TIM & MIKE

TIM AND MIKE: Week 1 observations

Posted Sep 11, 2017

Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara share their observations from the Lions' season-opening victory over the Cardinals.

Defense, double down: It had what amounted to two stands on one Cardinals possession that forced them to settle for a field goal and a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. On first and goal at the 13, two runs and an incomplete pass netted two yards and forced a field goal try, which was good. A penalty on the kick gave the Cardinals first and goal at the five. Three more plays netted minus one yard. A second field-goal attempt was good. Good work by the defense not allowing a TD. – Mike O’Hara

Even better: Matthew Stafford’s day was impressive enough with the four touchdowns and yet another fourth-quarter comeback on his resume. But consider this: Lions pass catchers dropped five balls, and Stafford was forced to throw three passes away due to pressure. If he doesn’t have those, Stafford’s adjusted completion percentage is 89.5. – Tim Twentyman

Prater power: Nothing seems to bother kicker Matt Prater, including having to punt in an NFL game for the first time in his career. He averaged 34.8 yards on four punts, with no return yardage, after Kasey Redfern went out with a knee injury. As a kicker, he made his only field-goal attempt – a 58-yarder on the last play of the first half. On his five kickoffs, four were touchbacks, one was returned to the 20. – Mike O’Hara

Rookie debuts: Two debuts stood out in particular. First was obviously Kenny Golladay. He had a slow start, but boy, that finish. He caught two fourth-quarter touchdowns to give the Lions their first lead and then extend it. Jarrad Davis was good against the run all game long. He had nine solo tackles, and also recovered a fumble. He was picked on in the passing game some, but he’s a rookie, and that part of his game will continue to develop. Second-round pick Teez Tabor was inactive, but that’s not so much a knock on him as it is a positive about where Detroit’s depth at cornerback currently stands. – Tim Twentyman

Depth line: Undrafted rookie defensive linemen Alex Barrett and Jeremiah Valoaga were on the 46-player gameday roster, and they weren’t spectators. Barrett played one snap on offense as a fullback and 14 on defense. Valoaga played 16 snaps on defense. Also, sixth-round pick Jeremiah Ledbetter played 33 snaps at defensive tackle. – Mike O’Hara

Rushing the edge: Each of the last three seasons, the Lions have had a somewhat unknown edge rusher step up and become a big contributor. Who could be this year’s George Johnson or Kerry Hyder Jr.? Second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel is making an early case. The former sixth-round pick out of Penn State recorded a sack and four quarterback hurries on Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. He also recorded two tackles for loss in a terrific debut as the starter opposite Ziggy Ansah. – Tim Twentyman