DENVER – Cornerback Jerry Jacobs went from undrafted rookie just trying to make the team in the summer to reliable starter for the Lions. He's been one of the good storylines for the Lions so far this season.
It was hard to watch Jacobs laying on the grass early in Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos clutching his left knee after it bent awkwardly being run into as he tried to help clean up a tackle early in the first quarter.
Jacobs put little weight on the leg as he was helped off the field by trainers, and was eventually carted back to the Lions locker room after spending some time in the medical tent. The Lions immediately ruled him out for the rest of the game, and head coach Dan Campbell said after the game the injury didn't look too good, but they'd know more Monday.
"You've got to give credit to our scouting department of bringing a guy like that in," Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said of Jacobs this week. "That was a guy that we looked at together as a player that we wanted. I mean, we all know, I don't care if it's a first-round pick to a seventh-round pick to a free agent, you never know what you're going to get until you get the guy in.
"We knew that we had something. We didn't know he was going to be who he is right now, but again, there is a long way for that player to go. So, you've got to be excited to have a player like that, that's playing as well as he is. He's still young and he has a lot more to learn. We're excited about that player."
Football doesn't seem fair sometimes when a talented young player like Jacobs, who's done everything right to get to this point, suffers what appears to be a serious knee injury.
View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Denver Broncos Week 14 game at Empower Field on Sunday, Dec. 12 in Denver, CO.
Campbell certainly wasn't happy with the way his defense played Sunday in allowing 38 points, especially the way they played against the run, but after the game he seemed more disappointed in the way his offense wasn't able to respond in the second half to keep them more in the game in an eventual 38-10 loss.
"Offensively, man, we need to step up," Campbell said after the game. "We didn't do that. We turned the ball over. Look, we were in that game now. We're in the game, we come out after halftime and turn the ball over. In the third quarter ... get the momentum back and we did just the opposite. We turn it over and they score.
"Offensively, we could never give this team life again and I felt like that's where we needed to be really good."
Detroit fumbled on their first possession of the second half trailing 17-10. That led to a Broncos touchdown. The offense then failed on two second-half fourth-down tries, one deep on their side of the field and another on the doorstep of the Broncos' end zone. A Jared Goff interception midway through the fourth quarter was the fourth turnover of the game for the offense.
The Broncos played Sunday with heavy hearts after the news that former Pro Bowl wide receiver Demaryius Thomas'passed away Thursday night due to a medical issue at just 33 years old.
Denver paid tribute to Thomas pregame with a video and moment of silence. They also painted Thomas' number 88 on the field and had a memorial outside of the stadium. They opened the game with just 10 players on the field on offense and ran out the play clock to draw a delay of game with Thomas' number on the scoreboard. The Broncos informed Campbell of their plans on Saturday, and he declined the penalty.
"That was for him," Campbell said. "That was for DT. That's who I did that for."
The Broncos defended six passes in the game, with a number of those coming from their defensive line on balls batted at the line of scrimmage. Goff couldn't remember ever having so many ball batted at the line of scrimmage in a game before Sunday.
"There was a lot of them," Goff said. "That's just their defense doing a good job, their D-line getting their hands up."