LANDOVER, Md. – When cornerback Rashaan Melvin popped up on Detroit's injury report late this week with a rib injury, there was a possibility Detroit would rely on the rookie Amani Oruwariye Sunday against the Redskins.
That turned out to be the case when Melvin was listed as inactive 90 minutes before kickoff after going through a pregame workout. After playing in just nine snaps on defense last week, Oruwariye started Sunday against the Redskins. The rookie fifth-round pick held his own.
He earned a reputation at Penn State as a bit of a ball hawk, intercepting seven passes and defending 20 in his last two seasons. It took just one start for Oruwariye show off those ball skills.
He notched his first career interception in the fourth quarter as he stepped in front of Redskins wide receiver Kelvin Harmon and wrestled the ball from him as both players went to the ground. He's the first rookie to record an interception for the Lions since Jonte Green did it in 2012.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia said Oruwariye was working himself into more of a role before a knee injury got him sidetracked earlier this year. He started the season as a healthy inactive and has worked himself into a role.
"Slowly been building back into some of the packages that we were doing," Patricia said of Oruwariye after Sunday's 19-16 loss to the Redskins. "Had confidence in him this week that we felt good about his assignment in those situations and really a lot of those guys – Mike Ford and Amani – are ready to go based on what happens during the game.
"Wound up being a situation real late in the week where we had to make a switch because of Rashaan and I just felt (Oruwariye) was prepared."
Detroit had six starters out Sunday due to injury, and Oruwariye is just one of a number of young players who had to jump into bigger roles. Running back Bo Scarbrough and defensive end Austin Bryant are a couple others.
I wouldn't be surprised if we continue see the young players being worked into the game, even when the starters return from injury.
Wide receiver Marvin Hall has been a pretty nice free-agent find for the Lions this season. He's brought some big-play potential to Detroit's offense as a fourth receiver. His speed has sparked some big plays down the field, as he came into Sunday's game averaging 40.0 yards per reception.
Hall caught one pass Sunday for 21 yards, and also returned two punts for 16 yards, but he left the game with a foot injury and did not return. He was in a boot and on crutches in the locker room after the game.
The Lions don't have a fifth receiver on the 53-man roster, but they do have Travis Fulgham, Tom Kennedy and Chris Lacy on their practice squad. Detroit could be in a situation where they promote one of those players if Hall's injury keeps him out of game action, which is a quick turnaround for Detroit with a Thursday game this week.
- Devon Kennard is the first linebacker in team history to produce a season with at least 6.0 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries after recording a sack and forced fumble Sunday vs. the Redskins.
- Detroit rushed for 175 yards on 32 carries (5.5 average), which was their second highest performance on the ground this year (186 vs. Kansas City Week 4).
- The Lions had 12 giveaways all season long heading into Sunday, which ranked as the 11th fewest in the league. Their four Sunday (three interceptions and a lost fumble) were a key factor in the loss.