Lions’ Ansah still sack-less but making an impact

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Ziggy Ansah

Allen Park — Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah remains without a sack 10 games into the season, an almost unthinkable possibility coming off a year where he finished third in the NFL with 14.5. But after being slowed by an ankle injury much of the season, there should be little concern about his health going forward after Sunday's 26-19 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ansah was a menacing force as a pass-rusher in the victory, constantly harassing Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.

“Yeah, I think he’s coming,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “Even last week I think he really helped us a lot in terms of number of assists out there, even though he might not have gotten a sack. He’s getting closer and closer, he’s harassing them a little bit more, think they can sense his presence.”

In the first quarter, Ansah tracked Bortles as he tried to scramble on third down, bringing him down just after he crossed the line. The defensive end delivered again on a third down in the red zone during the second quarter, crushing Bortles from behind as he tried to fire a pass.

That hit, combined with another later in the half, temporarily sent Bortles to the sideline with a shoulder injury.

Ansah finished the game with three quarterback hits and four tackles. In the team’s victory over Minnesota two weeks ago, he had five stops.

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“Making tackles is as important as making sacks,” Caldwell said. “Obviously, all the defensive linemen, they look at sacks as being a kind of barometer for what kind of player they are, but there’s a lot more to this game than that.”

The Lions were unable to sack Bortles, but did hit him five times. On Thanksgiving, they’ll get another shot at Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford.

Minnesota’s offensive line remains in disarray, after losing three of their top four offensive tackles to injury this season. They’ve managed to scheme around some of their protection issues in recent weeks. After giving up 11 sacks in back-to-back games last month, Minnesota has allowed seven in their past three.