FIRST DOWN: WILLIAMS HAT TRICK
If there was a list of the most dependable and consistent players for the Detroit Lions through 10 games of the 2022 season, veteran running back Jamaal Williams would be at the top.
Williams has been ready and available each and every week for the Lions, and he's been the catalyst for a rushing attack that had another terrific performance Sunday in Detroit's 31-18 win on the road over the New York Giants.
Williams rushed 17 times for 64 yards and recorded touchdown runs of four yards, one yard and one yard to give him 12 rushing touchdowns on the season, which currently leads the NFL.
"Really, I just feel like I'm doing my job," Williams said after the game. "I just want to come in here and do my job at the highest level possibly and I really just want to keep influencing people with my play. I just want to keep going. I really just want to see my team win."
Detroit is winning, three straight now, and Williams' steady play has been one of the reasons why. Quarterback Jared Goff said after the game it's getting to a point where Williams is just about as automatic as it comes scoring touchdowns in the goal-to-go situations.
Williams is the first Lions running back with 12 rushing touchdowns in a season since Barry Sanders in 1997. He now has five games with multiple rushing touchdowns this year, joining Sanders as the only two running backs in franchise history with five two-touchdown games in a season.
Detroit rushed for 160 yards in the game and had four rushing touchdowns.
SECOND DOWN: ROOKIE PICKS
Rookie safety Kerby Joseph feels like the football is finding him, not the other way around.
The Lions' third-round pick out of Illinois recorded his third interception of the season in the third quarter at the Lions' 21-yard line on a critical 4th and 5 play as New York tried to mount a second-half comeback.
Joseph's interception was one of three takeaways on the afternoon for the Lions. Fellow rookie Aidan Hutchinson got his second interception of the season on a terrific play where he dropped into coverage. Hutchinson also recovered a fumble caused by cornerback Will Harris to help ice the game for Detroit in the fourth quarter.
That's now seven takeaways for the Lions during their current three-game win streak, and six of them belong to Hutchinson and Joseph.
"I feel like it's everything AG (defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) preaches about," Joseph said. "The key to a good defense is turnovers. I felt like this was a great team win on both sides of the ball."
Joseph said turnovers can be contagious, and once one guy gets them on defense everyone starts to want them.
"When you see your boys making plays, it's like, 'Yeah, I want to make a play too,'" he said. "It just helps you keep going."
The Lions have to feel good about where these two young rookies are at in their development 10 games into their NFL careers. Both Hutchinson and Joseph have become legitimate playmakers for this defense. That bodes well for now and the future.
THIRD DOWN: STOPPING BARKLEY
Giants running back Saquon Barkley entered Sunday's game against the Lions leading the NFL in rushing with 931 rushing yards and second with 1,128 total scrimmage yards.
The Lions knew if they had any shot of winning on the road Sunday, they couldn't let Barkley go off.
Barkley rushed 15 times for 22 yards, which is an average of just 1.5 yards per carry. His longest run on the afternoon was just four yards.
"We knew he was the key," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said of stopping Barkley. "We could not let him get going and we did that. That was huge because everything did run through him, so that was the main focus for our defense this week and they performed it perfectly."
The Lions turned the Giants' offense into a throwing team, which isn't their strength, hence the three turnovers. New York came into the game averaging nearly 165 yards on the ground. They were held to just 89 Sunday.
Kudos to the Lions defensive coaches for having a good plan to contain Barkley and to the players on that side of the ball for executing the plan to perfection.
FOURTH DOWN: BIG MAC ATTACK
A lot of what an interior defensive lineman like Alim McNeill does during the course of a game is the dirty work that goes unnoticed in the stat book. Taking on blocks and allowing others to make plays just goes with the territory.
That's why it was nice to see McNeill show up on the stat sheet in a big way Sunday.
McNeill recorded four tackles, three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a sack. Big time performance from the second-year lineman.
"For him to be able to make the TFL's today and affect the quarterback like he did, that was great to see," Campbell said.
McNeill was just happy he could contribute to another Lions win.
"It was nothing special," McNeill said. "Doing my job, really. Seeing a couple things and being able to react quick. I wasn't doing anything other than doing my job. Feels good to make a couple plays and help the team win."