Quick reads: Agnew, Jones take off; Lions' run game slows down

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News has three quick reads on the Lions’ 27-24 win over the Chargers on Sunday:

Jones' big day

Veteran receiver Marvin Jones Jr. had his first big game of the season. The eighth-year wideout hauled in six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, picking up the slack for a normally sure-handed Kenny Golladay, who brought in just two of the eight passes sent his way.

Jones' big day wasn't just a matter of total volume — it was about consistency. His first catch was a diving, 20-yard completion on Detroit's opening drive, his final catch an 18-yard grab that allowed the Lions to keep their drive moving and burn some clock late in the fourth. Four of his six catches went for a first down, with another giving the Lions a two-score lead in the fourth quarter.

Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. hauls in the winning touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter.

Happy returns for Agnew

The status of Jamal Agnew was largely unknown throughout much of the week, as the former All-Pro returner was relieved of his duties during last week's win over the Chargers for muffing his second punt in as many weeks.

He silenced critics in a big way — and in a hurry — by returning Philadelphia's first kickoff of the day 100 yards for a Lions touchdown. The most surprising part of Agnew's touchdown was that it wasn't called back for a block in the back, marking the start of what turned out to be a rather positive day by the Lions' special teams, which as a whole looked downright awful through two weeks.

The special teams would receive higher praise for Sunday's performance, but a fourth-quarter Matt Prater field goal was easily blocked by Malcolm Jenkins and it nearly cost Detroit the game. Agnew's role as a punt returner was restored in the fourth quarter, where he ripped off a 24-yard return in his first shot.

Run game woes

Kerryon Johnson has yet to have a breakout game under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. The second-year back out of Auburn struggled again in Sunday's win, averaging a measly 1.8 yards per carry on 20 carries. Not much of that is Johnson's fault, as the positive yardage he did gain against the Eagles was usually a result of him making a defender miss in the backfield.

The pass protection has been solid, as Sunday's win in Philadelphia marked the second consecutive week that the Lions' offensive line didn't give up a sack. But Detroit's ineffectiveness in the run game has failed to open up a more complete passing game. Not only that, but the Lions' running woes have hampered their ability to close out games.

With 6:59 remaining, Detroit got the ball with a 3-point lead and the chance to close out the game with a solid drive. Kerryon Johnson and Ty Johnson combined for a yard on three carries, resulting in a Lions punt. Then, after getting it in Philadelphia territory and 2:18 on the clock, Kerryon Johnson was stopped for no gain on first down and second down before the Lions eventually settled for a field goal, which was blocked.

While Kerryon Johnson's final stats were dismal, the Lions' team rushing in the fourth quarter was downright embarrassing: Nine rushes for minus-1 yard. That won't be good enough in December and needs to be addressed.