Lions snap counts: Defensive line shuffling is success

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

After giving up 21 points in a disastrous first half, the Lions defense started clicking on all cylinders, pitching a shutout in the final 30 minutes of the 22-21 victory over the Falcons at Wembley Stadium in London.

While the Lions offense got going the defense stifled Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, holding him to 6-for-10 passing for 68 yards and more importantly, no points. The defensive line led the charge, pressuring Ryan and getting two sacks in the second half.

The line was missing two major contributors, after C.J. Mosley was suspended for violating team rules; Nick Fairley suffered a right knee injury and played just 19 snaps before. Those changes forced a juggling of the defensive line that saw positive contributions from the linemen.

Ndamukong Suh led the way, playing 49-of-60 defensive snaps (82 percent). Jason Jones, who had one of the sacks, played 38 snaps and rookie Caraun Reid had the biggest boost, playing a season-high 35 snaps (58 percent) after getting only eight snaps last week against the Saints.

Ezekiel Ansah played 34 snaps (57 percent), Darryl Tapp 23 and Devin Taylor 14.


Receivers: Golden Tate 67 (of 75), Corey Fuller 67, Jeremy Ross 63, Ryan Broyles 16.

Analysis: The group picked up for Calvin Johnson, who missed his third straight game, with Fuller getting another start. Tate had another outstanding game, with seven catches for 151 yards and a touchdown. Fuller and Ross had three catches each and Broyles had a nice third-down conversion on his only catch.

Running back: Joique Bell 46, Theo Riddick 31, George Winn 2.

Analysis: Reggie Bush got another week of rest and Riddick was a key contributor in his role, leading the Lions with eight catches out of the backfield. Riddick finished with 74 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets and added three carries for five yards. Bell had 39 yards on 14 carries (2.8 yards per carry). On his two plays, Winn had a 2-yard run and dropped a pass.

Right tackle: Garrett Reynolds 46, Cornelius Lucas 29.

Analysis: With LaAdrian Waddle out, the Lions went back to rotating their backups, with Reynolds getting the start and playing 61 percent of the snaps. Lucas played the remaining 39 percent. The line played much better, not allowing a sack after giving up 24 in the first seven games.

Tight end: Kellen Davis 47, Jordan Thompson, 7.

Analysis: With the top three tight ends out because of injuries, the Lions had to lean on Davis, who was signed Monday. Davis wasn't effective in pass situations, unable to haul in any catches. He likely won't make it on the roster after the bye, as the other three could be ready to return.