| Detroit Free Press
Breaking down where Detroit Lions go after deflating loss to Colts
Free Press sports writers Dave Birkett, Shawn Windsor assess the damage after the Detroit Lions’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Filmed Nov. 2, 2020.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
That’s not all.
Cook also caught two passes for 63 yards and another touchdown. That means he finished with 226 yards from scrimmage and four TDs.
The Packers simply had no answer for him. The question is: Will the Detroit Lions this week?
Oh, yeah, and the Lions will be without their best defensive lineman, Trey Flowers, who is on injured reserve. And they’ll also possibly be without a good rotational run defender in linebacker Jarrad Davis, who is on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
At least the Lions know what they’re up against in Cook, the NFL’s leader with 10 rushing touchdowns and the reigning NFC offensive player of the week.
“The guys is downhill, he’s fast,” defensive coordinator Cory Undlin said of Cook in a conference call Tuesday. “He makes quick decisions. He sticks his foot in the ground, gets vertical.
“Strong runner. You’re not sticking a hand out here and getting this guy on the ground. You’ve to go be able to get off blocks on all three levels and you’ve got to have everybody there to help get this guy on the round. Very dynamic.”
The Lions do have a little good news when it comes to their hopes of stopping Cook, whom they’ve done a good job containing in recent history. In five games between the teams, Cook has rushed for more than 100 yards once.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer also admitted in a conference call Wednesday that Cook’s 30 carries were partly due to poor weather in Green Bay. Quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has thrown 10 interceptions, only attempted 14 passes, and his lone touchdown pass came on Cook’s catch-and-run that went for 50 yards.
That’s where Lions defensive linemen Da’Shawn Hand and Everson Griffen, who is expected to debut for the Lions after last week’s trade with Dallas, should help stem the tide.
“I mean, he’s a great talent,” Hand said of Cook. “It’s the NFL. Definitely a flawless back, can cut, great vision. So we’ve got to be on our ‘A’ game.
“He’s explosive. He can find a hole out of nowhere, you know? Cross the field, he can bounce it out anywhere and he can hit the home run. He can hit a 70-yarder any down. So we’ve just got to stay on our P’s and Q’s.”
Hand hasn’t had much statistical success. But he, like Griffen, brings the kind of versatility the Lions will need to contain Cook while also putting pressure on Cousins.
“Yeah, I mean he’s been rushing the passer the last three weeks or more,” Undlin said of Hand. “Maybe you haven’t seen him out there as much, but D-Hand’s been part of the program since we kicked this thing off at the start.
“Obviously when you lose a guy like Trey, everybody’s got to step up. And I know we’ve got Ev coming in here, so he’s going to help with that. But everybody else has got to step up as well.“
Griffen took part in his first practice as a Lion on Wednesday. It remains to be seen how the Lions will use him in his first game against his longtime former team. But Undlin said that will get sorted out soon enough.
“Everybody’s role is going to change in the front,” Undlin said, “and as we get this thing settled down here with Ev and putting the package and the game plan together for this week. Not there yet, but we’re going to depend on D-Hand just like we’re going to depend on everybody else.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.