It was a sloppy game but the Detroit Lions eked out a 13-12 win over the Jaguars on Friday night. Here are five players who stood out:
1. Linebacker Tahir Whitehead got the start and made the most of it with three sacks and a team-high 10 tackles. Jim Caldwell said they thought he’d been playing like a top three linebacker so they gave him the opportunity. The fifth-round pick (2012) has played the last two seasons, but mostly on special teams where he has been a standout. He solidified his spot on 53-man roster with his showing Friday night.
2. Running back Reggie Bush has not lost a step even though he’s 29. On his 86-yard touchdown run he left several younger defensemen in his dust. He’s healthy and fresh — it shows. Two carries, 95 yards — not a bad night's work.
3. Defensive end George Johnson was credited with one sack, a tackle for a loss and a pair of quarterback hits. Always seemed to be in the middle of trouble for the quarterback. Lions have tough decisions to make at defensive end. Johnson made his case again on Friday night when he was on the field for 37 percent of the defensive snaps and 35 percent of special teams plays.
4. Wide receiver Ryan Broyles didn’t get into the game until late, but had three catches for a total of 44 yards in the drive that led to the one-yard touchdown run by George Winn. Broyles makes the difficult catch and then keeps going. Surprised he wasn’t involved in the game earlier.
5. Quarterback Matthew Stafford got off to a bit of a slow start, even Caldwell admitted that after the game. But then he went 9-for-9. We didn’t see all he could do in the passing game (it seems they were more focused on the run game), but Stafford seemed to make good decisions once he got rolling. Bush said when they went to the line on the play he ran 86 yards for the touchdown, Stafford had two options. Bush said he checked down to the best option (both plays were for Bush) which is why Bush was able to fly downfield.
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