It is too bad Sunday ended the way it did for rookie safety Kerby Joseph.
After recording 10 tackles, two interceptions – the first two of his career – and three defended passes, Joseph left the game in the fourth quarter after taking an inadvertent hit from teammate Jeff Okudah that snapped Joseph's head back awkwardly. He left the game to be evaluated for a concussion, and head coach Dan Campbell said after the game Joseph is in the NFL's concussion protocol.
Over the last three games, Joseph has turned into a takeaway machine.
Detroit's third-round pick out Illinois this offseason, Joseph has now created a takeaway in three straight contests. He forced fumbles recovered by teammates in Dallas two weeks ago and last week vs. Miami. Sunday it was two interceptions off Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers deep inside Lions territory that kept points off the board.
Green Bay had a first and goal at the Lions' 5-yard line when Rodgers had a pass intended for Allen Lazard tipped up in the air by Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes. Joseph went high up in the air to bring the ball down in the end zone for his first career interception. It was the first red-zone interception by Rodgers since Week 10 of last season.
Joseph also stepped in front of a deep Rodgers pass down the middle intended for tight end Robert Tonyan at the Lions' 3-yard line. It was Rodgers' third interception of the game, which tied a career high.
"The kid (Joseph) made a nice one down the middle," Rodgers said after the game.
Joseph also saved a touchdown in the third quarter by going up high and knocking the ball away from a deep Rodgers' pass intended for Samori Toure at the goal line.
The Lions came into Sunday tied with Washington for the second fewest takeaways in the NFL with just six. With two forced fumbles and now his first two career interceptions, Joseph is starting to earn a reputation as a ball hawk who knows how to find the football.
BARNES FLYING AROUND
Second-year linebacker Derrick Barnes had himself a game Sunday.
Lions linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard talked a couple weeks ago about Barnes and said he really liked the trajectory his young player was on. He had seen steady improvement from him every week.
Sunday, Barnes showed out.
He led the Lions with 12 tackles, notched a sack, had a tackle for loss, and tipped the ball that led to Joseph's first interception. He was all over the field.
"It feels better when you have a performance like that and also win, and I was telling myself no matter what happens I want to win a game because if we had that type of performance and you lose none of that matters," Barnes said after the game.
"And I would have told myself I could have did something better to help my team win. But we won and that's what's important."
With his second reception of the day Sunday, Lions second-year wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown passed Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson for the most receptions (126) by a Lion through their first two NFL seasons.
St. Brown was targeted nine times against the Packers and finished with four catches for 55 yards.