Detroit Lions Stock Watch: 3 players trending upwards after Week Three

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions went into Arizona Sunday and upset the Cardinals 26-23, ending an 11-game losing skid.

Entering Sunday’s contest with the Arizona Cardinals, many, including starting running back Adrian Peterson, deemed it a must-win game for the Detroit Lions after an 0-2 start.

It wasn’t a huge shock that the Lions beat Arizona despite going into the game as an underdog; it was shocking Detroit got it done with their defense leading the way.

Usually, when the Detroit Lions win a football game, the offense is playing at an elite level.  This time, it was Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense sputtering to the finish line, while the defense led by Jamie Collins produced three turnovers.

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Detroit recorded just one sack but got timely interceptions from Duron Harmon, Jeff Okudah, and Collins.

After a ‘grind it out’ type of win that was capped off by a Matt Prater walk-off, game-ending field goal, his fourth of the day, I take a look at three players trending upwards heading into week four of the regular season.

LT Taylor Decker

First on the docket, left tackle Taylor Decker.  Sometimes after a player cashes in on a new contract, they become very comfortable and tend to relax some, leading to said player underperforming.

That is not the case with Decker.

After a slow start in 2019, he was particularly playing atrocious in week one in Arizona. Later finding out he’d been battling a serious lower-back injury that cost him to miss some time, Decker rebounded down the stretch for the Lions.  Pro Football Focus (PFF) had Decker ranked as the sixth-best tackle in all of football the final six weeks of the regular season in ’19, which undoubtedly led to his lucrative offseason extension that works out to a four-year $60 million in new money.

Decker got some redemption Sunday in Arizona, recording a stellar 84.3 overall grade.  Decker produced an elite 94.2 run-blocking mark Sunday.  He did allow two pressures on 66 snaps.

So far, Decker has produced a career-best 82.6 grade by PFF through the first three games of the season, a good sign for Detroit moving forward.

Decker is proving to be money well spent.

LB Jamie Collins

Collins provided the Detroit Lions with precisely what they were expecting from the veteran linebacker in Week Three’s victory.

Collins was ejected in week one of the season after oddly making contact with an official. He gently head-butted the referee, trying to demonstrate the ball-carrier illegally, lowering the crown of his helmet as David Montgomery finished his runs.

After playing just 19 snaps against Chicago, the veteran leader returned in Green Bay playing 56 defensive snaps, recording a sack, four tackles and allowed only 16 yards receiving on two targets. Collins produced an awful 43.3 rating in a limited week one, a 64 mark in week two but exploded with an elite 92.1 rating in Arizona.

Collins was in on seven tackles, made an incredible interception on his lone target while covering Larry Fitzgerald, and forced an errant pass from Murray that resulted in a Harmon interception on Arizona’s opening drive.

CB Amani Oruwariye

I don’t feel as though I talk about the second-year corner, Amani Oruwarye, enough.

Oruwarye earned the starting corner role opposite veteran Desmond Trufant, when many, myself included, expected the third overall pick Jeff Okudah to be a plug-and-play player.

You can never have enough capable cornerbacks rostered, and that’s proven right early-on again in 2020.  Trufant and Justin Coleman, the teams’ top two corners, are both injured, leaving Okudah to take his lumps, but he’s shown progress from his first start to his second.

It’s been Oruwariye proving he has the makings of a reliable starting corner moving forward.  After an up and down rookie season, Oruwariye has performed well all things considered thus far in 2020.

Oruwaruye earned himself a respectable 67.7 mark versus the Cardinals, after a 64.8 mark against Chicago and 53.4 in Green Bay.

The Cardinals opting to pick on Okudah who has allowed 200 receiving yards over his first two starts, did throw towards Oruwarye six times, completing just two passes totaling 24 yards.  That after only being targeted three times by Aaron Rodgers for 20 yards a week prior.

Next. Lions defense and rookie Jeff Okudah rebound in Arizona. dark

The young corner is holding his own; he’s defended one pass and has yet to allow a touchdown.  After producing an excellent 72.3 coverage grade Sunday, by far the best of the season, he’s quickly trending in the right direction.