together,’’ Slay said. “It was a good battle. Good, friendly battle. We already knew what time it was. I was looking forward to this matchup just as much as he was. Now I just wish him the best the rest of this season.”

When he saw the ball coming into the end zone on that big play, Slay said, “That sh– mine, I saw that sh–, I said, ‘Oh this sh– mine.’ I’ve got to have that. He almost knocked it out but I got good hands, I’m a receiver.’’ 

He wasn’t surprised that quarterback Philip Rivers went to Allen on that third-and-19 play. 

“That’s his go-to guy, that’s his man. If I’m the quarterback I’m throwing to him too, I don’t care if he’s double-covered or triple-covered that’s my guy and I’m going to make sure to see if he can make a play. I just made one more play than he did,” Slay said.

The Lions defense held the Chargers scoreless in the second half.

“To hold them under 10 points is good. Man, Philip is an awesome quarterback, great  competitor. Before the game he sat there and told me, ‘Slay, it’s going to be early and often.’ So he already let me know it was going to be a competitive day,’’ Slay said. “I was prepared for it, he was prepared for it — I just made one more play at the end.’’

It wasn’t a perfect game for Slay. He was called for two defensive holding penalties in the second quarter (one was declined) and a big pass interference call in the third quarter in the end zone going up against Allen. He just had to get over those calls and he did.

 “I have to, because if I don’t, if I lose myself, I’m failing the team. I can’t do that. I have to stay on my grind, stay competing, because these boys look up to me and expect a lot out of me. I just try to go out and give them what I got,’’ Slay said.

A week earlier it looked like the defense let up in the fourth quarter trying (and failing) to hold onto a fourth-quarter lead at Arizona.

It was all different at Ford Field on Sunday.

“Last week we didn’t play all four quarters, but this week we did,’’ Slay said. “That’s why we got it done.’’

Detroit Lions’ aggressive play pays off with a 13-10 win over Chargers

Matthew Stafford explains no holding back approach

DETROIT — If you ask Matthew Stafford, the Lions were confident in themselves even through the ups and downs of Sunday’s game. 

The Detroit Lions made mistakes on offense, defense and it seems especially on special teams. After a tough tie a week ago, they hung in there on Sunday and beat the Los Angeles Chargers, 13-10 at Ford Field.

It was truly September football.

“We put a ton of work in, that’s what we think back on, that’s what we put our trust in, we put the work in,’’ Stafford said afterward.

“This is, Matty P likes to say all the time, it’s September football. There’s some ugly stuff out there, all sides of the ball — offense, defense, and special teams — you’ve got to keep fighting, keep pushing and be great in situational and our ‘D’ was great in situational getting a pick to end the game. And we were able to convert a third-down, a gotta have it third-down, to make sure we don’t have to punt it back.

“Very rarely in September is the game super clean and everybody is a well-oiled machine,’’ Stafford said. “Sometimes the games are a little ugly, but we’ll take a win.’’

The game-winning touchdown came midway through the fourth quarter on a 31-yard pass from Stafford to Kenny Golladay.

“We put a little double-post concept, kind of on a single-high safety, the safety took the inside one and Kenny did a good enough job to use his big body to wall the corner off and I tried to shoot one in there and it ended up in a good spot,” Stafford said.

Cornerback Darius Slay, matched up most of the day with wide receiver Keenan Allen, got beat often. But when it mattered the most he lived up to his name — Big Play Slay.

With 1:10 left and the Lions holding onto the 3-point lead, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws a 28-yard pass into the end zone for Allen, but Slay was able to nab the interception.

Then the Lions got the ball back with 1:03 left and on third down they needed to convert to keep the ball away from the Chargers.

Stafford threw a 7-yard pass to tight end Jesse James to convert. 

“It was sweet, I loved it,’’ Stafford said. “Broke the huddle quick, caught them sleeping. It was the last thing on my mind when (Darrell Bevell) called it, it came into my helmet and I was like, ‘This is going to be awesome.’ I was just happy Jesse did enough just to get the first down, it was tough running at the third, nothing better than not having to punt it back.’’

Bevell, the new offensive coordinator, had enough trust to call that pass play even though Stafford had thrown a pair of interceptions in the second half.

“Bev’s an aggressive guy, I’m an aggressive player. When I’m out there, we work so hard, go trust yourself out there, you think something is going to work, go do it,’’ Stafford said.

“The one pick I threw in the end zone I probably — I’d like to throw it a little better — but I’m throwing that ball probably 10 times out of 10. That’s Kenny (Golladay) one-on-one with a corner, that’s a great shot. It didn’t work out, it ended up as a turnover and bad play for our team, but I’m putting that up there I’m aggressive I’m going to keep giving our guys chances because they’re great players.

“The second one obviously I can’t turn that ball over. There’s a running back sitting in the flat for a 15-yard gain.I got a little too aggressive there, but I think just that rubs off, confidence,’’ Stafford said.

It was just Stafford’s second game with Bevell running the show and improvements could be seen from the previous week.

“I go into every game really comfortable, I know what he’s going to call, now I’m learning more and more when he’s going to call it,’’ Stafford said. “That just comes with experience, but I’ve had a lot of fun playing in this system for twp games. I have a lot to clean up, can obviously play better, but I’m enjoying it.’’

Spoken like a true NFL gunslinger with a confident coach making the calls

Detroit Lions Taylor Decker, Jarrad Davis, Da’Shawn Hand out vs. Chargers

DETROIT — Starting left tackle Taylor Decker and linebacker Jarrad Davis are out in the Detroit Lions home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers today at Ford Field.

Decker, who injured his back in the tie at Arizona last Sunday, has practiced on a limited basis all week so this is no surprise. He was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report. Decker started in all 16 games in 2018.

Tyrell Crosby, who started one game at right tackle last season, could get the start in Decker’s place.

Davis (ankle), who missed the opener last week, was also limited in practice all week and was listed as questionable. Last week rookie Jahlani Tavai and Jalen Reeves-Maybin stepped in with Devon Kennard wearing the helmet with the microphone.

Defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (elbow), who also sat out last week, is once again sidelined. He too had limited practice this week and was listed as questionable.

The Lions have lost three of their last five home openers including last year when the N.Y. Jets clobbered them 48-17 in the regular season opener at Ford Field.

Other inactives for the Lions: QB David Blough, WR Travis Fulgham, CB Amani Oruwariye and G Beau Benzschawel.

Chargers inactives: Easton Stick, Michael Badgley, Roderic Teamer, Michael Davis, Jatavis Brown, Hunter Henry and Cortez Broughton.