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Safety Louis Delmas' impact felt beyond the stat sheet

Posted 6 hours ago

Delmas doesn't get a lot of credit for how smart a football player he is, which is just one of the many aspects of his game the Lions have missed early this season.

Safety Louis Delmas made his first start of the season in Detroit's 26-23 overtime victory on Sunday, making an impact far beyond the seven tackles and interception he recorded in the game.  

Delmas doesn't get a lot of credit for how smart a football player he is, which is just one of the many aspects of his game the Lions have missed early this season.

Case in point was Delmas' impact on the second defensive possession of the second quarter for the Lions.

During the drive, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick audibled out of a first down play - the third play of the drive.

After Vick did that, Delmas - who was blitzing on the play - immediately put his hands in the air and looked back to rookie cornerback Bill Bentley.

It appeared Delmas knew what to expect from the receiver Bentley was covering based on the audible from Vick. Bentley preceded to jump the route, and though he was called for a suspect pass interference on the play (Bentley seemed to time the coverage perfectly), it appeared Bentley had known what was coming.

"(His impact) was real on the field," said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. "It was real this week in practice. It was real in the locker room before the game, in pregame warm-ups. He's just that kind of guy. He's got personality; he's got great ability. He's just a good player."

The Lions defense seemed transformed with Delmas on the field. His impact could be felt from the sideline to fans watching from home.

"He's got that thing like Ray Lewis to the Ravens' defense," said cornerback Chris Houston. "(Brian) Dawkins when he was at Philly. He's got that type of feeling when he's out there making plays and he's amped. Other players feed off of that. It's very big to have him back there."

The Lions actually lost Bentley and cornerback Jacob Lacey over the course of the game to a shoulder injury and concussion, respectively.

But despite being down those two players (with just two active cornerbacks on the field), the Lions didn't skip a beat when rookie Jonte Green stepped in opposite Houston.

It's not hard to believe that Delmas' leadership and presence on the field had a lot to do with it.

“We did a good job of looking each other in the eyes and knowing that, no matter which one of our warriors goes down, we’ve got to pick each other back up and play with who we have," said Delmas after the game. "(Green) did a good job."

Delmas made plays when his team desperately needed a win Sunday, but - perhaps more importantly - made everyone around him better.