Four downs: Bademosi gets call after Slay injury
The Lions have been dealing with devastating injuries on defense all season and could be without another one of the unit’s leaders when the team travels to Houston next week. Cornerback Darius Slay suffered a right hamstring injury in the second quarter and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest shortly after halftime.
The Lions turned to veteran Johnson Bademosi to replace Slay and the talent drop off is significant. That’s rough, given the team’s struggles limiting opposing quarterbacks this season. In five of the past six games, they’ve completed better than 75 percent of their throws.
The challenge is even more daunting given Houston’s talented pair of receivers, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller.
The Lions continue to be without linebacker DeAndre Levy and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah also missed three games.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones was enthusiastic about his matchup with Josh Norman coming into the game, but that was probably dampened when the All-Pro cornerback forced quarterback Matthew Stafford to look to everyone but Jones in the first half, holding the Lions’ leading receiver without a target through two quarters.
The Lions finally went after Norman early in the second quarter on a deep pass to Jones, which the receiver hauled in for a gain of 52 yards, despite being grabbed by the cornerback. Norman took a nasty spill on the play, hitting his head on the turf and suffering a concussion.
Jones went on to catch three more passes and finish as the team’s leading receiver on the day with 94 yards. He now has 623 yards on the season and is well on his way to topping his career-high 816 yards for the Bengals last season.
After a season of inconsistent play from him, Detroit made the call to bench 2015 first-round pick Laken Tomlinson against Washington, starting rookie Graham Glasgow at left guard.
“He’s performed well, and I think that’s what it boils down to,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “We have to do what’s best.”
Tomlinson had been the weak link along the Lions’ young offensive line and Glasgow proved capable in a spot start last week, largely holding Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald in check when individually matched up against the Pro Bowl lineman.
Unless there’s an injury, or Glasgow falls flat on his face, there’s not a clear path back into the lineup for Tomlinson.
The Lions selected Tomlinson No. 28 overall last year.
Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter showed off his creativity once again, utilizing an unconventional I-formation on a second-and-goal snap from the 1-yard line. Instead of having fullback Michael Burton as the lead back, Cooter put Burton as the deep man with running back Zach Zenner up behind Stafford.
It’s possible the unexpected personnel flip caught Washington off guard. The Lions handed it to Zenner, who plunged through the line for his first career touchdown.