FIRST DOWN: ST. BROWN ON A ROLL
Do the Detroit Lions have their own younger version of San Francisco's do-it-all offensive weapon Deebo Samuel in rookie Amon-Ra. St. Brown?
Detroit's been creative of late in how they use St. Brown to get him the football, lining him up in the slot, in the backfield and out wide. He's involved in the screen game, and Detroit uses him on reverses. He's a guy they try to get the ball in his hands any way possible, much like the 49ers do with Samuel.
Samuel is a 1,000-yard receiver, but also has over 300 rushing yards and seven rushing scores. He's tough, durable, and physical, which are similar to the traits St. Brown has.
"I love watching Deebo," St. Brown said Sunday after catching eight passes for 111 yards and a touchdown, and also rushing for a touchdown (26 yards). "He's a beast. He does it all. You watch his tape, I mean running back, receiver, YAC (yards after catch), everything. Versatility helps play callers and helps our team. You can get favorable matchups."
It was a favorable matchup with a nickel cornerback in the box that helped set up St. Brown's 26-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. He was motioned from the slot to the backfield and took advantage of the matchup on a run play.
St. Brown is on a roll and playing with a ton of confidence right now. He is the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to have five straight games with at least eight receptions.
"He's just a natural football player," quarterback Tim Boyle said of St. Brown after the game. "He's got great feel. You can hand the ball off to him, he's just so versatile. Players like that make quarterbacks like me better."
SECOND DOWN: INCONSISTENT RUN DEFENSE
The Lions' defense came into Sunday's game in Seattle ranked 27th defending the run, so there's been more struggles than successes on that front all season. They had been better of late, but Sunday definitely was not their best effort.
Seattle racked up 265 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry along the way. It's the second time the Lions have allowed over 200 rushing yards to an opponent this season, the other being the 44-6 blowout loss to the Eagles back in October (236).
This coming after holding Atlanta to just 47 rushing yards last week. It speaks to Detroit's inconsistency stopping the run all year.
"I know this, we were getting cut off backside. We weren't where we were supposed to be on a few things, whether it be, who knows?" Campbell said after Detroit's 51-29 loss, fueled by their inability to stop Seattle defensively. "I've got to look at the tape. But I know this, we weren't stopping them."
Campbell said missed tackles played a factor, but also noted that some holes were so big that Seattle backs were running untouched 20 yards downfield before the safeties got to them.
Seattle's success running the ball early opened up the play-action pass game for quarterback Russell Wilson and it just snowballed for Detroit's defense from there.
If the Lions are going to be a more consistent defense, they've got to avoid these big rushing outputs by opponents. It's the fifth time this year an opponent has rushed for at least 184 yards against the Lions' defense.
View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks Week 17 game at Lumen Field on Sunday, Jan. 2 in Seattle, WA.
THIRD DOWN: DECKER TOUCHDOWN
Left tackle Taylor Decker was quick to point out his soft hands and leaping ability when he stepped behind the podium Sunday to talk about his 6-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, the second of his career.
"Well, we actually had one in two weeks ago, but we didn't call it and then we just changed the number with it so it was a different play call than years past," Decker said. "We were using six to seven linemen the whole game where we were reporting the whole time.
"You can't hear the numbers they are saying when they were reporting. So, when they call out that personnel we go up to the referee, all three of us, I report and announced it. But, it's a little deception. The safety over top was late to recognize it and yeah, soft hands. I did tell him he got 'Mossed'."
Campbell said with all the injuries and missing players on offense this week – Detroit was down their starting quarterback, two starting receivers, a starting guard and their top two tight ends – he's just doing what he can with what he has, and sometimes that means getting creative.
FOURTH DOWN: NO ANSWERS
One of the more disappointing aspects of the game for Campbell was when the Lions pulled to within two scores in the third quarter after scoring a touchdown, getting an onside kick, and scoring again, but they could never make the plays necessary to get it to a one-score contest.
After Decker's touchdown made it 38-22 with four minutes and 50 seconds left in third quarter, Seattle was able to mount a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a Russell Wilson to DK Metcalf touchdown. There was a critical 3rd and 7 during that drive where the Lions' defense wasn't able to get off the field.
But that was really the case all game. After a three and out to start the game, Seattle scored on their next nine possessions. Detroit was forced to make the game a shootout, and they just didn't have the firepower offensively to do it.
"Probably the most frustrating thing to me –I mean, look, it's all frustrating, but when we pulled it back within two scores, I really thought, 'Alright, this is a chance to get this thing back in our favor. We'll get a stop here, a turnover, and now we'll make this a one-possession game.' And we just couldn't do it," Campbell said. "That really disappointed me, even more than the other stuff, to be honest with you."