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NOTEBOOK: O-line giving Stafford time in pocket

In this week's Stats Pack article, we profiled the current streak of five straight games in which quarterback Matthew Stafford has finished with a passer rating north of 100.0.

There are a lot of reasons why Stafford is playing so well right now. The play of the five guys in front of him is part of the equation.

Stafford has enjoyed some of the best protection of his career over the first six games of the season. He's being pressured on just 28.5 percent of his drop backs this year, per Pro Football Focus statistics, which is the lowest percentage for Stafford in the last six years. It's even better than in 2013, when he was sacked just 23 times all season.

"I think we're doing a really good job," Stafford said of the limited pressure he's facing. "Obviously running the ball is going to help. I think we do a good job of getting the ball out quick. Mixing in the play actions. I don't think we hold the ball forever as an offense."

Stafford's been sacked just 10 times this season, the third lowest total for any quarterback in the league with at least 200 pass attempts.

"That's a quarterbacks best friend," Stafford said of the time he's being afforded in the pocket early this season. "Being able to evaluate and get through reads and not have to throw the ball faster than you want to."

Health upfront has been one of the big keys to success for the Lions' offense this season. Only right guard T.J. Lang has missed snaps this season. Left tackle Taylor Decker, left guard Frank Ragnow, center Graham Glasgow and right tackle Rick Wagner have played every one of the team's 400 snaps on offense.

"It's been big," Stafford said. "That group probably has to communicate as a position group more so than any other group on the field at any time. The more consistent that voice can be out there for them the better."

That's a huge contrast to last year, when a revolving door upfront played a factor in Stafford having to endure the most sacks of his career (46).

The Lions are healthy upfront and playing well and that's been a big key to both Stafford and this offense's success as a whole early on this season.


Second-year cornerback Teez Tabor played 54 of Detroit's 56 defensive snaps last week in Miami. With Jamal Agnew suffering a knee injury the week prior, Tabor started the game on the outside opposite Darius Slay with Nevin Lawson sliding inside.

Tabor held his own. He made a nice tackle on a third-down play early in the game to prevent a conversion. He was also in position on a Danny Amendola touchdown in the second half, but didn't make the play.

"He's working extremely hard. I love his approach and his commitment to the preparation," Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni said of Tabor this week.

"I thought that he had some good plays. I thought he played physical. I thought he tackled well. (He) got himself in position to make that play on (Danny) Amendola. Amendola made a great catch, he's an outstanding receiver. But overall, very pleased with how he's playing."

Tabor finished the game with six tackles and allowed five receptions. He kept things in front of him and tackled well, which was obviously a big part of the game plan against Miami's run-after-the-catch threats at the receiver position.

"I think he does a good job of preparing each week," head coach Matt Patricia said of Tabor. "I thought he did a real good job of tackling and that was one of the biggest components of this game last week for us was being able to tackle these guys well.

"Somebody we know we can trust and rely on to push through the game plan. Mentally he prepares himself each week to kind of handle those roles and those situations that come up."

We'll see if Tabor is tasked with a big load on defense again this week against Seattle, and if he continues to improve.


Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright and tight end Ed Dickson are expected to make their season debuts Sunday against the Lions in Detroit.

On Wednesday, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said he's anticipating that both Wright and Dickson will play as long as they don't suffer any setbacks later in the week.

Wright hasn't played this season after suffering a setback from arthroscopic knee surgery in August. He's recorded more than 100 tackles in four straight seasons manning the weakside linebacker spot in Seattle's defense.

"He brings a lot to the team," middle linebacker Bobby Wagner told of Wright. "Has so much experience, extremely, extremely smart football player, very instinctive. We've been playing together for seven years, so we have communication that can't be replicated, and he makes plays."

The last time Dickson played at Ford Field was last season as a member of the Carolina Panthers. He caught five passes for 175 yards.


Since 2012, including the playoffs, Seattle is 49-0 when leading by four or more points at halftime.

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