In NFL history, the list of players that have averaged at least 40.0 yards per reception with a minimum of five catches through the first seven games of the season consists of one name: Lions wide receiver Marvin Hall.
He caught a 49-yard touchdown pass last week in the win over the Giants and has a reception of 45-plus yards in each of the Lions’ last three contests. He’s caught five passes on the year for an amazing 201 yards. That’s a 40.2 average, which leads the NFL.
“It’s surreal, you know?” Hall said of his average. “To take the path I took and then just to be able to make the impact I’ve made here is a blessing. I just hope we can keep it going.”
Hall, who has a track background, went undrafted out of Washington in 2016 and spent time with four other franchises before joining the Lions in late September. His most productive stretch came the past two years with the Atlanta Falcons, appearing in 24 games for the Falcons and catching 12 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
Hall’s brought a speed element to the Lions receiver corps that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has utilized with lethal efficiency.
“Obviously, we did our research on him and knew that he had great speed and had great ability to get vertical in the defense,” Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. “We knew that he was a really good kid, a kid that wanted to come in and work really hard, and just try to do everything he could to be a part of the team.
“When he got here, that’s what he showed us. He showed us right away his work ethic, and we had an opportunity to kind of get him up and get him to the game and see what he could do.”
Hall’s had an immediate impact with the Lions as a dangerous down-field threat. In all, the Lions have scored on four of the five drives where Hall’s caught a pass.
“First, it starts with the quarterback,” Hall said. “We have a gunslinger. He’s going to put the ball up when he has any type of matchup and I love it.”
Stafford loves what Hall’s brought to the offense, too. Stafford’s 33 completions of 20-plus yards are the fourth most in the NFL, and he has a lot of trust when he sees Hall is a good matchup down the field.
“Obviously, he wasn’t with us all through training camp, so he’s a guy that is just kind of building his role,” Stafford said. “When we put him out there, he’s done a nice job. As you guys have seen, we’ve spread it around a bunch, and he was just one of those guys that has made some big plays when his number has been called.
“I can’t explain it. I just happen to, I feel like look his way when he’s on the run.”
TIGHT END LUCK
It doesn’t get any easier for the Lions' defense this week when it comes to defending the tight end position as they head to Oakland to face their talented tight end Darren Waller.
Detroit’s already faced the likes of Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and Evan Engram at the position.
Waller has started hot through Oakland’s first seven games. He had a 13-catch, 134-yard performance Week 3 vs. Minnesota and had seven catches, 126 yards and two touchdowns Week 7 in Green Bay.
“I mean, I can’t catch a break on these tight ends right now,” Patricia joked this week. “Waller is very big, very long, very fast. This guy is a tremendous athlete. You see him make some really amazing catches and he pushes vertical into the defense.
“He’s been a guy that has produced. It’s going to be a big challenge for us. Certainly whatever we try to do to defend what they do offensively, I think he’s going to be a big part of it.”
Detroit could also be without their best tight end defender this year, safety Tracy Walker, who missed his second straight practice Thursday with a knee injury.
On the year, Waller has 46 catches for 496 yards and has three touchdowns in Oakland’s last two games.
The Lions have allowed 35 receptions for 445 yards and two scores to tight ends this year, which isn’t too bad, roughly 64 yards on average per game to the position.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford woke up sick Sunday morning and still put together a terrific 342-yard, three touchdown performance guiding Detroit to a 31-26 win over the Giants.
Stafford’s an iron man at the position, starting 135 consecutive games. He wasn’t going to miss his weekly Wednesday press conference this week either, despite significantly losing his voice.
“I started feeling not so good before the game on Sunday and I’ve just kind of been hanging on, but it should be good by next Sunday,” Stafford said. “Don’t worry about it.”
How might it affect Sunday’s game if Stafford doesn’t have his full voice back? It’s at least good timing that it comes with the Lions playing on the road. They always anticipate the noise when they’re on offense anyway, and have silent counts and hand signals in place.
Stafford didn’t seem too concerned about it, even joking that he just had to yell louder.
“We just adapted out there in practice (Wednesday) and I was full go, and it was fine,” he said. “So we made it work.”