Detroit Lions: 3 unsung heroes from victory over the Arizona Cardinals

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions finally snapped their eleven game losing streak this past Sunday with a 26-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

On offense,  Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford was not the sharpest we’ve seen him, but he was efficient, took care of the ball, and led a tremendous final drive. Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson, Adrian Peterson, and even Jesse James had solid production in a diverse offensive attack.

On the other side of the ball, Jamie Collins led the way with a fantastic game. He was all over the field; snagging an interception, forcing one as a pass rusher, and causing issues for the Cardinals offense all day.

Duron Harmon also reeled in an interception and dropped another, and a first-round pick, Jeff Okudah, had 2 TFLs and collected his first career interception. Besides the big plays by the players above, here are some players crucial to the win despite not receiving huge recognition.

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Jonah Jackson

While the offensive line struggled for most of the game, Jonah Jackson played pretty well. The third-round pick, Jackson, has started every game up to this point. The first two games, he started at right guard, but due to Joe Dahl‘s injury, he flipped over to left guard. Despite the position switch, Jackson did not skip a beat performing well in both the run and pass game.

His solid presence has been crucial for the Lions as three different players have started at the other guard position. Without his steady play,  the offense could have been wholly neutralized due to poor offensive line play.

Romeo Okwara

The Lions’ pass rush looked semi-competent against the Cardinals, which is a vast improvement from past weeks. They were able to get a sack, harass Murray a few times, and prevent him from breaking off any huge scrambles; one of the biggest contributors for the Lions was Romeo Okwara.

He got the only sack of Murray after dominating the left tackle on a bull rush. In addition, he got Murray for a second sack and a safety; he wasn’t able to bring him down, but it forced a throwaway and ended the Cardinals drive. Even on Okudah’s interception, Okwara collapsed the pocket and forced a rollout. Okwara’s solid production, along with others, made the Lions’ defense look much more respectful.

Danny Shelton

The Lions’ run defense started 2020 exceptionally poor. The Bears were able to pick up 149 yards on the ground with a 5.3 yard per carry, and the Packers were able to rush for a ridiculous 259 yards on 7.4 yards per carry (via ESPN).

It is nearly impossible to win if the defense can’t stop the run at all like the Lions did the first couple weeks. The Lions still were not great in Week Three but were definitely stable holding up against the run. They were able to limit the Cardinals to only 109 yards on 4 yards a carry, which is a definite improvement.

A lot of this can be credited to their play up the middle. Danny Shelton had his best game of the season, clogging holes and eating up double teams in the middle. This was helpful to the linebackers who were able to stay clean and pursue running backs. Shelton needs to continue to eat up blocks to allow linebackers to stop running backs from gashing the Lions’ defense.

The Lions were able to get their first win of the season thanks to a pretty complete effort from the whole team and some mistakes made by the Cardinals.

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Without a ton of superstar talent, the Detroit Lions will need to continue capitalizing on the opponent’s mistakes and contributions from everyone on the roster. If the Lions can do this, they might have a chance to string together a few wins and turn themselves into playoff contenders.