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TIM AND MIKE: Week 14 observations

Trending up: Rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown became the first Lions rookie to record seven receptions in back-to-back games in franchise history after notching eight catches (on 11 targets) for 73 yards in the loss in Denver. Quarterback Jared Goff leaned on St. Brown with the team's two leading pass catchers – T.J. Hockenson and D'Andre Swift – not playing in this one due to injury. St. Brown doesn't make a lot of big plays, but he's proving to be a reliable target for Goff, and he's looking like the future at the slot position. – Tim Twentyman

Rookie debut: Running back Craig Reynolds was elevated from the practice squad to fill a need at running back. It didn't take long for him to make his presence felt. He broke away for a 35-yard gain on his first carry. – Mike O'Hara

DL struggles: For the fourth time this season, the Lions have allowed at least 184 rushing yards to an opponent. Detroit's lost all four of those contests. The Lions entered Sunday ranked 28th in rushing defense, allowing on average more than 131 yards per game on the ground. That's one area where the Lions need to make major gains this offseason. The hope is rookies Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike take big strides there heading into year two. Detroit also notched just one sack in Denver and had four quarterback hits. Not good enough all the way around. – Tim Twentyman

Aggressive approach: The Lions converted their 14th fourth down of the season on Sunday, the most in franchise history, but also failed on a couple big ones in the second half that cost them. The one up for the biggest debate would probably be the third-quarter failed attempt at their own 33-yard line down 24-10 at the time. Most coaches probably punt it there, but the Lions didn't look capable at the time of stopping Denver's offense, so I actually don't mind the call. Campbell said he was hoping his offense would step up, and unfortunately they were not up to the task. – Tim Twentyman

Adding up: The offense got rolling in the second quarter, and Goff's legs started it. He scrambled for 13 yards on third and eight. The next two plays resulted in a 13-yard catch by St. Brown and the 35-yard run by Reynolds. The possession ended in a TD pass to wide receiver Kalif Raymond to cut the Broncos' lead to 14-7. – Mike O'Hara

Middle pressure: The Lions were down to their third center Sunday with Ryan McCollum pressed into duty after backup Evan Brown was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the week. McCollum allowed a sack and was credited by Pro Football Focus with allowing as much pressure as the rest of Detroit's offensive line combined. Any quarterback will tell you the worst pressure they can face is right up the middle in their face. – Tim Twentyman

Hot and cold: The Lions had no first downs in the first and third quarters, and they were outscored 14-0 in both quarters. – Mike O'Hara

Nice production: Linebacker Josh Woods has earned playing time on defense over the last couple weeks with his solid play on special teams and in practice. He was pressed into a bigger role Sunday with Alex Anzalone leaving the game early with an ankle injury and with Jalen Reeves-Maybin not playing due to a shoulder injury.

Woods notched 13 tackles (10 solo), a quarterback hit and two tackles for loss against the Broncos. His 13 combined tackles are a single-game team high this season, and he's the first Lion to notch 13 tackles and two tackles for a loss in a game since DeAndre Levy on Oct. 6, 2013 against the Green Bay Packers. Expect to see more of him on defense moving forward. – Tim Twentyman

Third-down struggles continue: Detroit entered Sunday ranked last in the NFL converting on third down on offense (31.5 percent). They struggled again on third down in Denver, converting just 5 of 14 attempts (35.7). It's hard to be consistent offensively when averaging a first down just 30 percent of the time on third down. That puts a lot of pressure on the defense. – Tim Twentyman

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