Why Detroit Lions’ D’Andre Swift is ‘a stud, can’t get him the ball enough’

Detroit Free Press

Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett breaks down the Detroit Lions‘ 28-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and looks at players who helped and hurt their stock Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Stock up

Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp: The Lions have gotten good play all season on special teams, and those units were exceptional Sunday. The Lions converted two fake punts and a surprise onside kick, executing all three to perfection. Lions coach Dan Campbell targeted Fipp as his special teams coordinator from the moment he was hired, and it’s easy to see why the Philadelphia Eagles initially balked at letting Fipp out of his contract.

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RB D’Andre Swift: Swift is the Lions’ best playmaker right now. He caught eight passes for 96 yards and turned a short screen pass into a 63-yard touchdown. Swift showed shiftiness and power running the ball, and Campbell paid him a huge compliment after the game, saying, “He’s a stud. We’ve got to give him the ball. We can’t get him the ball enough.”

OLB Julian Okwara: Okwara has given the Lions’ pass rush a jolt since his brother, Romeo, was lost for the season to a torn Achilles tendon. He had the Lions’ only sack Sunday, looping in from his left defensive end spot to blow past center Brian Allen (MSU), and he beat left tackle Andrew Whitworth on an inside move to stop Darrell Henderson for no gain. The Lions are patching things together on the edge, with Trey Flowers still battling a knee injury. But Okwara has played well enough to see an increased role.

Stock down

CB Darryl Worley: Worley has not played much this season, so maybe it’s not fair to include him. But he entered the game as an injury replacement for A.J. Parker late in the third quarter and promptly got beat on an over route for a 59-yard gain by Cooper Kupp. The Lions probably should have given Worley more help on the play. But allowing that big gain in a key situation, and a touchdown a few plays later, won’t win him a bigger role anytime soon.

OL Jonah Jackson: Jared Goff caught plenty of flack for throwing a late interception in the end zone, but Jackson got beat on an inside move by Aaron Donald and allowed a quarterback pressure on the play. Jackson has played well all season and been a big part of the Lions’ success running the football. On Sunday, he was out front of Swift’s long touchdown. One mistake should not detract from that, but it came at a crucial enough time in the game that it gets Jackson a spot on this week’s stock down list.

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown: The Lions’ third-leading receiver with 24 catches in the first six games, St. Brown was a non-factor Sunday. He did not have a catch or a target, and played behind Kalif Raymond and Geronimo Allison in the receiver rotation. St. Brown was part of the downfield blocking on Swift’s long touchdown, and the Lions leaned heavily on their two-TE package, so he should by no means be written off for the rest of the season. But the Lions need more pass-game production from their receivers, St. Brown included.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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