The News' Nolan Bianchi with quick observations from the Lions 32-21 victory over the Dolphins on Sunday.
Defense quietly puts together stellar performance
There's a lot of excitement surrounding the Lions offense right now, and for good reason. But for all the venom directed at Bob Quinn about the strength — or lack thereof — of the defensive line, what was presumed to be a motley crew has been pretty dominant through six weeks. Every game, it seems like there's another member of the Lions' defense that's taking the reigns as its premier pass rusher.
Sunday it was Ricky Jean Francois extending Detroit's league-best streak of ten consecutive games with two or more sacks. Jean Francois dropped Osweiler behind the line twice, with Jarrad Davis and Romeo Okwara each getting in on the action once. Kenyon Drake's 54-yard touchdown run notwithstanding, all of Detroit's big men did a great job of locking down Miami's elusive rushing combo of Drake and Frank Gore, who averaged just 2.9 yards per carry outside of Drake's home run shot.
Welcome back, Michael Roberts
Second-year tight end Michael Roberts entered Hard Rock Stadium Sunday with just one career touchdown, a 15-yard reception in week two's loss to San Francisco. Since, he's been sidelined with a nagging knee injury. The former Toledo Rocket made a grand return in Miami with 48 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
The emerging threat of fellow 2017 draft pick Kenny Golladay drew attention away from Roberts at the second level, which allowed him to get open on the 15-yard reception that put Detroit up 7-0 on its first drive of the game.
Is the Lions' running game elite?
Alright, alright. So maybe that's a bit of a stretch. But Detroit ran for 248 yards as a team, and Kerryon Johnson had his best game of his young career, running for 158 yards with a long of 71. That's the longest run for Detroit since Jahvid Best broke free for an 88-yard touchdown against the Bears on "Monday Night Football" in 2011.
Even LeGarrette Blount stepped outside of his role as a goal line specialist, putting up 50 yards on 10 carries. The Lions' run game averaged 7.1 yards per play, contributing to a highly efficient offense that picked up 24 first downs and punted just once.
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.