| Detroit Free Press
Early NFL headlines: Chiefs win AFC west division
Check out some early NFL headlines from week 14.
QB Matthew Stafford: I do not know the extent of Stafford’s rib injury, whether it will cause him to miss any or all of the Lions’ final three games, and what that might mean for his future in Detroit. But Stafford had the type of performance Sunday that will define his Lions career. He played an all-around good game, throwing for 244 yards and a touchdown against probably the best team in the NFC. He got hurt scrambling for a first down and stayed briefly in the game to finish a touchdown drive. But in the end, it was not enough, as the Lions could not stop Green Bay’s high-powered offense.
KR Jamal Agnew: Agnew had been quiet in the return department all season, but he broke a 71-yard kick return in the fourth quarter after the Lions fell behind by 10. Teams have generally opted to kick away from Agnew this season, and for good reason. But the pending free agent reminded everyone Sunday just how dangerous he is in the open field.
RB D’Andre Swift: Swift did not do anything spectacular Sunday, gaining 50 yards from scrimmage on 11 touches. But playing his first game in nearly a month, he gave everyone a reminder of just how versatile he is. The rookie showed patience waiting for his blockers on a 17-yard screen pass, he scored a touchdown in short-yardage and he was clearly more explosive than the Lions’ other options in the backfield, Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Peterson.
CB Amani Oruwariye: Oruwariye has been the Lions’ best cornerback this season, but he had a forgettable day Sunday. The second-year cornerback got beat for Green Bay’s first two touchdowns. His mistimed his jump on a back-shoulder pass to Davante Adams, and Adams took it 56 yards to the end zone. Then he gave up another back-shoulder throw to Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a play that he had good coverage. He also drew a defensive holding penalty on third-and-7 in the third quarter that gave the Packers a first down.
LB Jahlani Tavai: Asked last week about Tavai’s struggles, Lions linebackers coach Tyrone McKenzie insisted Tavai’s “future’s bright like everybody else.” It’s hard to make that case Sunday, as the second-year linebacker got beat for a touchdown catch by Robert Tonyan and was slow reacting on a third-and-12 completion to Valdes-Scantling. With new coaches and likely a new defensive system coming in 2021, Tavai might be down to his final few games as a Lion.
Interim coach Darrell Bevell: Bevell and his staff deserve credit for keeping the Sunday’s game close, especially given how shorthanded they are on defense — with no Trey Flowers, Desmond Trufant, Jeff Okudah or Everson Griffen. But the truth of the matter is, the Lions likely need to make the playoffs for Bevell to get real consideration for the full-time job. They’re still mathematically alive, and clearly responding to Bevell. But one more loss could doom his chances for good.