Looking to find a silver lining amid the dark clouds that hang over the Detroit Lions? Look at the new secondary and the progress made by the pass defense over the past three games.
Despite losing its top CB Jeff Okudah during Week 1 and his replacement Ifeatu Melifownu, in Week 2, the Lions pass defence has performed better than in the first two weeks. Bobby Price, AJ Parker, Jerry Jacobs and Jeff Okudah have all made plays as they learned how to play in the NFL.
The Lions still sit 30th overall for the season in QB Rating allowed to opposing passers. The 110.9 cumulative rating is ahead of only the Colts (124.9) and Jaguars (115.5) through five games. However, Detroit’s terrible ranking is heavily influenced by its awful first two weeks.
Over the last three weeks, the Lions have allowed a QB Rating of 87.0 to the Ravens, Bears and Vikings. That’s the 11th-best QB Rating allowed in that timeframe and well below the league average of 99.7 in those three weeks.
Detroit has only allowed two touchdown passes to its patchwork of young cornerbacks in all three games. They held MVP candidate Lamar Jackson to just 16-of-31 passing, for 287 yards, one TD and one INT in Week 3. Chicago’s Justin Fields completed 11-for-17 but also threw an interception against no TDs, while Kirk Cousins threw for 275 yards, one TD and one INT. This is a good defense against a guy with a QB Rating of 112, a 9/1 ratio TD/INT ratio going into Week 5.
A good pass rush has been a big help. The Lions rank sixth in the league in sack percentage, and seventh in the past three weeks. The addition of Jalen Reeves Maybin, a speedier player at LB, has been a success. Safety Tracy Walker’s excellent performance in coverage also helps.
They will be challenged in Week 6 by Joe Burrow, the visiting Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow. Burrow is fifth in yards per pass (8.8) and seventh in QB Rating (106.4) through five games and has the NFL’s leader in receiving touchdowns in dynamic rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase.
If the Lions are able to get through this game without losing ground in their improvement it is a testament to Aaron Glenn, Aubrey Pleasant, and the players for quickly turning their fortunes around ,
All stats are from Team Ratings .