NOTEBOOK: Offensive line holds up despite having to shuffle players

For the first time all season, the Lions had their full complement of offensive linemen healthy and active Sunday in Jacksonville, but unfortunately it didn't last for long.

Detroit was forced to shuffle around players upfront after tackle Tyrell Crosby and right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai left the game and did not return due to dehydration. The temperature in Jacksonville Sunday was around 80 degrees.

Vaitai started at right guard but shifted to right tackle when Crosby went out. Joe Dahl, who came off injured reserve (groin) Saturday took over at right guard. When Vaitai left the game, Matt Nelson came in at right tackle. Veteran Oday Aboushi also played some guard for Detroit in the first half.

Despite the patchwork offensive line on the day, Detroit gained 403 total yards, including 180 on the ground, and quarterback Matthew Stafford wasn't sacked at all as the Lions beat the Jaguars 34-16.

"I don't know if I've been in a game where we played all eight offensive linemen," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said after the game. "So that was a little bit unique. I thought that was great by those guys just being prepared, right.

"Great lesson for us, I think our guys do a phenomenal job of this every single week just being ready to go. You never know when your number is going to be called and when it gets called you have to go out there and perform really well. I thought they did."


The Lions only sacked Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew once on the official stat sheet, but the Jaguars signal caller was under pressure a lot during the course of the afternoon as the Lions dialed up the pressure and some of their blitz packages.

Detroit recorded four quarterback hits and two tackles for loss, and intercepted Minshew once (safety Duron Harmon). When the pressure numbers are released by the analytic sites Sunday night and Monday, it's probably a safe bet those totals will be one of the best for the Lions' defense through their first five games.

The sack on Minshew was a big one from defensive end Trey Flowers where he stripped the ball from Minshew and it was recovered by defensive end Romeo Okwara in Lions' territory.

"If they can run the ball, why would they pass it," Flowers said after the game of how the Lions holding Jacksonville to just 44 rushing yards allowed them to dial up the pressure.

"When we got them one dimensional by stopping the run, now we can pin our ears back as a defensive front, dial a lot of different things up. We didn't get the sack numbers today, but just having (Minshew) focus on the rush and throwing it faster than he wanted to throw it, that's still affecting the quarterback."


  • The 34 points scored by the Lions Sunday are the most since Matt Patricia took over as head coach before the start of the 2018 season.
  • Second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson caught his team-leading third touchdown grab of the season. Hockenson has three touchdowns to wide receiver Kenny Golladay's two.

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