The Detroit Lions Defense has put the team on it’s back in 2014


The Detroit Lions defense is no fluke. Behind tremendous teamwork and a great Teryl Austin game plan, the dominate squad continues to improve. Last week, in the 17-3 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense forced three turnovers. They allowed the Minnesota offense only 212 total yards all game, and also had an impressive seven different players combine to sack rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater eight times.

But that’s not all.

Check out these impressive tidbits via Detroit Lions beat writer, Tim Twentyman:

“We know we can keep it up, I think we’ve been talking about this since OTAs. It’s not new to us, but it takes going out and executing and that’s what we’re doing.” – Cornerback, Rashean Mathis

Those are truthfully some mind-blowing statistics.

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead has been filling in for the injured Stephen Tulloch on the Detroit Lions defense, and has played extremely well.

Last Sunday, Whitehead gave his best DeAndre Levy impersonation intercepting not one, but two passes from the rookie Bridgewater. They were the first two INT of the linebackers career. After the game Whitehead was asked if he’s ever been a part of a performance like the one the Detroit Lions defense put on Sunday.

"“Never,” he said. “The one word to describe our front four is dominant. We were able to impose our will on them today.”"

One thing that Whitehead was right about is the Lions front four because dominant, they are.

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Detroit Lions place DT Alim McNeill on IR amid flurry of roster moves
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  • From Ndamukong Suh to Ziggy Ansah, to George Johnson, they all continue to make their presence felt on the field. Suh managed to break the Lions all-time sacks record with his 2.0 sacks against the Vikings, a mark that was previously held by Shaun Rodgers. He now has 30.5 sacks in his career.

    Suh however, gave much of the credit to his cohort —  defensive end Ziggy Ansah. Ansah had a career day in Minnesota racking up 2.5 sacks, three tackles for a loss, three quarterback hits, and a forced fumble too. His pressure from the outside is what enabled Suh to break through up the middle and get into the Vikings backfield.

    "“Ziggy is a dominant force in his own (right) and not a lot of people know you’re at your best when your opposite defensive end is playing well and Ziggy’s been playing well,” Suh said."

    It’s fair to say, the Detroit Lions defense has put this team on it’s back in 2014.

    Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    I say that because the Lions offense has struggled while the defense has flourished.

    Expectations were high upon Jim Caldwell’s arrival in the Motor City. Coach Caldwell had a repertoire for developing superstar quarterbacks, having worked closely with the great Peyton Manning for a handful of years.

    Matthew Stafford had also had his fair share of success prior to his new coaches arrival. The Detroit Lions signal caller had thrown for at least 4,600 yards in all three of his full seasons with the Lions, including a 5,038-yard campaign in 2011. Things got off to a fast start in week one, with two Stafford to Calvin Johnson connections before halftime, however since things have been average at best.

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    Stafford has surpassed 300 yards in only one game in 2014, although his completion rate of 62.3 percent is the second-highest of his career, and he’s thrown only four interceptions.

    On Sunday Stafford led the Lions offense to a total of 255 yards gained, and though it was certainly a positive to have no turnovers, it was ultimately an underwhelming performance compared to what he Detroit fans are used to seeing.

    Why is that?

    Some blame the lack of Megatron on the field, though I believe pass protection, or the lack thereof is probably a more suitable culprit.

    Either way, if you didn’t follow this team, you would probably guess that the lackluster offense and injuries at key positions would be too much to overcome. That is not the case however, and the Detroit Lions defense deserves the credit.

    "”I’ve been places where we had a great offense and maybe our defense statistically didn’t look so good, but the complementary work that they did together was outstanding and it led to wins,” Caldwell said. ”If you can play defense and you’re good and solid at special teams you’re always going to be in the game.”"

    It will be interesting to see how the Detroit Lions defense handles their next two games. This week they host Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at Ford Field. The following week they head overseas to London, England to take on the Atlanta Falcons. Two big games, with big implications.

    Can the offensive line protect their franchise quarterback? Can Matt Prater end the kicking misery plaguing the Motor City in 2014? Will the defense continue it’s dominance against two of the NFL’s best QB’s?

    I have a feeling they are up to the task!