Five things we learned about the Lions in Sunday’s 31-14 win over the Jaguars at Jacksonville.
1. He is Megatron. The first six balls that were targeted to Calvin Johnson were caught. He was questionable to play with a wonky knee and he was nothing short of amazing with 111 receiving yards in the first half and 129 overall. He said last week he didn’t want to be just a decoy, he wanted the ball in his hand. On Sunday he made it happen.
2. Matthew Stafford is all of that. His inconsistency this season has been a head-scratcher with routine slow starts, but all along he’s moved the ball. The Lions were the second ranked NFL offense heading into Jacksonville. Against the Jaguars he looked like the 2011 Stafford. Of course, he got some help from running backs Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell who opened up the passing game and scored all four rushing touchdowns.
3. Mikel Leshoure was worth the wait. He didn’t play in his rookie season after tearing his Achilles in camp and then he was suspended for the first two games. He’s looking better each week. He’s a force on the field. And he did something in the first half — scored three rushing touchdowns — that even Barry Sanders never did. In fact, Leshoure was the first Lion to do so.
4. The secondary is deeper than we thought. Rookie cornerback Jonte Green has improved weekly as has safety Ricardo Silva. Due to injuries, they’ve gotten opportunities and made the most of them. Louis Delmas is definitely missed — he’s the leader of the defense — but defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham hinted on Friday that he doesn’t expect Delmas to be out too long. They’ve lost Bill Bentley for the season and Amari Spievey has been slow to come back from a concussion. Still they played well against the Jaguars. And, yes, the Jaguars had the NFL’s worst offense, but it would have been easy for the Lions to not take them seriously and that didn’t happen.
5. The playoffs are a possibility. If the Lions (4-4) beat the Vikings (5-4) next Sunday at Minneapolis, the Lions will move up to third in the NFC North. The schedule favors Detroit which plays five of its last eight games at home. The players actually like playing on the road and have found success there. But there’s nothing like home-cooking when chasing a playoff berth.