On top of those two blows, the team’s top wideout, Tyrell Williams, is in concussion protocol after absorbing a big hit in the season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Williams was running a go route from the left slot in the third quarter when he took a helmet-to-helmet shot from 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt simultaneous to the arrival of the pass from quarterback Jared Goff.
Williams stayed down for a minute before exiting the field. Tartt was assessed a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver.
With Williams out, the Lions leaned more heavily on their four active receivers, which included rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown and Trinity Benson, who had been acquired from Denver in a trade eight days earlier.
“I would start with this, (the receivers) did an admirable job of fighting their ass off,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “We were down to four (receivers) and those guys were kind of rotating, trying to help each other out. They got high in reps, which is why we train the way we train, and they fought through it.”
Depth isn’t an issue for the Lions. They entered Sunday with seven wideouts on the active roster prior to listing Tom Kennedy and KhaDarel Hodge, another recent addition, as inactive.
But Detroit’s group, already viewed by most outside observers as the worst corps in the league, can’t afford to be without Williams for long. He’s easily the most experienced option on the roster. From 2017-19 with the Chargers and Raiders, he caught 195 passes for 3,091 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Quintez Cephus, in his second season out of Wisconsin, is second to Williams on Detroit’s roster, with 23 career receptions, which included three in the season opener.
Kalif Raymond, with just 22 career receptions since coming into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016, led the Lions receivers with three grabs for 50 yards in the loss to San Francisco.