Detroit Lions DE Charles Harris has been Brad Holmes’ best free agent signing

Detroit Free Press

Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett breaks down the Detroit Lions‘ 30-12 win over the Arizona Cardinals, and looks at players who helped and hurt their stock Sunday at Ford Field.

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Three up

DE Charles Harris: Harris has been general manager Brad Holmes’ best free agent signing, and he made another pitch for the Lions to keep him around with a standout performance Sunday. Harris had 12 tackles, 1½ sacks and was a key part of the Lions’ defensive effort bottling up Kyler Murray. With 7½ sacks in 14 games, Harris now has more sacks this season than he did in his first four NFL seasons combined.

[ Harris’ biggest inspiration is his mother, but she’s never seen him play in the NFL ]

RB Craig Reynolds: Playing as a COVID replacement for Jamaal Williams for the second straight week, Reynolds had a career-high 112 yards rushing on 26 carries and keyed the Lions’ ball-control offense. He’s a physical runner with good vision who has proven he deserves a role on offense. If the Lions don’t sign him to the 53-man roster soon, you can bet someone else will.

S Will Harris: There were a ton of Lions worthy of this third spot. Jalen Reeves-Maybin shined in his return from a shoulder injury and Jared Goff played his best game of the season. But Harris was pressed into a tough situation, playing outside cornerback because of the Lions’ injury and COVID issues, and earned praise from coach Dan Campbell for his performance. “It’s a credit to him,” Campbell said. “And by the way, he is like, ‘Coach, what do you need?’ A.G. (Aaron Glenn) and A.P. (Aubrey Pleasant) talked to him and he’s like, ‘Coach, I’ll do whatever you need.’ And that’s a credit to him.”

[ What Lions’ win over Arizona Cardinals means for 2022 NFL draft positioning ]

Three down

RB Godwin Igwebuike: Igwebuike is on this list for the wrong reasons for the second straight week. He lost his second fumble in as many games Sunday and was benched for his ball-security issues. Fumbles were a problem for the converted safety on kick returns earlier this year. Reynolds’ emergence, and the pending return of Williams, could mean we’ve seen the last of Igwebuike as a ball carrier.

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OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai: The Lions got a good game from their offensive line overall, but Vaitai seemed to be front and center the few times the Lions sputtered running the ball. He missed pulling blocks on Chandler Jones and Markus Golden on Reynolds runs that went for zero or negative yards, and he got tossed aside at least twice on plays Rashard Lawrence made in the backfield. Vaitai has had a bounce-back season after an injury-riddled 2020, but Sunday was a game he’d like to forget.

TE Brock Wright: Wright, like Vaitai, had a hand in Reynolds’ big rushing day, so things weren’t all bad. But in a game the Lions largely dominated, the rookie tight end had a couple costly missteps. He was flagged for a false start on fourth-and-2, when the Lions were about to quick-snap their way to a first down, flagged again for holding on Jones and, finally, he missed a block on one of Igwebuike’s carries. Wright has a chance to prove himself worth of a bigger role in 2022 — if he can avoid more performances like Sunday.

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

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