In the Detroit Lions’ 31-14 rout of Jacksonville, the ground game proved enough to beat the now 1-7 Jaguars.
The Lions came into this game wanting a balanced offensive attack, and stuck to it effectively. Detroit passed 33 times and ran 34, with both proving effective against an outmatched Jacksonville defense.
Running back Mikel Leshoure led the way for Detroit, scoring three touchdowns and racking up 70 yards on 16 carries. Fellow RB Joique Bell was the main ball carrier for the Lions in the second half, and tallied 73 yards on the ground, including a nifty 10-yard TD scamper late in the fourth.
The rushing attack was able to get in the end zone four times on the day, but it was Calvin Johnson and the passing attack that regularly put them in position.
Johnson played through a knee injury and had his best game since week six, catching seven balls for 129 yards. Johnson was once brought down at the Jaguars’ one-yard line, just inches from his first score since week three.
While Megatron and his quarterback Matthew Stafford won’t show up in the scoring summary, the pair made big plays to set up scores for Leshoure and Bell.
As the offense stepped up, the defense matched them. Until nearly halfway through the fourth quarter, the Lions’ defense had shut the Jags out. Jacksonville managed only
one first-down in the first half, and had only 279 total yards on the day.
Throw out the Jaguars’ two scoring drives, both of which came when the game was out of reach, and the Jags managed just 127 yards of offense.
Even when Jacksonville did move the ball, the Lions were able to create turnovers that changed the momentum of the game.
The Lions twice intercepted Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert, both coming early in the second half as Jacksonville was driving. Most notable was cornerback Jonte Green’s interception, which ended a 12-play Jacksonville drive that had been their best to that point.
Green’s interception capped off a great day for the rookie from New Mexico. Green made five tackles (all solo) and deflected a pass on top of his pick. It was Green’s best game to date, as he displayed good coverage, instincts, ball skills, and tackling. This could be a game to build on for the youngster, and if he begins to play like this consistently, it would give Detroit’s secondary a huge lift.
This is a nice win for the Lions, and it continues their stretch of good play going back to last week against Seattle. Don’t read into it too much; Jacksonville is a bad team; but the Lions can use this game to build momentum as they begin one of the toughest remaining schedules in the NFL.
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