Lions Den: Defense Leads to Win Over Jaguars

Another close game, another win for the Detroit Lions (6-4), as they knocked off the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field by a final score of 26-19.

Detroit took the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by tight end Eric Ebron with 10:03 to go in the fourth quarter, and Matt Prater added a field goal with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter to extend that lead.

Both offenses struggled in this game as Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 278 yards and no touchdowns. Jacksonville entered the game boasting one of the top secondaries in the NFL, and they lived up to that billing on Sunday. Stafford will have another tough matchup next week against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Lions entered this game as one of the worst rushing teams in the league, and that rank held true against the Jaguars. Detroit couldn’t run the ball at all, finishing the game with 14 yards on 21 rushes. Theo Riddick led the team with 13 yards on four carries, while Dwayne Washington had six yards on 13 carries. The Lions couldn’t find any holes to run through, forcing Stafford to throw often.

Detroit’s receivers had a hard time finding open space against the talented Jaguars secondary, but Ebron was able to get open for a 61-yard reception early in the fourth quarter to set up his rushing touchdown. He finished the game with three catches for 70 yards. Riddick was the team’s second leading receiver with eight catches for 70 yards. Riddick didn’t do much on the ground, but he was able to make up for that by catching the ball out of the backfield. He has become one of Stafford’s favorite targets this season.

Special teams were important for the Lions in this game. Detroit was trailing 3-0 early in the second quarter when Lions punt returner Andre Roberts sparked the team with a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown, giving Detroit a 6-3 lead. After that, the defense took over.

No unit was more impressive in this game than the Detroit defense. The offense didn’t move the ball effectively against Jacksonville, but the defense was able to pick them up. Jacksonville opened the second half with the ball, but just three plays into the drive, Lions safety Rafael Bush intercepted Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles’ pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown, giving Detroit a 16-9 lead.

Detroit’s defense also came up big late in the game, as Tavon Wilson secured Detroit’s victory by intercepting Bortles with two seconds left in the fourth quarter. Detroit’s defense held Bortles to 202 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Lions currently lead the NFC North heading into their Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Minnesota Vikings. The winner of that game will take sole possession of first place in the division, and put themselves in prime position to earn a playoff spot. The game is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. on CBS.