Detroit Lions defense and rookie Jeff Okudah rebound in Arizona

It is nice to be able to enjoy a victory Monday once again.  The Detroit Lions are coming off of their first win of the season, edging the Arizona Cardinals 26-23 Sunday.

The Detroit Lions defense showed up to play Sunday in Arizona in what running back Adrian Peterson called a must-win situation.  It’s been a Matt Patricia led defense that gave up a three-score lead in Week One against the Bears, and they were torched for nearly 500 yards the following week in Green Bay.

I understand newly appointed defensive coordinator Cory Undlin calls the plays, but because the defense plays precisely the same way this year as they have in the past, I’ll continue to call it the Patricia led defense.  When being critical of Patricia, that is how I reference this group, so it is only fair to refer to them this way when they are being praised.

The Lions allowed 377 total yards to the high-flying Kliff Kingsbury designed offense led by Kyler Murray.  Despite playing without their two-top cornerbacks, it was DeAndre Hopkins doing most of the damage reeling in ten passes totaling just shy of 150 yards.

The good news, no one else eclipsed the 50 receiving yard mark, although Andy Isabella caught two touchdown passes.

It was nice to see the Detroit Lions create some sort of pressure on the quarterback, although they only got Murray down to the turf once.  Romeo Okwara recorded the teams’ lone sack, but pressure forced Murray to throw three interceptions.

Safety Duron Harmon came away with an interception on Arizona’s opening drive.  It was an overthrown football that glanced off of tight end Dan Arnold’s hands, making for an easy takeaway for Harmon.  The play was really made by linebacker Jamie Collins who applied the pressure on Murray.  Collins played spectacular Sunday, leading the team with six tackles and also came away with an interception of his own.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Collins had been the best linebacker in coverage a year ago, producing nearly a 75 overall grade.  Collins flashed that ability Sunday, along with providing us with a glimpse of the 77.7 pass-rush rating he manufactured in 2019.

Rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah rebounded from a horrible professional debut in Green Bay to make his first career interception along with creating an impressive tackle on Hopkins behind the line of scrimmage.  Murray did juke Okudah off of the earth on a naked bootleg en route to a rushing touchdown, but I’m not sure there is a human on the planet that makes that tackle.

As much as I bash Patricia’s ‘bend, don’t break’ defense, I will give credit where credit is due.  This unit is the reason the Detroit Lions upset the Cardinals in Week Three.  Hopefully, starting corner, Desmond Trufant is ready to return next week against New Orleans.

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Let’s enjoy this victory for a day or two.