The return of safety
The Lions haven’t led at halftime in any game this season, and that tends to put a lot of pressure on a defense. It can result in a conservative approach to defend against the big play, turning a deficit into too big of a hole to climb out of.
“You can’t afford to make a bad call or make a bad play,” Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham told detroitlions.com. “So you don’t use some of the things you’d like to do schematically, which is blitz more or use some change up coverages.”
The last two weeks, though, Cunningham says he’s taken off the gloves and just gone out and played like the defense is ahead.
“We’ve had nine sacks and about 30 hits on the quarterback and I don’t know how many pressures,” he said.
Cunningham has been much more aggressive as a play caller in terms of his blitzes and coverages and it has the Lions playing their best defense of the season.
The Lions are eighth in total defense and sixth against the pass, allowing just over 210 passing yards per game.
“We are playing together,” Cunningham said. “The DB’s played well in the game but they were really protected by the front. This is something we anticipated was going to happen. But because of some of the injury situations, we have really not gotten on track this year.
"The last two weeks the defensive line has really stepped up.”