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FOUR DOWNS: Ansah posts 3-sack performance


Ziggy Ansah played in 13 injury-plagued games in 2016, and recorded just two sacks.

He is dealing with a bit of a knee injury to begin this season, but it isn't nearly as severe as the ankle problem and other ailments he dealt with last year.

As a result, we're seeing more of the Ansah we saw in 2015, when he recorded 14.5 sacks and made his first Pro Bowl.

Against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, Ansah showed out to the national crowd.

It took just a half of football and roughly two minutes into the third quarter for Ansah to surpass his 2016 total with a three-sack performance on Giants quarterback Eli Manning. He abused Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers all game long, and Manning paid the price.

"The sack looks better than the hurry," Ansah said after the game. "That is what I'm paid to do, put the quarterback down with the ball in his hands. I'm just grateful I was able to get a few today. It feels great."

With Ansah healthy and causing havoc, this Lions' defense is so much more dangerous than it was a season ago.


The Lions appear to have found themselves a legit punt return weapon.

After a terrific debut last week in which he averaged 16 yards per return, Lions rookie cornerback Jamal Agnew blew Monday night's game open with an 88-yard punt-return score in the fourth quarter that gave the Lions a 24-10 lead. 

It was the fifth-longest punt return in team history, and the first for a Lions rookie since Eddie Drummond in 2002.

Giants punter Brad Wing booted a 60-yard punt from the Giants 28-yard line to the Lions 12, which gave Agnew just the opportunity he needed.

"It was a heck of a punt," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. "But it kind of just gave him enough room to get started up the sideline and he found a crease. One of the things you notice about this guy is he has quickness and speed and anytime you can take a return that far in the national football league without getting caught from behind, you have a little bit of a motor going for you.

"He has done a really good job for us. You could see it coming, just in terms of his quickness and ability to catch it and run, and he'll do nothing but get better. He's just a young guy right now."

Agnew said after the game he just wanted to make sure after getting by the initial gunners that the punter or long snapper didn't get him.

"To be honest, what's going through my mind was, 'Don't let the long snapper tackle me,' and 'Don't let the punter tackle me.' And thankfully I made them miss," Agnew said. "So, like I said I got to shout out the punt return squad. They all held their blocks. It's a team effort right there."



If someone said Matthew Stafford would have 122 passing yards on the road, most people would just assume the Lions lost the game. 

It was tough sledding for Stafford and the pass game against a good Giants pass rush and secondary, but an opportunistic run game (138 yards), another stout defensive performance, and a special teams score all added up to a total team win for the Lions.

"I think it's been a couple weeks in a row now that we haven't got off to the best start offensively or really sustained a great start, but our defense is doing a great job of keeping us in ball games, keeping us with the lead so we can kind of keep the playbook open, not get one dimensional," guard T.J. Lang said.

"And that's team football, man. It's the biggest team sport there is. One area your team's not clicking great, the other two hopefully pick you up and we've had that throughout the first two weeks of the season. It's a great characteristic of our team."


Eric Ebron ranked in the top 10 among tight ends last year in catches (61) and yards (711), but he had just one touchdown. To put that in a bit of perspective: There were 117 players in the NFL last year who had at least two receiving touchdowns. 

It took just two games for Ebron to match his total from last year, as the New Jersey native had himself a nice homecoming. 

Ebron had five first-half receptions, including the touchdown, that helped build a lead the Lions would never relinquish. He caught all five of his targets for 42 yards, which led the Lions in receiving.

With the Giants employing one of the best secondaries in the NFL, it was thought coming in that Ebron and running backs Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah would have to have big games for the Lions.

Ebron stepped up to the plate and did his part, which was key, and now the Lions are 2-0 with the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons (2-0) coming to Ford Field next Sunday.

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