Following the bye week, the Detroit Lions aimed for a triumphant return against the Los Angeles Chargers. The competition remained intense throughout the day, but the Lions clinched their seventh win of the season, securing a 41-38 victory with Riley Patterson delivering the decisive field goal.
The Lions initiated a strong start in the early phases of the game, but it evolved into a seesaw battle as the Chargers found their offensive rhythm. The matchup featured numerous daring fourth-down calls, totaling eight, yet none surpassed the boldness of the decision that ultimately sealed the game. Opting to go for it on fourth down at the game’s conclusion, Coach Dan Campbell displayed confidence, and Jared Goff’s poised throw to Sam LaPorta positioned them perfectly for the game-sealing field goal.
The Lions earned a hard-fought, gritty triumph, embodying their team mantra. In the aftermath of this victory, let’s take a look at the Studs and Duds in the Lions victory over the Chargers.
Stud: Amon-Ra St. Brown
St. Brown once again demonstrated his ability to shine on the big stage, and today was no exception. Accumulating a career-high 156 receiving yards, he achieved his fourth consecutive 100-yard game, a feat previously accomplished only by Herman Moore and Calvin Johnson. Beyond his remarkable day in receiving, he showcased his agility with a spectacular shoe-string catch, maneuvering his way to a touchdown. St. Brown stands as a player of immense significance to the Lions’ offense, consistently showcasing dominance across all aspects of his game and silencing any doubters.
Dud: Anyone covering Keenan Allen
The defense had a challenging outing, with the Chargers effortlessly slicing through it like hot butter, spearheaded by Keenan Allen. Allen’s performance was particularly noteworthy, concluding the day with 175 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, it seemed all too easy for him to amass such impressive numbers.
Credit the Chargers for strategically exploiting the Lions’ defensive vulnerabilities, consistently placing Allen in advantageous matchups against either a safety or a linebacker. Despite briefly exiting the game due to an injury, Allen made a timely return, securing a game-tying touchdown on a fourth-down conversion. The defense struggled to find answers for Allen, who almost singlehandedly propelled the Chargers to victory. It’s back to the drawing board for Aaron Glenn’s defensive strategy.
Stud: Offensive Line
With Graham Glasgow securing the starting guard position, the Lions fielded their complete starting offensive line for the first time in a while, and their performance lived up to expectations. This cohesive unit played a pivotal role in a remarkable running game that amassed 200 yards on the ground, primarily fueled by the efforts of Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery. These running backs showcased the potential the Lions had envisioned for their ground game.
Additionally, the offensive line’s commendable effort was evident in their ability to keep Jared Goff well-protected, not allowing a single sack, a noteworthy achievement considering the talent on the Chargers’ defensive line. Throughout the game, they provided Goff with a sturdy pocket, contributing to the consistent productivity of the offense. Witnessing the starting offensive line in action, executing what they do best, was indeed a positive sight.
Dud: Pass rush
On a day when the Lions managed to avoid conceding a single sack, the Chargers mirrored their success by effectively protecting their quarterback. This marked a significant departure from the Lions’ pass rush performance against the Las Vegas Raiders, where they secured six sacks. Against the Chargers, however, none of the defensive players could penetrate the offensive line, affording Justin Herbert ample time to dissect the defense.
The challenge extended beyond the defensive line, as any attempts to apply pressure on Herbert were consistently thwarted. This lack of pressure proved to be less than ideal for the Lions’ defense, especially in a hard-fought battle against the Chargers, where creating some disruption was crucial. Unfortunately, the opposite scenario unfolded this week.
Stud: Jahmyr Gibbs
Despite Montgomery’s return, many expected Gibbs to assume a secondary role reminiscent of the early season. Surprisingly, that was not the case today. The Lions effectively utilized both running backs, but Gibbs continued to shine, showcasing his innate talents. He dominated the carries with 14, producing 77 yards and two touchdowns, and added three receptions for 35 yards. Gibbs displayed remarkable elusiveness and speed, rendering defenders ineffective as they attempted to tackle or pursue him.
The Lions patience is proving to be a virtue with their approach to Gibs, and it appears to be paying dividends for the franchise at a crucial juncture, setting the stage for a potentially significant playoff push.
Dud: Aaron Glenn
Aaron Glenn’s defense seems to oscillate between extremes—either displaying shut-down capability with intermittent lapses in performance, or succumbing to complete exploitation, as witnessed in this week’s matchup against the Chargers. The defense had no effective response to Keenan Allen, who stood out as the Chargers’ primary and effective receiver throughout the season. Additionally, they struggled to contain Austin Ekeler, who proved versatile both on the ground and in the air.
The Chargers capitalized on offensive opportunities, converting half of their third downs and successfully executing all three of their fourth-down attempts. Faced with the challenge of preventing the Chargers’ offense from sustaining drives, Glenn experienced a lengthy and challenging day, clearly facing a coaching disadvantage in this particular matchup.
Stud: Riley Patterson
Patterson deserves some well-earned praise. Displaying nerves of steel, he clinched the victory for the Lions with a game-winning 41-yard field goal. While this kick will be etched in memory, it’s crucial not to overlook his other contributions. Patterson maintained perfection in point-after attempts, converting all five, and successfully executed a 33-yard field goal earlier in the game. With these precise kicks, he ensured the Lions remained in the lead, applying constant pressure on the Chargers. Despite occasional criticism for his limited long-distance range, Patterson played a pivotal role today, contributing significantly to the Lions’ seventh win of the season.