Lions-Seahawks Final Thoughts: Michael Roberts adding a tight end to the offensive puzzle; Snacks Harrison trade comparisons (not a trick question, but the answer might be); fullback Nick Bellore's memory of him as teammates with the Jets; misleading sack totals for Seahawks QB Russell Willson and Random Thoughts – Kerryon Johnson's workload, a challenge for the Lions' offense, a big week in the NFC North and sticking with my pick:
Michael Roberts wasn't hiding in plain sight just waiting to be discovered as the tight end who could be a big-play addition to a Lions offense that has been improving from week to week.
Roberts has largely been a player with untapped potential since the Lions drafted him in the fourth round out of Toledo a year ago.
Potential became production in last week's road victory over the Dolphins. Roberts had three catches for 48 yards and two touchdowns – a 15-yard catch in the first quarter, and a four-yard catch in the third.
It was the first time this season that a tight end was a central part of the offense. It showed how potent the offense can be with all phases functioning at a high level – running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line and a faultless performance by quarterback Matthew Stafford.
"It felt good having Mike Rob out there making some big plays," said wide receiver Golden Tate. "It's definitely going to make it easier for us It's one more guy you have to game plan for.
"We have the pieces. In the NFL, you've got to take it week by week. We just have to be consistent like that."
It's been a long, slow process for Roberts to become a significant part of the offense. He had four catches as a rookie, and just one before Sunday's game that also went for a touchdown in a Week 2 loss to the 49ers.
Roberts had missed the previous three games with a knee injury before his performance against the Dolphins.
Despite his modest stats – eight catches in two seasons – Roberts has learned that Stafford will throw the ball to whoever gets open.
"You get open, you get the ball," Roberts said. "You work in practice, you make that commitment in practice, it usually makes that connection in the game.
"When you have your opportunities in practice, when your number is called, it's just as important as the game. You'll never make it to the game without those practice reps."
Snacks Harrison, trade comparison: There is no comparison, not that it matters. How he performs is all that counts.
Nothing in recent memory comes close in terms of adding a player in a trade during the season.
Players such as guard Rob Sims, backup quarterback Shaun Hill and tight end Tony Scheffler were quality additions acquired in offseason deals. Offensive tackle Greg Robinson was acquired during minicamp last season after Taylor Decker went out with a shoulder injury.
And players have been traded away – Roy Williams to Dallas in 2008, linebacker Kyle Van Noy during the 2016 season, and guard Laken Tomlinson late last offseason.
One other thing stands out on the Harrison trade: There is absolutely no downside or consequence. None.
Nick Bellore's view: Bellore has been converted to a fulltime fullback this year, but he was a linebacker when his career overlapped with Harrison's for three seasons (2012-14) when both were with the Jets.
"I wouldn't want to block him now," Bellore joked. "It's fun playing linebacker behind him. You've got to get two guys (blockers) on him. He can do stuff you don't think he can do. He's a great player."
Bellore expects Harrison to contribute in a hurry.
"He picks up things so fast," Bellore said. "We'll get him rolling."
Russell Wilson sack stats: The overall stats – 19 sacks allowed in Seattle's first six games – say Wilson's an inviting target for the Lions' pass rush. The breakdown, as follows, says otherwise:
First two games: 12 sacks allowed on 81 drop backs – passes attempted plus sacks – with six each in road losses to the Broncos and Bears.
Last four games: Seven sacks allowed in 103 drop backs – with two each against the Cowboys, Cardinals and Rams and one against the Raiders.
Bottom line: Wilson's sack totals are front loaded to such a degree that the overall totals are meaningless. He was sacked once in every 6.75 drop backs in the first two games compared to once in every 14.7 the last four.
Don't expect an open path to the quarterback, with Wilson playing behind an improved offensive line.
On Kerryon Johnson's workload: What the Lions' rookie running back got last week against Miami should be the standard for most games – 19 carries for 158 yards, two catches for 21 more yards, a total of 21 touches. But that doesn't mean he wasn't used right in previous games. The Lions faced deficits in losses to the Jets, 49ers and Cowboys that forced them to pass in the second half.
On the NFC North: All four teams are under pressure to keep pace this week because of their won-loss records – Vikings (4-2-1), Packers (3-2-1) and the Lions and Bears, both at 3-3. It's the only division in the league that doesn't have a team under .500.
Lions' offense, score: The Lions haven't scored an offensive touchdown in losing their last two games to the Seahawks – 13-6 in the 2015 regular season, 26-6 in the 2016 season wild card playoff. If they don't score touchdowns today, they won't win. Simple as that.
Sticking with my pick: Obviously, I think the Lions will find the end zone. With the tight end emerging as a threat, there are playmakers across the board, and the offensive line is gelling fast. The defense has gotten an important upgrade with the addition of Harrison. Expect a close game – and a good ending for the Lions with the old heroes in attendance.
Pick: Lions 27, Seahawks 26.