In a game where the officials appeared trigger happy with their yellow hankies, they surprisingly kept their hands in their pockets when Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey hit Matthew Stafford below the knees, giving the Lions quarterback a temporarily limp in the third quarter.
After failing to complete a third-down pass a play later, Stafford lit into the ref, much to the delight of the Ford Field crowd frustrated by the game’s officiating. A calmer discussion continued between Stafford and two officials during the TV timeout.
After the game, Stafford explained he was told the hit was deemed legal only because Casey attempted to wrap him up.
The moment was hotly debated by the commentating team during the television broadcast, and former head of officiating Mike Pereira weighed in, saying it should have been a penalty.
Dwayne Washington worked his way on to the roster by flashing big-play ability in the preseason and opened the regular season as the team’s goal line back. That role expanded against the Titans and we witnessed the rookie’s ability to create explosive plays isn’t limited to working against second- and third-string defenders.
Seeing increased playing time due to Ameer Abdulah’s injury, Washington had an eight-yard run wiped out by a holding penalty. Instead of abandoning the run now facing a first-and-20, the Lions went right back to the seventh-round draft pick, giving it to him on a delayed draw, which he turned into a 28-yard gain.
Washington also got a crack at returning kickoffs, returning his lone attempt for 25 yards.
The Lions continue to struggle defending opposing tight ends. After giving up three touchdowns in the season-opener, the team allowed Delanie Walker to catch all six passes thrown his direction for team-high 83 yards. He also beat one-on-one coverage in the fourth quarter for a 32-yard touchdown.
Detroit’s issues in this area date back to last season when the team gave up 12 touchdowns to tight ends, the most in the NFL. Next week, the team will have to deal with Richard Rodgers, who caught the Hail Mary pass from Aaron Rodgers at Ford Field last season.
Marvin Jones continues to look like Stafford’s favorite receiver. While the Lions have a number of weapons in the passing game who could lead the team any given week, it has been Jones who has led the team each of the first two weeks.
Against the Titans, Jones was the target 11 times, rewarding his quarterback’s trust with eight grabs for a 118 yards.
Stafford continues to effectively spread it around, targeting five different receivers at least five times each, but look for Jones to continue to establish himself as the No. 1 option in the offense.